The Hurried Child, by Dr. David Elkind ****

thehurriedchildI’m using today’s book review to revisit a previously published book. I think it’s valuable to both parents and educators. Recently I’ve seen some reality TV competitions in which girls in their middle teens were dressed up to look like they were twenty-five. Sometimes that’s a judgment call, I guess, but this brief but authoritative book reminds us that it’s important to let kids be kids, and that when our girls feel rushed to become women, they may later thank us if we remind them to slow it down a bit.

To put it another way folks, don’t put mascara on your twelve-year-old, and don’t buy it for her, either.

Elkind makes a lot of really strong points here. This book is more geared toward those who are raising children (parent/guardians…so many, many grandparents raising kids these days!) than toward educators, who follow the school or district’s policies regardless, but since teachers often influence the choices made by the children they teach, it’s worth reading whether you have children in your home, your classroom, or both.

The last chapter draws a lot of extremely conservative conclusions with which I would not care to be associated, and this is why the final star is denied. However, in this day and age in which kids in fifth grade come home and announce they have a boyfriend, in which teensy children are packed off to beauty contests carefully coiffed, manicured, and covered in cosmetics, this is a breath of healthy, let’s-get-real common sense.

If you are a parent who is not sure what children should do as they move past early childhood, or if you have questions about adolescents, this is a good read. Sadly, the people who should most read this book probably won’t, and those who are already doing a pretty decent job probably will.

Still, highly recommended.

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