Ships without a Shore: America's Undernurtured Children

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Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2011 - Social Science - 276 pages
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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User Review  - avidreader2009 -

We seem to be struggling for an identity after trying many approaches for several decades. Its nice to get your hands on a book which helps one get grounded. A great deal of academic research went ... Read full review

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Critical reading for academicians, sociologists, school and children program developers. Anne summarizes critical research pertaining to the long term effects within society of our undernutured children. For the health of our children in achieving their full potential, dreams and contributions to subsequent generations, this book is a MUST read. Every day that passes without our awareness of the effects of our current patterns in society regarding our children is a day too late. Ships without ashore provides this insight! 


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Selected Bibliography

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Page 158 - Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior.
Page 133 - Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us, Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.
Page 191 - FATHER, father, where are you going? O do not walk so fast! Speak, father, speak to your little boy, Or else I shall be lost." The night was dark, no father was there, The child was wet with dew; The mire was deep, and the child did weep, And away the vapour flew. The Little Boy Found. THE little boy lost...
Page 133 - Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! — For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul.
Page 84 - The mother who is not good enough is not able to implement the infant's omnipotence, and so she repeatedly fails to meet the infant gesture, instead she substitutes her own gesture which is to be given sense by the compliance of the infant.
Page 175 - If men were angels, no Government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on Government would be necessary. In framing a Government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this : you must first enable the Government to control the governed ; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
Page 71 - Infants begin to experience a sense of an emergent self from birth. They are predesigned to be aware of self-organizing processes. They never experience a period of total self/other undifferentiation. There is no confusion between self and other in the beginning or at any point during infancy. They are also predesigned to be selectively responsive to external social events and never experience an autisticlike phase.
Page 77 - In her first weeks, for instance, she smiles and frowns more or less at random, but within a couple of months, she smiles only when she is pleased and sociable and frowns only when she is not. It is the consistently pleased or concerned responses of adults that have taught her which is which. Responsive and overtly affectionate adults are crucial to all aspects of infants

About the author (2011)

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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