The hurried child: growing up too fast too soon
The book ‘The hurried child: growing up too fast too soon” by David Elkind is a parenting book which is a cutting edge in the contemporary parenting. This book was written in the year 1981 even before the evolution and widespread use of the internet but had an illusion of the technological revolution that would come. As a result, the book contains a lot of parenting information on the contemporary parenting which by personal opinion is at stake.
Looking at the class in which this book falls under, it is an educative text in the parenting sector. Thus, I would recommend this book to all young parents in the world since the contents show a great deal of understanding child psychology so as to help coexist with them with minimal quarrels.
Looking at the actual contents of the book, the book is divided into two sections each of five units. In the first section, the author tries to address the cause of fast psychological growth of children as compared to physical growth. The first unit introduces the whole idea of how our children have hurried growth (x). This unit forms the basic theme of the book on which all, the other contents of the book are based. The next four units in this book explain the causes of the unbalanced growth in all aspects of the child (Elkind, 2001) (xi). This section is rather bulky and descriptive. The illustrations on each unit appears to be drawn from the real world thus not a mere illusion. The order in which the units are arranged is: dynamics of hurrying: parents, the school, the media, the brains, lap ware and internet research. These units expound on the first unit of the book which as earlier said is the main theme of the book (pg, ix). The section discusses in detail the sources of pressure in children (Elkind, 2001) (pgs 3 - 21). A few quotations from the book are given below. in the first chapter, ‘given the continued pressure for the children to grow up fast, it seems important to update the sections on hurrying engaged in by parents, schools and media’ in another quotation, ‘if these past pressures on children and adolescents were not enough, the omnipresence of computers, the evidence from new brain research and the explosive use of the internet have added to the demands that children feel, think and behave as more completely mature adults’. (103) ‘ Chapter 3 and four deals with the upcoming dilemmas in kindergarten schools across the country and the adverse effects that the media has on children ’ (Elkind, 2001) (23)
The second section of this book deals with the possible solution to the problem presented in the first section. This section more descriptive on even how to know if a child is under any pressure thus takes the best steps to deal with the problem (Elkind, 2001) (168). The section is very elaborative on steps needed to ensure than a child does not grow up too fast to cope with the general life from an optimistic perspective. In some parts, the book deals specifically with helping children in different stages of development ranging from small children to teenagers who are about to transform into young adults (Elkind, 2001) (204 - 219). This section is very crucial to parents who need to understand their children better.
One of the major features of the book is language use. This book is written in a much simpler language that any person even with Basic English knowledge can easily read and understand. This gives the book a wide coverage and readers outreach since the language is nice and simple. This acts as the first major strength of the book since most the people do not like advanced language use.
The other feature of the book is the writing style. The book is organized in a way that is very easy to understand its flow and determine the adherence to the plot. The plot is easy to know and it is organized in a way that is very straightforward unlike many of American book where the plot may run two or three storylines in parallel or intertwined.
The book uses an illustrative language that draws most of its contents from the locality. This gives the book a very close touch with the society and the readers as well. With this close touch maintained, the author is able to conveniently convey his message to the readers.
The book can be said to have very many strengths but there are some strengths that make the book very important and updated. One of these strengths is the knowledge of the author himself. Looking at the exposure and education basis of the author, Elkind is a PhD holder in psychology. Therefore, he can be claimed to write the book from personal understanding of the human behavior under different conditions. This gives the good the very first impression that it is a good book.
The second strength of the book is the achievement of set goal. The title of the book just gives the illusion of what to expect in the book but the writer uses his personal understanding and knowledge to convey the message fully and effectively.
The third strength under the same line is division of the book into sections addressing problems of children in different dockets. This makes it very easy to trace and read information pertaining to a specific age group. This ease the book use and understanding since a reader can peruse through the book and read only what is relevant to him or her.
On the other side, some weaknesses have also been found in the book. Some of the weaknesses are discussed below. The major weakness of this book can be taken to be in generalization of ideas and approaches (Elkind, 2001). For example, the author generalizes all children forced to grow up very fast usually have a stressed aftermath. In some cases, the aftermath does not have any negative impact on the child. In fact, it may help the child adapt to certain real life difficulties making him/her a person who is well adapted to the world.
Another weakness of this book is lack of touch in some contemporary issues in child growth and development (Elkind, 2001). Though the author touches on the environment as one of the factors making children to grow up very fast, I personally feel that the author does not fully cover the topic of environmental factors.
Critically analyzing the book, I can rate it at seven in a scale of ten. This is because the book is quite updated though it was written even before the contemporary technology came into existence. The book has major strengths and addresses an issue that is threatening the human race. However, the book misses to explain and expound more on some contemporary issues like computers and children but this can be attributed to lack of this equipment at the time when the book was written.
In personal capacity, I can recommend this book to all parents’ especially young couples. This is mainly because they are the ones in child upbringing stage and are much involved in income generating projects to a point that they tend to forget their role as parents.
The book can be claimed to have an informative overall impact. This is mainly because the book deals with a very sensitive aspect in human life and race thus addresses humanity. The book also deals with a topic rarely addressed in many learning institution where people are trained on all other aspects and an assumption that one automatically knows what is expected of him/her as a parent is made.
However, I feel that information on child upbringing is not fully covered. I would like the author to add more on teenagers since I believe this is the most dangerous stage in one’s life. I would like also the author to work more on information about young adults (20 – 24 years of age) since an assumption that after attaining 20 years that one is an adult is always made.
In conclusion, this book is a much updated old book which I can say was written with a vision of technologically revolution. This has given the book a good touch on the contemporary society which appears to be proceeding retrogressively in children upbringing.
Elkind D, 1981. The hurried child: growing up too fast too soon. Perseus Publishing Inc, 1st edition, 3rd edition released in 2001.