Author: Sue Palmer
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Ever heard someone talking disparagingly about the "youth of today"? Ever thought that kids today seem unable to hold a conversation, behavioural disorders seem to be on the rise and that the old-fashioned adage of 'respecting your elders' has withered away?
Sue Palmer neatly labels this as "toxic childhood syndrome" - and we soon see how apt this diagnosis is as she produces a mind-boggling cocktail of causes, consequences and potential cures.
Ingredients such as sleep deprivation, family time, television and advertising and others are placed under the microscope, and you could say that this book is a societal autopsy which yields alarming results. Sue Palmer treads with caution, however, in urging us to resist the common temptation to brazenly lay blame in one area, (ie the parents). What arises from these factors is a vicious circle of epic proportions.
Importantly for a book with so much to offer, her findings are laid out in bite-sized sections. More importantly still, Palmer keeps a tight rein on herself and never digresses into the patronising tone that often accompanies books on this topic. Each chapter is succinctly rounded up with practical suggestions that can be adopted to suit the needs of individual children.
Her many years of experience in education are obvious from the start, and they provide a solid grounding for her thorough research. Fluent writing and sparse touches of humour maintain the reader's interest and while never light-hearted, Toxic Childhood makes very accessible work of what could easily become a depressing subject.
Whether or not you are a teacher, youth worker, parent or anyone else who comes into contact with kids, this book is both an uplifting battle-cry and an essential tool in our understanding of the children of today and of tomorrow.