Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children

Overview

From an esteemed child psychiatrist: a bold, fresh, and controversial look at the faddish child-rearing practices that have created a nation of children who are depressed, alienated, often amoral, and all too often violent. The shock of the Columbine shootings and other school violence has generated a national debate, and there's a dawning realization that something incomprehensible is happening: our privileged, pampered children are turning into monsters at an alarming rate.

...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (65) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $2.98   
  • Used (56) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

From an esteemed child psychiatrist: a bold, fresh, and controversial look at the faddish child-rearing practices that have created a nation of children who are depressed, alienated, often amoral, and all too often violent. The shock of the Columbine shootings and other school violence has generated a national debate, and there's a dawning realization that something incomprehensible is happening: our privileged, pampered children are turning into monsters at an alarming rate.

With years of study and first-hand experience, Dr. Robert Shaw exposes the roots of what he calls The Epidemic: the violence and the more subtle behaviour problems that are jeopardizing a generation. In this eye-opening book, Dr. Shaw explains that the "advanced" parenting methods experts have promoted for the last thirty years have helped to create a nation of children who are detached loners, unable to form meaningful relationships. From infancy through the teen years, Dr. Shaw provides a map back to sanity that tracks specific misguided parenting techniques and shows parents how to get and keep their children on track and create the environment necessary for a healthy psychological future.

Some of the important ground Dr. Shaw covers includes:

  • The myths and realities of bonding and attachment
  • How to recognize when day care is working - and when it isn't
  • Landmarks to look for in your children's moral and ethical development
  • Self-centeredness versus self-esteem
  • Keeping the media from mugging your child
  • What can be done with a child who is out of control

Dr. Shaw challenges us to confront a very real problem, then helps us take steps forward using common sense and humanity. The Epidemic calls us to become better parents—and feel better about the choices we make for our children.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Parade
“Provocative.”
Fay Weldon
“I rather hope this book becomes the twenty-first century childcare bible.”
Parade
“Provocative.”
USA Today
Reading his book is like having a bossy grandmother sit on your shoulder, doling out old-fashioned common sense. You're not supposed to be your child's pal, making him happy every second; you're supposed to be raising him to be a self-reliant, honest, helpful citizen who doesn't bully other children. And don't turn your house into a toy pit out of guilt for working. — Deirdre Donahue
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060011840
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/21/2004
  • Edition description: First Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Shaw, M.D.,was an internationally renowned child and family psychiatrist practicing in Mill Valley and Berkeley, California, and the director of the Family Institute of Berkeley. He specialized in child psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and taught at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he was chief of the Family and Children's Mental Health Services for the South Bronx. He then directed the Family and Children's Mental Health Services for the city of Berkeley. Dr. Shaw died in 2009 and is survived by his wife, Judith Bloom Shaw, four children, and five grandchildren.

Stephanie Wood is the executive editor of Parenting Early Years and Parenting School Years, where she oversees articles on child development, health, and education. She lives with her husband and three children in Blauvelt, New York.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: Waking Up! ix
1 Stricken Children, Stricken Families 1
2 Teaching Your Child to Love 25
3 Starting Down the Right Path 49
4 The Truth and Consequences of Child Care 77
5 Whose House Is This Anyway? 103
6 Raising Moral Children in a Valueless World 133
7 Don't Touch That Dial! 161
8 Who Stole My Childhood? 193
9 Out of Contact, Out of Control 209
Afterword: What Every Parent Needs to Know 231
Staying in Touch 239
For Further Reading 241
References 245
Acknowledgments 253
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

The Epidemic
The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children

Chapter One

Stricken Children, Stricken Families

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

-- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (1923)

We are in crisis. Large numbers of children, even including those who could be considered privileged, are no longer developing the empathy, moral commitment, and ability to love necessary to maintain our society at the level that has always been our dream. The emotional, psychological, and moral well-being of the current generation of children has reached a frighteningly low point, and it's going to require a powerful shift in thinking to save them. A few short years ago we were in serious denial that there was such a problem, but recent catastrophic events in our society are forcing us to face the inevitable: our culture no longer offers what children need to truly thrive. Look around you. While happy families were once the norm, more and more often we see parents and children today rushing frenetically from one task to another -- children whining, bickering, tantruming, pouting, parents nagging, complaining, and trying to ignore their unruly, surly offspring. Can you go to any store, restaurant, or library without seeing these joyless children screaming, throwing food, or pulling packages and books off shelves? Are you comfortable seeing such scenarios -- or tempted to look the other way?

