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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.
|Edition description:||First Paperback Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.59(d)|
About 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 an Excerpt
The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children
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.
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|