Ships Without A Shore

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Childhood in America has changed, and not for the better. From day care for babies, to the exhausting array of activities for children, to the storm of lurid and violent shows now deemed appropriate for the young, to the expectation that teenagers build resumes, childhood has been thoroughly redefined. Anne R. Pierce argues that this radical re-definition has been embraced with remarkably little discussion about what children, by nature, need.

Pierce submits that we have latched...

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Childhood in America has changed, and not for the better. From day care for babies, to the exhausting array of activities for children, to the storm of lurid and violent shows now deemed appropriate for the young, to the expectation that teenagers build resumes, childhood has been thoroughly redefined. Anne R. Pierce argues that this radical re-definition has been embraced with remarkably little discussion about what children, by nature, need.

Pierce submits that we have latched onto opinions about childrearing that are potentially harmful to children. If traditions are choices to be embraced or abandoned at our discretion, and adult self-fulfillment is a primary determinant in those choices, the fundamentals of the well-wrought childhood are easily forgotten. Steeped in intellectual permissiveness, we have convinced ourselves that parental substitutes are as good as parents themselves at caring for children, that the concepts of nurture and of the maternal are archaic and irrelevant, that more lessons and sports are better than less and that the earlier one embarks upon them the better, and that innocence and knowledge are less important than worldly attitudes and competitive skills.

Understanding and challenging the theories and agendas behind childrearing trends is a pressing need, and the subject of this book. Pierce takes an honest look at the evidence on the effects of daycare and of hyper-structuring children. She gives voice to the many intelligent and estimable educators, child-development experts, researchers, and social commentators who are ignored because their conclusions are hard to bear. Equally important, Pierce says, is attention to that inner tug of love and conscience, which many of us have been programmed to ignore.Modern American children are expected to adjust and to understand as adults would the complexities and vicissitudes of public as opposed to private life. For them, childhood is fast becoming a distant memory. Could it be that America's thrust forward leaves children without a solid foundation upon which to grow? This is the sobering question asked, and answered, in this challenging book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pierce is passionate about her concerns for the well-being of American children and youth. Her arguments . . . are well-grounded in theoretical and empirical work. . . . [What] she has to say is convincing." —William A. Corsaro, Contemporary Sociology "She appeals to parents who have surreptitiously surrendered the privilege of nurturing their young to day care centers and media screens, under the politically correct banner of liberation—and her appeal is compelling. Arguing that the results of this myopic social experiment have been disastrous, she sends an urgent warning that children are in jeopardy when they are deprived of their developmental need for a secure, meaningful attachment to a loving parent. This book is in effect as SOS to a sinking culture—one that has set its most vulnerable citizens adrift without social, emotional, or spiritual moorings. Highly recommended. All levels, all readers." —S. Durr, Choice "Gutsy and provocative, Anne Pierce presents an articulate, no-holds-barred indictment of current child-rearing practices. Read this book, and you will have plenty to talk—and to think—about!" —Jane M. Healy, Educational psychologist and author of Endangered Minds "Thoughtful parents will find Anne Pierce's Ships Without a Shore a provocative, even disturbing book. She challenges the ethos of self-fulfillment, personal achievement, and moral relativism propagated by conventional wisdom and popular culture, and draws a bleak picture of its effects on child rearing. Drawing on her own experience as a parent and observation of other parents and children as well as on neurological, psychological, and other social scientific research, taking a long historical perspective and appealing to the insights of an earlier philosophical and religious tradition, Anne Pierce talks unfashionably and compellingly about children's natural needs for stable parental love and care and to be taught right and wrong and have their innocence protected from corruption." —Nathan Tarcov, University of Chicago "Ships without a Shore provides a vivid and stinging critique of the state of affairs of our young - from babies to adolescents. Anne R. Pierce provides a compelling discussion of the key issues that contribute to child development and health as well as more subtle aspects of life such as optimism and positive expectations, from parenting to peer and media influences in our rapidly changing world. Exhibiting exceptional scholarly review, she presents arguments from a range of fields touching child development using summary and quotation surrounded by her own analyses. In this way, she raises concerns about the way in which modern forces are filling our children's lives with information and busy activities that have empty materialistic goals and do not engender introspection, enjoyment of simple pleasures. This book raises the alarm that current conditions are creating children without a moral compass... especially during developmental phases which set the capacity for these feelings to ever develop. She argues convincingly that without appropriate time to reflect on the wonders of being alive during the right developmental stages, we may be raising an antisocial and non-creative generation of children who will grow to become adults unable to reach their imaginative, altruistic and emotionally balanced potential because of this neglect and materialistic environment. This is an extremely important book on the importance and challenges of child development at our current technological crossroads at which media is able to deliver incredible "programming" to our youth to massive and potentially disastrous effect." —James E. Swain MD, PhD, FRCPC, Child Study Center at Yale University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412810906
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne R. Pierce is an independent scholar with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She has published articles on social/political issues and foreign policy and is particulary interested in transition periods in American life. She is the author of Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman: Mission and Power in American Foreign Policy, available from Transaction.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Liberation, Illusion, and the Pressure to Conform 2. Love and Stability: The Fundamentals of Early Childhood, which Day Care Cannot Provide 3. Moral Relativism and its Influence upon Modern Parents 4. Education without Moorings: The Surge Forward That Leaves Innocence and Introspection Behind Selected Bibliography Index

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Customer Reviews

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