For some strange reason, our way of dealing with this has been not to look, not to notice, not to care. But we can no longer turn a blind eye: there is a mountain of evidence now telling us what's truly good -- and really bad -- for kids, and in this book I want to help you find the strength to do what has to be done so that you can raise happy, productive, and pleasurable children. I want to help you take a close hard look at your lifestyle, your values, your goals, and what your precious children could become. I want to help you create the kind of family environment necessary for their future -- and nothing less than the future of civilization.

Our awareness that something bad was happening in our society became clearer on April 20, 1999, when, with serpentine coldness, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold slaughtered twelve fellow students and a teacher and injured twenty-three others in the once quiet halls of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Then came the horror of September 11, 2001: there isn't a person alive then who will forget the day religious radicals hijacked four passenger-filled planes and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing thousands of innocent people and leaving a grieving nation of widows, orphans, relatives, friends, citizens.

Two separate horrors, conceived at opposite ends of the world: the idyllic, well-to-do suburbs of Colorado and the barren, sand-beaten deserts and caves of Afghanistan. What could these perpetrators and pivotal events possibly have in common. Both showed the extreme to which children can be led to develop. Both showed the merciless cruelty that can come from people who are alienated from themselves and lacking in empathy. Both sets of perpetrators were terrorists, many from privileged families: one group comprised Islamic fundamentalists hell-bent on holding the world hostage to their ideology; the others were younger but equally confused domestic terrorists, if you will, filled with hate and despair, also hell-bent on control and totally lacking in empathy. The religious radicals indifferently slaughtered strangers for an ideal; the alienated, angry, grandiose teenage shooters terrorized those they knew: friends, teachers, people who should have mattered to them. These were relationships that should have had value in their lives, yet they didn't. We can identify somewhat with crimes of rage; on some level we can imagine people becoming greedy or desperate enough to rob a bank or embezzle from their companies. But we cannot connect with senseless slaughter; the mind of the high school shooter is beyond our comprehension.

When you hold a baby in your arms and see her sweet face looking up at you, you hope and expect that she will naturally grow up to be a well-developed, compassionate person. However, it doesn't happen naturally -- children can be trained to a variety of outcomes, including these two tragic situations I just described. As a culture, we need to start noticing that the path to severe dysfunction is often subtle. I will help you identify what is causing this epidemic and encourage you to take a close, hard look at what you do yourself and how it affects your children. Like termites, the epidemic of problem behavior can silently burrow into your life and do great damage before it's discovered. if we as parents don't "train" our children in constructive, safe, and expressive ways of operating in our society, their natural drive to connect with someone or some idea may well lead them toward some of the most destructive behavioral manifestations. They'll be "trained" all right, but perhaps by wayward peers, gangs, the media, or radical religious cults.

Teachers and grandparents have been complaining for years that today's children are out of control, and Columbine made those concerns an overriding reality. The events of September 11 revealed how tragically wrong things can go when humans grow up devoid of empathy. We looked the other way -- until the behavior became so horrific that it could no longer be ignored. This book is meant to be such a wake-up call. The day of reckoning has arrived: we simply can't afford to raise our children this way.

We Determine Our Children's Future

Children are extremely malleable and plastic, and how we rear them is the major determinant of their outcome. I believe that the parenting trends that have evolved over the last thirty years promote the development of unattached, uncommunicative, leaming-impaired, and uncontrollable children. We are experiencing an epidemic of school problems, both learning and behavioral ...

The Epidemic
The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children
. Copyright © by Robert Shaw. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    I Can See Clearly Now....The Fog Is Gone!

