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Are Our Adolescents Undernurtured?

nurture [ce 1300-1350; Middle English nurture; from Late Latin nūtrītūra meaning nourishing]
1. to feed and protect
2. to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development
3. to bring up, train, educate
4. rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like
5. development
6. something that nourishes (Random House, 2006)

As parents, one of our most important tasks in life is to nurture our children. However, it seems that our current societal norm is one of surrogate parenting (e.g. nannies, day care and after-school care) and hyperscheduling our adolescents. At least this is the position of Dr. Anne R. Pierce, author of Ships Without A Shore: America’s Undernurtured Children, published by Transaction Publishers in January 2008.

Dr. Pierce is an independent researcher and writer whose interests focus on transition periods in American life. In Ships Without A Shore she asks the reader to really consider what the optimal conditions are for raising a happy, healthy well-adjusted child. In so doing, readers (who are parents) are forced to examine their own choices to see whether their choices were made as a “convenient solution” for themselves or were their choices made based on what is best for the child(ren).

Topics covered by Pierce include cultural and moral relativism, the lack of unstructured ‘downtime’ in children’s lives, the promotion of androgyny as a means of achieving gender equality or gender neutrality in our society, multiculturalism as a panacea, absentee parents and divorce, as well as the increased incidence of learning disabilities in children.

Written in a well-researched format with plenty of references to data-based studies to support her inferences, Ships Without A Shore provides much food for thought as families plan for their futures. Read this book with a pencil in hand ready to write in the margins as particular passages compel you to ruminate about their implications in your own life and the choices you have made or will make in the future.

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