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Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment Paperback – August 31, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0787950422 ISBN-10: 0787950424 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 31, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787950424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787950422
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Garbarino makes us believe that we can have control over our environments and the kind of society we want for our children. . . . He gives all of us valuable tools for helping kids negotiate through an increasingly complex, high-risk world." (Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator, Illinois)

"I am struck by how readily we ignore the very real toxicity of our children's social environment. I am grateful to Jim Garbarino for this A to Z list of ways we can respond more positively." (Anne Cohn Donnelly, executive director, National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse)

"Garbarino is one of our nation's major social critics. This insightful analysis is a must-read for parents, early childhood advocates, and policy makers." (Edward Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology, Yale University)

"Garbarino offers solutions. . . . The message is powerful, research-based, and written for readers from all walks of life. We highly recommend it." (The National Dropout Prevention Newsletter)

From the Inside Flap

For children, the mere act of living in our society is dangerous. Drugs, guns, AIDS, divorce, poverty, and violence are constantly damaging their lives. Their mental as well as physical health and well-being are in jeopardy.Author James Garbarino, whose thirty-year career has focused on the effects of violence and abuse on child development, draws attention to these dangers and explains how to strengthen children, families, and communities so that they can resist these toxic influences. His book is designed to help parents, policymakers, professionals, religious leaders, and concerned citizens throughout the country work together to detoxify the social environment.Garbarino suggests specific actions that individuals, families, schools, and communities can take to help our most vulnerable kids. Drawing on psychological and social research findings, he explores the trAnds toward economic polarization, desensitization to violence, large depersonalizing schools, and the nastiness of popular culture. And he illuminates his data with narrative accounts of these issues as they are played out in the lives of real children and youth--helping us understand what we can do to take an impassioned stance against encroaching violence and social decay. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nui Earles on September 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Garbarino articulates very well the difficulty of raising children in a "toxic" environment. He takes an environmentalist approach or viewpoint and in a way it is very comforting because it gives good guidelines for parents on how to protect their children. He also strongly outlines ideas for social and political policy. This books gives parents a "global" view of childrearing. While it outlines the challenges it is a book of hope. It is clear, we all need to think about children if we are concerned about the future whether we have them or not.
I strongly recommend this book for parents and educators.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brandy Bergenstock on September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
First I want to comment on some of Roberto's criticisms- to agree and disagree.
Agree- I agree this book is getting dated fast. Like all social anthropology, the experience/information is about the now, and can be quickly overruled by new, more dominant forces at large in a culture.
Disgree- That this makes every point irrelevant. I think the heart of this book is that there are mitigating circumstances that can deprive or enrich a child, in that child's individual life, beside and sometimes outside of the larger culture.
Disagree- I saw Garbarino's thesis as "how to raise a healthy child despite any cultural toxicity". This books makes the point that there is no one to blame. Having a"toxic" culture is no excuse for your child's end personality or their life. There are ways to combat and strengthen people even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Agree- I agree with Roberto that Garbarino is far too pessimistic about our current culture, but I disagree that this was his point to blame Gen X or any other generation. It's kinda of amazing to me that Roberto seemed to miss the entire point of this book! -You can raise healthy kids anywhere, at any time, in any culture!
I grow up in low income housing, and it was so easy to me find examples in my own history of families that had thrived in our environment, and families that seemed crushed and withered, only to blame where they lived or the larger culture for their kids' disrespectful, disobedient, disturbed life choices. Garbarino makes the point of what is helpful to overcome challenges and what works better than other options. I find this book personally fascinating and recommended it to a friend the other day.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was written a few years back so some of the statistics are old. Unfortunately the newer ones show our society has gotten worse. While I feel the author repeats himself chapter after chapter in many ways, his points on our children's social environment is sound. A must read for parents to begin to make changes at home and teachers to understand why classroom make up has changed so much.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Roberto Giannicola on October 18, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
......and please TURN OFF THE TV !!!
Turn off the TV, turn off the TV and keep them away from video games.
Stop living parallel, individualistic lives. Communicate with each other, talk to your neighbors, KNOW your children through their words, not their acts only.
This book is short, simple, but very explanatory. It'll tell you clearly what to avoid and how you can easily change your lifestyle to make it better for all your family.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. Stilwell on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have several disagreements with the author's premises and conclusions.

First, the author is very old. He wants to make claims that the newer generation is worse off than the previous. Yet he views his history through rose colored glasses. If things were so good back in the day, what was the point of the civil rights movement? Should we be admiring the values espoused by that movie 'The Graduate'? Was MADD a mistake? If things are so dangerous now, why is it that all major forms of crime have dropped dramatically and steadily since his day? Also, it was odd that video games, the perennial favorite of haters everywhere, didn't make it to the Preface where he produced his laundry list of grievances. Is it because he doesn't know what they are? And should we bash them all indiscriminately or are we allowed to exclude the educational ones like Brain Age or My Spanish Tutor that have gotten even his generation to play?

Second, the book was written in 1995 so it is a clear attack on Generation X children. Just how applicable is it to 2010? The author is clearly urban because he fears guns. Can we assume he never went hunting, never took a Hunter Safety course and never visited a shooting range? Should we assume that a few problems raised in a few disparate neighborhoods of a few impoverished communities have proliferated all across America pervading wealthy and poor communities alike? Urban, suburban, small town and rural too? Really? Can we cite actual statistics to back this up rather than just studies by institutions of like-minded elderly conducted in isolated urban ghettos?

Third, the author hasn't traveled. You cannot claim that methods of raising children in other countries are better than here without actually going and taking a look.
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