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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bold and challenging analysis of childhood in a consumer culture, 17 April 2009
This review is from: A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age (Paperback)
In 2007, a UNICEF study ranked 21 developed countries and found that the UK came last for child welfare, with the US second worst. The Good Childhood Inquiry set out to find out why, and this book represents their conclusions.

On one level, it's a good time to be a child. Children in the UK enjoy good health and can look forward to long lives. They have foreign holidays, and a wealth of consumer goods. Despite the good life promised to them however, this generation of children is more stressed, more violent, and less happy than the children of the seventies or eighties. Alcohol use and teenage pregnancy are among the worst in Europe.

The report deals with some important and unpopular topics here, such as family break-up, and absent fathers, divorce, or parents who have put their careers first, as well as role of the media, and the erosion of trust.

There are lessons here for the government, town planners, teachers, and for parents. Overall however, the finger points at our whole individualistic consumer culture. And that's not so easily fixed.

The report has to return to that difficult word `values' - children need to empathise and understand the need to share, and to put others first. They need friends, teachers who believe in them, and parents who love them and love each other. In the end, love is a key word. "One major theme of this report is the need a more caring ethic and for less aggression - for, to put it bluntly, a society more based on the law of love" say the authors.

A Good Childhood is a thoroughly researched and thought provoking read, and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
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