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When the Bough Breaks: The Cost of Neglecting Our Children Paperback – June, 1992

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hewlett seeks to arouse the government and the public to action with this powerful, solidly documented study, a BOMC alternate in cloth, of America's neglect of its children.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Hewlett, an economist, consultant, lecturer, and a volunteer with homeless children, has produced a powerful, extensively researched and often shocking book that explores the plight of a vast number of our children today. She delves into a multitude of problems--substance abuse, emotional instability, and broken homes--that contribute to parental and public neglect. Hewlett also outlines ways society can help to rectify the situation, including educational reform, changes in workplace, and government policies. The author's "no holds barred" approach to the harsh reality of neglect stirs the emotions and will no doubt cause public reaction. This book will be of great interest to professionals and general readers, as it is a well-documented, compelling study that fully analyzes a nationwide problem.
- Jo-Anne Mary Benson, Osgoode, Ontario
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial (June 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060974796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060974794
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,647,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Paul M. Day on July 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sylvia Ann Hewlett is one of the few economists concerned with this topic. This, along with her book "The War on Families", frame the issues quite well. Read both books for the entire perspective, since this book is older... But the problems remain...

Her idea that American families suffer from both a Time Deficit and a Resource Defict is one I still use in explaining these issues. Those twin deficits are still around today, and no one seems to address them. The increasing working hours and declining social services are not current political issues... We can add to that the increasing dependence on duel incomes: where both parents HAVE to work to make what they could in previous generations.

I suggest reading these books along with Neal Postman's "The Disapperance of Childhood". That book goes into the origins of childhood and how the creation of the mass media and institutionalization threatens it.
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One of the things I like about this book is that instead of diminishing the role of men it points out their importance. It also shows government policies can make a big difference in the lives of children. It is full of shocking statistics. Did you know that 27% of kids don't graduate high school? That Medicare will pay for an 80 year old man to have bypass surgery while a poor woman cannot get free prenatal care? That if a pregnant women seeks treatment for drug addiction it is not easily available? However, once children are born prematurely or drug-addicted, society picks up a huge tab for that. Read this book and find out why and what changes the author recommends. Truly a remarkable contribution.
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Format: Paperback
Childhood is in danger in Western society. In the age of the self, children are quickly becoming one of the last priorities of parents and even the state. The problems of poverty, divorce, out-of-wedlock births, absentee parents, latchkey kids, violence, drugs, and child neglect permeate to the roots of America. Hewlett, an economist and former director of the Economic Policy Council, a labor-management think tank, calls for Americans to once again take responsibility for their children, or future generations are in peril.

Her statistics are compelling. Poor education, decreasing SAT scores, decreased parental involvement, increased women in the workplace, infant death, lack of health insurance and care is destroying our children.

The causes, according to Hewlett, are: 1) the job crunch (decreased wages; more women working); 2) family breakdown (divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births due to unemployment and lack of education); 3) lack of housing; 4) shortfalls in healthcare; 5) substandard child care; and 6) lack of adequate education funding. Other chapters list even more causes: "the huge jump in the number of mothers at work, the escalation in job-related stress, the expanding work week, the sharp increase in divorce and single parenthood, and the abandonment of children by their fathers all play a part in explaining why so many mainstream American kids are in distress" (p. 72).

Hewlett blames even more culprits. It is a society that is "looking out for number one" by deregulating TV, replaces religion with psychology, redefines love with selfishness, implements no-fault divorce, devalues domestic roles, doesn't license child care centers, and allows psychiatric entrepreneurs to hospitalize teenagers who really don't need help.
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