    I agree with all the preceeding reviews, but I feel I must add my personal experience...As a parent of an only child, it's hard to be a constant companion, so t.v. was a simple fix, even though I've felt uneasy about the rude kids in the cartoons and comercials, and the fact that hours were being wasted away, with little interaction. I've noticed that my son, nephews and nieces cannot go off and play on their own, happy to be together, like we did as kids--they need to be taken somewhere and have us grownups organizing a game with them, they also are never content to play with the tons of toys they already have. After reading the Epidemic, it is all crystal clear--yes, as my single, childless brother pointed out, much of it is common sense, but as a parent you lose much of your perspective--you're sucked up into the whole parenting culture, and when you have other parents and parenting magazines convincing you that you are doing great, it's just easier to believe it. I am happy to say, after just a few days of implementing some of the things I've learned from the book, we are already on the road to a more harmonious family--and you know what? I have heard more 'I love you, Mom''s in the last few days than I have in a long time. Thank you, Dr. Shaw!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2003

    It's what you already know

    I had been so wanting to believe the articles and books I had read about parenting that would make my life convenient with children . . . daycare is good, tv is educational at any age, etc. -- but I knew in my heart it was not. How can any responsible parent think these things? I think it is easy to fall into that trap in our current society, where 'everyone else is doing it'. This book jolts you back to reality with an awakening tone of common sense and explicit cause and effect. Although some conclusions are too linear in this book, the underlying message is clear 'you are the parent -- act like it'!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2003

    Please Read This Book

    I may have had problems being raised with Christian values that taught me shame and self hatred for being gay, but that pales in comparison to the people I went to school with when I moved to California. I noticed how deeply amoral, cruel, and vicious these people were and was shocked that the parents of these people were raising them to act this way. A result of this lead to an encouragement of what is known as 'rape culture' and the more homophobic parents who had gay sons pumped them so full of self hatred they took it out on other gay people (often with physical and sexual violence). Something is dangerously wrong with families in America and Im glad Im not the only one who noticed these 'monsters'. Do something before its too late!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2003

    Something's Rotting...It's Our Children and Parents!

    I wish I could have given this book 10 stars! Every hospital maternity ward or birthing center should send this book home with the parents of newborns. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. As a stay-at-home Dad (father of two boys ages 3 and 5), I was temporarily blinded by the absurd notions projected by the popular child-rearing 'gurus'(and the yuppie moms and dads in my area), but I managed to see the light and take charge of my family ( over 3 years ago) by trusting my judgement, not the judgement of those folks whose parenting skills (or lack thereof)have created a generation of Columbine-kids. I went 'back to basics' long ago, and decided to raise my kids the way my Mom raised me and my siblings...thanks Mom! Kudos to Dr. Shaw and Ms. Wood for this LONG overdue 'check and balance' of society's current child-rearing practices!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    Wow!

    I am currently a student in college studying psychology and child development. I picked this book up just by chance. I have done a lot of babysitting in the past few years, from part to full-time, and it is amazing how dead-on this author is about what is becoming of today's children. He is absolutely clear and to the point, and the message he gives is invaluable to anyone who wants to understand why children today have the problems that they do. If you are going to be a parent, or if you already are, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!!! The epidemic of selfish, angry children is not outside of our control, and its not impossible to fix. In fact, this book shows just how easy it really could be, if we were to make the effort to do the right thing. From someone who has had to deal with dozens of children just like this, do me a favor and read this book before you stick your kid on ADHD meds!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2003

    This book should be prescribed to all parents!

    As a teacher, daughter, and future mother, I believe this book is one of the most important parenting books out there. We are raising our children to be indulged brats and this book shows us how to not do this. I wish every parent would get a copy; it would make teaching a lot better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    Great book, straight talk for many parents who need it!

    This book is a very straight talking, lets not sugar coat it, discussion on why so many children have become overwhelming selfish, demanding and unhappy. It truly is an epidemic. I have seen so many parents out in stores with screaming children because they couldn't get a GI Joe, and the parents don't understand why. This book will tell you why! I have a 1 year old, and I feel like a better parent after reading this. It actually gives you permission to be a PARENT, unlike so many parenting books that suggest that you just be a passive observer. A book with common sense and real values to help guide us new parents away from the sad yet popular epidemic of permiss

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2003

    A must-have for every parent

    This is the book every parent needs - Dr. Shaw is saying what many people have been thinking for years: many of today's kids are spoiled, sullen, uncommunicative, selfish and horrible to be around. And everywhere we go, we see parents letting their kids misbehave. Is it neglect? Is it over-permissiveness? Dr. Shaw shows the symptoms of what he calls 'The Epidemic' and then shows us how to correct our own bad parenting skills that are ruining kids in the first place. READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)