Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Detoxing Childhood

I have almost come to the end of Sue Palmer's latest book Dexoting Childhood. I first came across her work just over a year ago, when I read Toxic Childhood, a book for which I am very grateful.

Toxic childhood raised a number of issues relating to how developments in contemporary society are affecting children's development in the 21st Century and covers issues surrounding diet, working patterns, electronic gadgets, computers, restricted play etc. What I liked about the book is that the author is not patronising towards parents, she just looks at the holistic nature of developments in the 21st Century that have been damaging to children's development. It is refreshing that she does not blame parents, and instead highlights the elements that have gradually infiltrated modern lifestyles. If blame is expressed anywhere, it is towards the multi-billion dollar marketing machine that targets children, creating unwanted pressure on parents and consequently making our roles harder.

Where Toxic Childhood highlights the dangers of which parents need to be aware, the sequel Detoxing Childhood provides preventative measures on how to combat these in order to help create a healthy and happy family lifestyle, the type to which I certainly aspire.

Sue Palmer, the author and educational consultant is one of the signatories on the letter about Child Play that was published in yesterday's Telegraph. I met her last year, a formidable and approachable woman who is extremely passionate about child development.

When I first read her work, it struck a huge chord with me. I've already remarked that I was grateful and indeed I was, as many of the issues that she highlighted are ones that I have battled with at a personal level. I recognised some of my own behaviour patterns, but what was great about the book was that I didn't feel guilty, I felt normal!

Consequently I have been able to make small adjustments to our lifestyle and have noticed the benefits to our own family life. Yes I admit that I sometimes slip into my old ways, but recognise the danger signs when doing so, which helps me get back on track again. Reading Detoxing Childhood has offered a helpful reminder of how to tackle such things. Of course, nobody can be the "perfect parent", we can only pledge to provide for our children to the best of our knowledge and abilities and having the awareness certainly helps to develop the abilities.


mummyonashoestring said...

I am always pretty scared of this type of book. As a mummy of two, trying to pay the bills, feed the family and keep the house in some sort of acceptable fashion, the added pressure of adding in more factors to the equation seemed daunting, but your review has tempted me to read a copy. I think the guilt-factor was what was preventing me from entering this kind of forum, I will endeavour to get hold of a copy and see if there are any ways to make life a little easier! Thank you for your recommendation.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I agree with mummyonashoestring.

I might have to give this book a go.


21st Century Mummy said...

Hi mummyonashoestring and Jo - I know where you're both coming from. Often the last thing that you need is some stranger telling you what you should be doing. However, Sue Palmer is very understanding of parental pressure and you need to read the book with this in mind and not feel guilty. As I mentioned, Toxic Childhood actually made me feel normal but alerted me to some of the things I should be doing.

It is well worth reading Toxic Childhood first and then following up with Detoxing Childhood.