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Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World is Damaging Our Children and What We Can Do About It
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Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World is Damaging Our Children and What We Can Do About It

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  457 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Every concerned parent MUST have this book! Children throughout the developed world are suffering, with obesity, dyslexia, ADHD, and other serious ailments on the rise. And it’s not simply that our diagnostic ability has improved—there are very real and growing problems. Top literacy expert Sue Palmer examines the danger zones, from poor diet, lack of exercise, and sleep d ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Orion Publishing (first published January 1st 2003)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  457 ratings  ·  51 reviews


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Louise
Sep 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Okay, let me start by saying I didn’t entirely hate this book.

The author puts forward some good points that I completely agree with, particularly where the educational system is concerned. She talks about how there is too much emphasis on standardised testing; how there are too many children to a class, meaning that teachers can’t meet individual children’s needs; how physical education has become too “academicised”, with teachers focussing more on technique than overall fitness and enjoyment o
...more
Himani Gupta
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is a well written book - lots of data and facts, lots of personal opinions and what sounds like plain common sense, yet still not too judgemental. I think the book reiterated a lot of what i knew intutitively about the need to spend time with our children, to think creatively about how we spend time together, to monitor what they eat and how they spend their time etc. I think the dangers of television, internet on minds of children are very real. It is good to be reminded of these things beca ...more
Anjuli
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I had to read this as part of my pre-reading for my PGCE primary course and it gave me a lot of insight into how the world is effecting children. I did agree with a lot that she said and also took on board a lot of her suggestions for when I eventually have children.
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
The book that talks about in details various aspects of childhood. From various angles childhood is studied with various suggestions and readings. I strongly suggest to the educators, parents and those who are concerned with children.
Lora O'Brien
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book makes so much sense. Non-judgmental, practical guidance and advice for raising your kids in as healthy a way as can be achieved in today's toxic society. A must-read for new parents, or those a little further along!
Ali
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am a Graphic Design student currently doing a project on the loss of childhood in western society. This book was a great help and one that I have referenced a lot in my research. And one that I will look back on if I ever have children of my own.
Zahrah Awaleh
May 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Brilliant, straightforward analysis of what's gone wrong with our kids and what we can do about it. I saw her speak recently, and she's a great speaker.
Natasha Sundar
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read and very detail. While I do agree and the writer revalidates some of my opinions on this subject, there are still some areas I may question further. Overall a good read.
Paul
Jul 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Disclaimer: I had to stop reading this at the end of the communications chapter.

"We didn't need parenting books in my day!!" - A old lady sat next to me on the bus proudly boasts to me.

In the split second in my mind that it takes me to decide on my response, it hits me about what is wrong with this book.

"Thats a shame had there been maybe the generations your generation raised wouldn't have been so dysfunctional" I retort.

The woman clearly unhappy with my answer tut's and walks away.

That story
...more
Bex
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another author that I'd frequently heard referred to as a technophobe (and another book largely skim read). This book is dealing with a much bigger topic than the question of screentime/digital, and looking at a much wider range of factors that have influenced modern childhoods - although a core argument is that we're now working at the speed of electronic technology, and that biology works at a much slower pace. Lots of interesting insights, and decent tips/summaries and further reading lists a ...more
Hannah
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though lots of the ideas in this book felt quite obvious to me, it was really interesting and eye-opening, particularly to consider the phenomenon from a parent’s view rather than a teacher’s. i would be interested in reading an updated version of the book as I feel a lot of the issues raised have only deteriorated in recent years as society has continued to splinter. It’s quite depressing as it’s such a wide reaching problem that I don’t know whether we’re too far gone to tackle...
Bex
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure I've already written a review for this! But anyway .... This is a much wider book than about technology - and nicely set out in chunks with summary lists and extra reading at the end of each chapter. Over commercialisation is seen as the main 'toxic' factor, although the digital is seen as part of this.... there are some useful questions asked, and plenty to chew over, though it's still largely going with the 'digital native' line.
Jenny
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An honest, sometimes uncomfortable to read book which outlines how the next generations are being influenced by the ever changing world.
The insights are interesting and the opportunity to work with advances in technology, rather than letting it rule, is there for those who want to nurture the children and give them the best possible chance to succeed and be happy.
Recommended and of great benefit to anyone studying Health & Social Care.
...more
Mushtaq  Tahir
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very well written book full of valuable points, guidelines and perspectives. There are many poisonous elements in modern society that are disabling our children, mentally, physically, spirituality and morally. This book gives us much food for thought and highlights the challenges faced by both the parent and child.
Cris Vallejo
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. We live in a world of comfort, convenience and promise, a wonderful world for grown-up human beings to work and relax. But it's not the best of all possible worlds for children. Deep in our hearts we all know it, but we're frightened to admit it: the world we've created is damaging our children's brains.'
Naomi
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I wish more people would read it. While I already try and do many of the things in this book, it gave me more ideas but also connected everything really well together. Really well written and very thought-provoking.
Asimenia Phantasmagoria
The writer made her points clear. Sleep, food, games and communication. It could be smaller. I think she tries to judge objectively. I also think that this book should be read by every parent and teacher. Ιt should be a "university'' book.
Hilary May
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't normally log the (far too many!) parenting books I read, but as I read this from cover to cover. It was a lot more reasonable than I was expecting from the title and comments I'd heard. To be honest I think you could sum these up as 'everything in moderation' 'there are pros and cons of most aspects of modern life' 'don't trust businesses' 'eat as natural food as possible' - did make me feel better for being pretty strict about my children's screen use and what they watch - although they ...more
Victoria
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I was recommended this by a friend and it certainly gave me food for thought. I couldn't put it down, and I found myself in agreement with a large amount of what Palmer outlines. A lot of it is common sense, such as junk food and TV news, but it was really useful to have the theory presented in a holistic way, and discuss how all aspects of modern society combine to create toxic children, There are certainly some ideas that I will refer back to when bringing up my own children. I also liked how ...more
Thuraya Batterjee
Dec 07, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
a good book,easily read ,careful analysis and simple tips.

