Saving Childhood

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In Saving Childhood, cultural critic Michael Medved and his wife, psychologist Diane Medved, provide positive and practical strategies for parents who struggle every day with a society that seems perversely determined to frighten and corrupt its young. They explore and explain today's assault on innocence, which now menaces our children from four directions—the media, schools, peers, and most destructively, parents themselves. This book provides both general and detailed suggestions on how to overcome each of ...

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Overview

In Saving Childhood, cultural critic Michael Medved and his wife, psychologist Diane Medved, provide positive and practical strategies for parents who struggle every day with a society that seems perversely determined to frighten and corrupt its young. They explore and explain today's assault on innocence, which now menaces our children from four directions—the media, schools, peers, and most destructively, parents themselves. This book provides both general and detailed suggestions on how to overcome each of these influences and give our children the most precious gift of all—a secure, hopeful, and protected childhood.

The Medveds argue that the destruction of innocence among today's young arises From the good intentions of some of the most "enlightened" elements in this society, who believe we must warn children about—rather than protect them from—the harsh Facts of a cruel and often violent world. But Saving Childhood provides powerful evidence that a healthy society, and the psychological health of each individual, requires a period of nourishing and sheltering in order to instill confidence and security in each new generation.

In this vital wake-up call, the Medveds provide a clear, practical, and uplifting blueprint for rescuing the enchantment of youth. They suggest that rather than stressing danger and despair to our children, we should emphasize gratitude, clear standards of behavior with predictable results, and a sense of home as sanctuary. Both shocking and hopeful, Saving Childhood empowers parents to restore the key elements of childhood innocence—security, a sense of wonder, and optimism—that should be honored as the precious birthright of every American child.

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Editorial Reviews

Kate O'Beirne
[We] should welcome the Medveds' practical and upbeat blueprint for raising secure, optimistic, and virtuous children. . . .the Medved children are well ont heir way to becoming counterculture adolescents. They won't be slouching through the amll with their pierced and tattered peers, because their dedicated parents have cultivated in them the courage to be different.
National Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Michael Medved, author, former 'Sneak Previews' co-host and syndicated radio columnist, joins his wife, Diane, psychotherapist and author of The Case Against Divorce, in presenting a two-part argument against contemporary America's assault on childhood. The assault, they claim, is four-pronged, and is being launched by the media, the schools, children's peers and, finally, parents themselves. 'Most emphatically, we do not advocate any kind of censorship,' the authors state; instead they advocate shielding children from adult themes and issues until later in their lives. The Medveds attack broadly defined families, self-esteem-oriented teaching, politically popular ideas of sex and drug education ('they frighten children') and childhood icons of the 1990s -- the books of R.L. Stine and Judy Blume. Their conservative slant (Diane Medved co-authored The American Family with Dan Quayle) is supported with exhaustive research from credible media and anecdotal vignettes from their career experiences as well as from their own home. As we meet their children and even share a Sabbath meal with them, their sobering concern about lost innocence becomes valid and relevant. Rather than prepare children for a grim reality, the authors argue, the intact family should hold them safely, until, as adults, they've gained the power and foresight to help solve the difficult problems created by well-intended liberal permissiveness. The defense of innocence, the Medveds conclude, is tri-fold: give children security, encourage their sense of wonder and feed them optimism.
Kate O'Beirne
[We] should welcome the Medveds' practical and upbeat blueprint for raising secure, optimistic, and virtuous children. . . .the Medved children are well ont heir way to becoming counterculture adolescents. They won't be slouching through the amll with their pierced and tattered peers, because their dedicated parents have cultivated in them the courage to be different. -- National Review
Kirkus Reviews
While avoiding the phrase 'family values,' this book sets out to demonstrate—not unsuccessfully—that children confront sex, violence, fear, and consumerism far sooner than they should, and in unexpected places. Children deserve to enjoy a time of innocence, but assaults by the media, the schools, their peers, and their parents have reduced that period to a brief few years, say the authors. The Medveds are parents of three; Michael (Hollywood vs. America) is a movie critic for the New York Post and a talk-radio host; Diane (The American Family, with Dan Quayle) is a practicing psychologist. They are also observant Jews. And, at least according to this book, they have indeed created a cocoon for their children by enrolling them in religious schools, by closely monitoring their friendships, and by carefully regulating other outside influences. There is no television in the Medved home. Reading is encouraged, but supervised Judy Blume is considered iffy because she discusses menstruation and sexuality too soon. TV is the major villain, guilty of venalities ranging from the medium's general, overarching superficiality to an interpretation of the world as unduly ugly, scary, and deceitful. In the villainy category, schools come next, charged with inciting inappropriate anxiety when instructing students about such issues as 'improper touching' and environmental desolation (and criticized for emphasizing 'interpersonal skills' more than arithmetic). Peers take a hit, too, when they indulge in drugs, violence, body piercing, or rudeness. Parents are criticized because they no longer instill a homegrown ethical sense. What children need, announce the Medveds, is'security, a sense of wonder, and optimism' about life. Concluding chapters advise parents on how to achieve goals like these. The authors make some points. Unfortunately, they also belabor them. And, alas, their heaven seems to be the air-brushed life of the Eisenhower era.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060173722
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/26/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Medved

Michael Medved is the host of a nationally syndicated daily radio talk show, former chief film critic for the New York Post, and former cohost of PBS's Sneak Previews. He is the author of eight books, including Hollywood vs. America.

Diane Medved, PH.D., is a clinical psychologist, Internet talk-show host, and author of four other books, including the bestselling The American Family (with former vice president Dan Quayle). The Medveds live in Seattle with their three young children.

Michael Medved is the host of a nationally syndicated daily radio talk show, former chief film critic for the New York Post, and former cohost of PBS's Sneak Previews. He is the author of eight books, including Hollywood vs. America.

Diane Medved, PH.D., is a clinical psychologist, Internet talk-show host, and author of four other books, including the bestselling The American Family (with former vice president Dan Quayle). The Medveds live in Seattle with their three young children.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Sect. 1 The Assault 1
1 Childhood Crashed and Burned 3
2 The Assault on Innocence by Media: TV and the Ubiquitous Assailants 17
3 The Assault on Innocence by Media: The Co-conspirators 51
4 The Assault on Innocence by Schools 95
5 The Assault on Innocence by Peers 135
6 The Assault on Innocence by Parents 164
Sect. 2 The Defense 193
7 The First Component of Innocence: Security 197
8 The Second Component of Innocence: A Sense of Wonder 224
9 The Third Component of Innocence: Optimism 264
Notes 293
Index 312
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