From Publishers Weekly
In this poignant collection of critical essays, voices from the social sciences and humanities come together to assess the degree to which American culture satisfies what editor Olfman calls the "irreducible needs" of its youth. "Record levels of childhood obesity, asthma, high school failure, psychiatric disturbance, youth suicide, and preteen sex speak to the fact that we are failing our children," she says. Olfman organizes the essays so that they clearly demonstrate the link between such problems and society's apathetic acceptance of issues like commercial advertising to children and industrial destruction of the environment. The writers of each essay provide ample empirical research and disheartening statistics-"On average, children between the ages of two and eighteen spend almost forty hours a week outside of school consuming media"-to convince readers that American society is waging what economist Sylvia Hewlett and Princeton University professor Cornel West call "The War Against Parents." They argue, for example, that family-hostile governmental policies contribute to the breakdown of the family by forcing parents to work longer hours away from their kids and by keeping wages low so that adequate childcare is inaccessible. The resulting chain reaction of possible developmental problems is overwhelming. The U.S. is "virtually alone," Olfman argues, in its failure to create policies that secure the health and well-being of its families. This collection makes a sincere effort to reemphasize parental and governmental responsibility to actively ensure that the society in which they live supports the well-being of their children. The book makes for a harsh reality check, but it is a must-read for anyone genuinely concerned with the future of children and their families.
"Olfman, a clinical psychologist and professor of developmental psychology at Point Park University, presents ten essays that raise an alarm about the consequences of accepted social norms for American children."
Reference & Research Book News
"A powerful collection of essays that demonstrate how our society is conducting a war on children. Examines media violence, commercialization and the sexualization of childhood, obesity, and failed government and corporate policies on parental leave, minimum wage, and unregulated day care. A useful handbook for educators, parents, and policymakers."
Rethinking Schools/Rethinking Schools Online
"In this powerful narrative about the challenges facing children and their families in the US in the 21st century, clinical psychologist and associate professor of developmental psychology Olfman does an excellent job of bringing writers together to help readers explore a wide variety of issues, including debates on culturally relevant topics ranging from the educational dilemmas caused by No Child Left Behind and the developmental impact of media violence and childhood obesity to the commercialization and sexualization of children. This book is an easy read, providing political, social, moral, and empirical perspectives. It will be both disturbing and thought-provoking to anyone professionally or personally concerned about the issues currently facing children and their families in the US. Recommended. General collections, professionals, and practitioners."