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Saving Childhood: Protecting Our Children From the National Assault on Innocence

Publisher: HarperCollins • 2009 • 338 pages

“Today, even the most conscientious and protective parents feel helpless when it comes to shielding the innocence of their children,” write Michael and Diane Medved. “Once parents struggled to preserve children’s innocence, to keep childhood a carefree golden age, and to shelter children from life’s vicissitudes. The new era operates on the belief that children must be exposed early to adult experience in order to survive in an increasingly complex and uncontrollable world. The Age of Protection has ended. An Age of Preparation has set in.

“Even parents who homeschool, send their children to private or religious schools, or otherwise maintain a traditional home environment face an uphill, everyday struggle. Cunning, secular messages can penetrate even your most protective strategies. That’s why the Medveds fill these pages with practical advice. First, they take you through the 4 major sources of today’s assaults on innocence: the media, schools, peers – and parents. They show you how to recognize the subtle and surreptitious influences of each (even the best parents overlook them).

Next, they arm you with the strategies that help you overcome each of these influences and give your children the 3 essential elements of childhood innocence: security, hope, and protection.

  • How your children can survive – even flourish – in pagan America
  • The new, radical approach to child rearing. How society came to embrace it and why most of us are not aware of the changes
  • The dangers of pushing your children to grow up too fast. How you know when you’ve crossed the bounds of a “loving parental enclosure
  • “Why you can’t even trust your kindly neighborhood librarian. What to look out for at the library. Plus, a protective policy for future visits
  • Aren’t we abusing our children by enfolding them in our values and giving them a “rose-colored” view of the world? How the Medveds respond when they are asked that question
  • “Our children aren’t influenced by television because our home is TV-free.” If you believe that one, better read chapter 2
  • The devastating impact of TV’s rapidly flashing images – no matter how wholesome the show
  • Hallmarks of today’s generation: impatience, self-pity, and superficiality. How TV promotes all three
  • Can’t live without the set? Practical ways to soften TV’s influence on your family
  • PG – short for “profanity guaranteed.” But what about G-rated movies and “family” entertainment?
  • Kids’ books: a scary, bloody shock
  • The computer screen – almost as bad as TV, even when you supervise content. Ways to limit its influence
  • School-based drug programs: why they increase teen drug use. Also, how they prime your kids for sex
  • A mathematics problem in one Pennsylvania school district: “There were four birds in a nest and one flew away. How do you think the flying bird felt?” Other ways schools destroy your child’s natural optimism
  • The practical dangers of the New Primitivism, including disfigurement and serious health risks. They’ll make almost any kid think twice before getting tattooed, pierced, or branded
  • How to reduce the negative effects of peer influence
  • Do you push your children too hard academically? If you’re not careful here, you may be in trouble later on
  • How rock music leads to maladjustment, depression, even suicide – and not only because of the lyrics
  • How public school teachers are taught to “rescue” children from parents who can’t be trusted. Surprise – you’re one of those parents
  • Why kids despise change. How to give them a sense of predictability, structure, and routine. The importance of family traditions
  • Threats to your child’s sense of security – they pop up in forms that most parents miss. How to spot them
  • The well-stocked toy chest. Which of these items are you missing. What do you have that you need to get rid of?
  • Sex education: how to do it right. Why children who rely on Dr. Ruth for their anatomy lessons are likely to be terrified
  • The antidote to pessimism: Gratitude. How to give your children more of it

Why are the Medveds the ideal people to write this book? In addition to being the parents of three children, they are also veteran family and culture “watchers.” Diane’s previous books include “The Case Against Divorce” and “The American Family” (with Dan Quayle). Michael is a nationally famous movie critic and author of “Hollywood vs. America: Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values”.

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