3 Comments

  1. C. Ackerman says:

    153 of 156 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Informative, April 15, 1999
    By A Customer

    “The Hurried Child”by David Elkind gives concrete examples of some of the emotional,intellectual and social consequences of hurrying a child’s development by both parent and teachers. Children today are under an enormous amount of pressure to act, dress and assume adult roles and responsibilities. This hurrying causes stress in very young children as well as adolescents. I think the book addresses a lot of issues that have negative impact on all children. I learned a great deal about what constitutes hurrying in young children. The author brings forth the fact that hurrying takes place in both the home and school settings. Children are pushed to read earlier than they are developmentally ready; do math and behave in ways that most theorists like Erikson and Piaget have shown to be in direct conflict with children’s cognitive and emotional development. The book was excellent in demonstrating the impact of outside influences such as T.V, movies,records and the media on children’s development. The achievements and limitations of the major stages of development were long recognised by Piaget on cognitive development and by Erikson on emotional development. The book emphasized that when children’s needs become subordinate to parental needs their emotional as well as cognitive growth is affected. I recommend that anyone who gets a chance to read this book does so, especially parents and educators of young children.

    Agnes.

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  2. Joan "joan2742" says:

    24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Past its expiration date, April 27, 2010
    By 
    C. Ackerman (San Diego, CA) –

    This review is from: The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon, Third Edition (Paperback)

    I confess that I read this book because I already agreed with its conclusions and was looking for more rigorous support of what I have seen so extensively in an anecdotal manner. Case and point: this weekend, I overheard someone talk about how the school they attended as a child had the motto `College starts at two’. (This person and most of their friends got into elite universities. . . and then dropped out and spent several years figuring out what they wanted to do with their lives before returning to school.)

    So when Elkind writes, “Hurrying children into adulthood violates the sanctity of life by giving one period priority over another. But if we really value human life, we will value each period equally give unto each stage of life what is appropriate to that stage.” — I can only agree with that.

    By the end of this book, however, I was reminded of the quote by Daniel Dennett: “There’s nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.” There are two major problems with this book.

    First, it’s been inconsistently updated. Reagan’s surgeon general is quoted in present tense and then there are references to Harry Potter. This really undermines the book, which is a broad category of nonfiction that could be called `alarming trends’. Like many of these books, this one grabs at anything recent that seems to support its main argument. But when time has passed since some spike in a statistic, it loses its ability to incite alarm. It does nothing for the book that it sees as evidence in its favor the spike in violence toward teachers in the late 1970s. I’m sure that the rate of violence toward teachers has gone up and down since then — crime rates on the whole have dropped dramatically since then — so tying the main argument to such things only diminishes the credibility. And it’s not even clear where all this information is coming from, so a reference to a trend over `the last decade’ leaves you wondering what decade Elkind had in mind.

    Actually, Elkind is just plain dated. His theoretical basis — Freud, Piaget, Hans Selye — were big in academia in the 1950s and 1960s. Only Piaget has really retained his standing. Selye seems more forgotten than rejected, though I think that most people, if they were informed of his views, would recognize that his conception of stress was very one-sided because it seems to imply that not moving at all is the key to a long happy life. And Freud has largely been reduced to a novelty over the last quarter century as it becomes increasingly clear that therapy based on his ideas has poor success rates and his cultural impact is seen in a more negative light (the way we now think of all touch as sexual, the moral panic over child abuse in the 1980s based on suddenly remembered memories, etc.).

    Second, Elkind is talking about sociological topics but thinks like a therapist. The logical way to structure this book is to talk about what children are capable of doing at particular ages and then compare that to what is expected of them and then explain the forces that push us toward demanding so much of children so early. Instead, this book feels like someone with a romanticized view of childhood clutching at their hair and moaning, “Too soon! Too soon!” The book is very anecdote based and seems driven more by a generalized anxiety about what’s happening to children than levelheaded analysis. It also leads to some rather arbitrary conclusions, like disagreeing with a girl who thinks she’s being hurried because she has four hours of homework each night and claiming that Brittney Spears is more developmentally appropriate for girls than Madonna.

    So when it comes time to explain why children are hurried, Elkind explains it in terms of Freudian family dynamics with only a vague awareness of how much of this has to do with economics — the economics of corporations creating new markets and new desire on one hand and people’s anxieties about falling behind economically on the other. Likewise, his `what to do’ section starts off by saying that you can’t change culture and suggesting semi-therapeutic responses.

    So honestly, I don’t see much reason for reading this. It would have been great to read in the 1980s, but today it’s not going to persuade the skeptical and it doesn’t offer much advice to those trying to figure out what is the appropriate age for children to be doing things and how to combat unreasonable pressures. If someone can suggest a recent book that does do things like that, please drop me a line in the comment section.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Good book; a little too easy on us parents!, April 9, 2003
    By 
    Joan “joan2742″ (Edgewater, MD, United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon, Third Edition (Paperback)

    In The Hurried Child, Dr. Elkind does a competent job of describing a seriously problematic trend- the increasing inability and even unwillingness to appropriately “cushion” children from the modern world. The message is simple and eloquent: millions of children are simply not experiencing a proper childhood for a multitude of reasons. For some, it may be overcompetitive sports; for others, early sexuality or economic exploitation (children wielding more money and being strongly pursued as a consumer group). But regardless of form, hurrying leaves children trying to deal with adult concerns. While such kids may seem sophisticated, the deeper reality is that they are still children. This false maturation interferes with real maturation, and leads to problems in adolescence and adulthood.

    Dr. Elkind gives this book more popular appeal by making his case gently- there are no “Dr. Laura” type challenges here. But if the reader will think through the implications of this book, it is clear that children are being “hurried” because parents aren’t making the kinds of choices necessary for a fulfilling and protective family life. Instead, they pursue personal, material and status-oriented goods, very often to the detriment of the family. This is not because they don’t care for their kids, but because our culture is so steeped in radical individualism and materialism that the very idea of what a family is supposed to be is lost. It is no surprise that the children suffer as a result, in terms of both emotional and character development.

    I would propose a more profound solution than the “moderation” one to be found in this book. The cult of the individual needs to be overthrown. Parents should never make family-altering choices based solely on personal desires; the good of the children and the family unit as a whole should strongly influence what each member does. In addition, the excessive emphasis on “achieving independence” in childhood should be balanced with a recognition that all children need to be nurtured according to their stage of development. Children are not ready to be “individuals” in the adult sense of the term, which is why they are so easily influenced by peers, advertisers and celebrities. A strong, loving and non-hurrying family is a far more healthy source of influence than such factors. The more parents recognize and act upon these realities, the less kids will be “hurried”, and the more they will be “trained up in the way they should go.”

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