i liked the concept of "Detoxifying" childhood,

especially tips about Detoxing family life:
recognise the supreme importance of time in bringing up children, the younger they are the more " slow time" you need.
learn the art of compromise.

Detoxing Education: primary education is not a race, make sure your child knows what bullying is and isn't.
The single most important way parents can help children do well is through talking with them and en
...more
Louis Cecile
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is very much like a future hindsight of what has happened to childhood. No neutral perspective is used here as the author is laying down a case for the problems today's children face and how it can be tackled. However depending on the reader, you either agree and follow each chapter intensely or be cautious to debate each claim. Either way it is a fascinating insight and much of the problems identified reflect also in today's adults. This can be a life changing booking for some parents ...more
Mazz Cole
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Informative without being patronising. Ok, a lot of this stuff is what we probably already know i.e. our children watch too much tv, eat too much sugar, don't get enough sleep etc. but there is still plenty of food for thought in there. And we all need a nudge in the right direction now and then don't we?


A lot of us read pregnancy or baby books in preparation for a new baby but perhaps barely read up on child care tips or advice for beyond the toddler years, if you'd like to, I'd st
...more
Jayney
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Modern Society has changed at such as fast rate it the last thirty years. Even since my mother was bringing us up. Schools certianly haven't adapted for children and neither have our spaces.

Palmer writes about all aspects of society, from our daily routines & eating habits to work- life balances, media influence and lack of community. She clearly outlines how children's physical and psychological health are affected but these factors. She also gives advice for 'de-toxifying' and giving children
...more
Karen Tullson
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent critique with practical applications

Parents can make a difference in their children's lives. This book offers a valuable critique of our current situation and some practical solutions. She is writing about the UK, but it is just as true for the U.S. This is well worth reading. All of her comments are consistent with the latest research on brain development. Authoritarian parenting is the difference for happy responsible kids. If you like John Rosemond, you'll find this an excellent add
...more
Rosemary
This was well-written and engaging. I particularly liked the "Mind the Gap" section at the end of each chapter which rightly pointed out that the parents who would most benefit from the advice she was writing were the parents who are least educated and least likely to pick up the book, sadly. Basically, we need to look out for these parents and their kids and do the best we can for them (unfortunately it's usually not a lot).
Clare Davidson
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Interesting and useful information in some areas but the author falls prey to the traditional but outdated and unscientific idea that children must be taught to sleep. And that the best way to achieve this is to abandon them in their own room alone at night. As you can probably tell I don't subscribe to this idea. I'd suggest Kiss Me, how to raise a child with love by Carlos Gonzalez as a more sensible and helpful read.
Diane
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Inspiring book. Every parent, teacher and person who works with children should read it. The author emphasise the importance of:

- real play
- enough sleep
- teaching delayed gratification to kids
- childcare and education appropriate for a child's age-group
- protecting the children against excessive marketing and the excesses of the celebrity culture
- knowing the dangers and benefits of growing up in a multi-media "electronic village"

LouD
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Remind me to get this book out again when I have kids. Fingers crossed I wouldn't give my kids a 'toxic' childhood anyway, but it can't hurt. Would be interesting if someone wrote "Toxic Parent"..........idea.
Metia Bethell
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic and insightful book on the complexities of bringing up kids today. With more than a dash of common sense, Sue Palmer manages to get her point across in a kind and sympathetic manner without compromising her message.
Don't be afraid to read it! There are lots of solutions inside.
MR C MAXWELL
A little bit about everything

Overall a useful read yet, in my opinion, slightly shallow and in many parts not well researched. Leaving aside details, still nicely put together general ideas, a food for thought. Worth reading ("with a pitch of salt").
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Sue Palmer is a former primary headteacher in the Borders of Scotland. She is a literacy specialist, writer, presenter and 'childhood campaigner'. She has written widely on aspects of literacy. She chaired the Scottish Play Commission, served on the Scottish Government's Early Years Task Force and currently chairs the Upstart Scotland campaign.

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35 likes · 11 comments
“Tiredness thus draws whole families into the vicious circle of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. The sluggishness that comes from poor diet feeds further exhaustion, which leads to more quick-fix junk food and telly-slumping … and so on, ad infinitum. And all this overlaps with another vicious circle. This is the one where exhausted parents attempt wanly to convince their children it’s bedtime. And the children - over-tired and brattish - play up more and more, until their parents give up the unequal struggle and let them watch ‘one more programme’ or play ‘one more computer game’. The next morning everyone wakes up tired again … and on it goes, the two vicious circles overlapping into a vicious Venn diagram, with a worn-out family trapped in the middle.” 1 likes
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