In this section you will find reviews of some books of Sue Palmer which this seminar is based on. The reviews are included for Toxic Childhood, Detoxing Childhood and 21st Century Boys.

Toxic Childhood: how modern life is damaging our children and what we can do about it
Is 21st century life damaging our children? In the last couple of decades, huge changes in adult lifestyles have affected the way we look after children, both at home and in school. Toxic Childhood explains how a toxic mix of side-effects of cultural change is affecting the development of a growing number of children. It also explains how a few simple adjustments to life-style can ‘detoxify’ children’s lives.

Reviews of Toxic Childhood

Excellent book... practical, sensible and eminently attainable advice on on how to detoxify childhood. Deborah Orr, The Independent

A super child-rearing manual, founded in science, bolstered by much reading, a lot of interviews and a long career in education. Times Educational Supplement 

Sue Palmer’s Toxic Childhood is extensively researched, fluently written and easily read. It is a guidebook for parents, grandparents and all who care about present and future generations, as well as being an academic work in its own right. Tribune 

Essential reading for all those who work with children. It has fascinating and sometimes startling revelations about the damaging influences on the young within our society and offers some practical and very readable ideas and recommendations for all those who endeavour to give children the very best we can. Gervase Phinn, author

A splendid book that draws together a vast swathe of the most authoritative research from a whole range of fields and disciplines... that together explain ‘the worsening behaviour of children and the explosion in numbers of special needs pupils’. The Mother magazine

If you are even a tad concerned about the influences at work on our children, this book is a Must Read!... No one can afford to miss this excellently written book.’ National Primary Headteachers Association magazine

I could not put it down. It seemed to pull together all my worries about young children growing up in a fast changing world, and yet...the book is in fact very positive. The research it has drawn upon makes it a very powerful read. And, of course, it is written by a good writer in a very accessible way. Early Childhood Practice

A fascinating account of the problems facing kids today...contains solid parenting advice on subjects ranging from diet to childcare. Sainsbury’s magazine

All too often we are told what is wrong with society/parenting/environment and more, but seldom told how we can so something to redress the balance.... This is what the author set out to do, and she has succeeded. Read Toxic Childhood.

Cannot recommend highly enough... a pretty earth-shattering read. It really makes you think about how childhood has changed. Live Journal

Palmer's Toxic Childhood took the lid off national angst over modern influences on children. The title has become shorthand for everything that's wrong with children's lives from excessive testing at school to violent computer games, sex, drugs and alcohol. Evening Standard, listing Sue Palmer amongst the 20 most influential people in British education

A terrific book... and so timely. Anne Fine, author and former Children’s Laureate

One of the most powerful books of the year. David Willetts, David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science

Just what we all need to be reading. The levels of anxiety about our children are reaching new highs and we desperately need this kind of careful analysis. Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

This is a compelling book, well-researched and authoritative, with powerful messages in each of the chapters, and practical suggestions that are both helpful and realistic. Marion Dowling, President of The British Association of Early Childhood Education

Almost every page in this book raises something compelling about the way we are treating children. It is a worrying book, but not unhopeful or unhelpful, and everyone concerned with children can rest assured that Sue Palmer is on their side. Carousel magazine

Both refreshing and honest... objectively considers an array of disciplines surrounding childhood and their underlying side effects. Then it integrates them and develops a clear and common goal for parents and others alike to jointly tackle the toxic environment that children are being exposed to... Blame is not an issue of this book; it is about change and investing in the pivotal emotional needs of the young. What About The Children?

A great book. MyChild magazine

Every parent should read this book, as it does contain a wealth of information you should know. Evening Herald

Absolutely essential reading for anyone who has, or who works with, children. It’s like Eric Schlosser (author of the exposé Fast Food Nation) for parenting.

One of the most talked about books on the market... teems with perceptive observations and sound advice. Family Bulletin

One of the most inspirational books I have ever read... a must-read for all parents. The Coffee House,

A brilliant book, Toxic Childhood, demonstrating how deprived children bear the brunt of rapid social change, and the knock-on effect this has on Britain’s streets, schools and crime rate. The Week

This is one of those books that touches a nerve... The undeniable truth is that Sue Palmer is right and we must all act before it is too late... Read the book. The Children Webmag

Whether or not you are a teacher, youth worker, parent or anyone else who comes into contact with kids, this book is both an uplifting battlecry and an essential tool in our understanding of the children of today and tomorrow. Food and Behaviour Research website

Detoxing Childhood: what parents need to know to raise bright, balanced children

Detoxing Childhood was written in response to parents’ requests for a quick, easy-to-read ‘self-help’ book dealing with the issues raised in Toxic Childhood. It’s based on the advice provided by experts during many years of research into the effects of modern life on child development and covers:
  • The vital importance of real food and real play for children’s development
  • Why sleep is essential to learning – and how to ensure children get enough of it
  • Childcare and education – what works best for different age-groups
  • Protecting children from aggressive marketing and the excesses of celebrity culture
  • The dangers (and benefits) of growing up in a multi-media ‘electronic village’.

Reviews of Detoxing Childhood

Sue Palmer began a national debate with Toxic Childhood…the follow-up, Detoxing Childhood, is a practical easy-to-follow guide about what children really need. Invaluable for parents, this book is also great for teachers and educators. Child Education
Relax, chill out: doing easy, everyday tasks is the key to happy families. A comprehensive guide to defusing the negative effects of ‘toxic childhood syndrome’. The Times
A compact accessible and research-based ‘bible’ in how to ‘detox childhood’… an ideal, if not essential, read for parents and all those working with children. Early Years Educator (EYE)

A careful drawing together of much research as well as comment from parents, giving lots of tips on successfully parenting children in a society driven by consumerism and competition…an invaluable resource for all those working with children, with groups of parents in any situation and for community leaders. Home and Family

Do buy this immensely readable book. It stands out in analysis and practical advice. Where Sue Palmer excels is in her role as counsellor… she is clear-sighted yet not prescriptive….She explains children’s needs and stages of development and, without saying so, leads us to the obvious solutions. Time for Parenting
A chilling insight into childhood in contemporary Britain…Palmer combines her personal experience with recent research findings to present a picture of the modern child’s condition. However, instead of just criticising the current state of affairs, she suggests how positive changes can be made, both in the home and through reform of national policies…It is understanding and provides warmth, wisdom and encouragement for parents. Children and Young People Now

Page turner… it offers a detox workout to change family life for the better. Junior Magazine

‘Refreshingly free of psychobabble, Sue Palmer’s assessment of the problems facing young people and the solutions on offer ought to be available to all parents on the NHS…. An optimistic and realistic attempt to stop the rot of the past few years, to regain control of our family lives and thereby give children a better start.’ Western Morning News

Excellent and practical advice … spot on. WriteAway

Parenthood can be the most exciting and rewarding time in one’s life but it can also be the most demanding and challenging. It is a sad fact that Britain’s teenagers have more problems than those in any other country in Europe. So what is going wrong? Why is there such an increase in childhood depression? Why are more and more young people suffering from stress? Why are behavioural problems on the increase? Why is there a rise in substance abuse, violence and self-harm amongst young people?

Sue Palmer in Toxic Childhood explored the pressures and demands which affect children’s and young people’s emotional, social and physical development. In this text, the sequel, she offers a range of insights, ideas and practical advice showing how negative influences on children’s development can be defused. Every parent and every teacher should have this clear-sighted, immensely readable and accessible book to hand. Gervase Phinn, author and former school inspector
This book has to be a ‘must’ for all parents of younger children in the twenty first century. In a fast-paced world that is hard enough for adults to keep abreast with… ‘Detoxing Childhood’ provides a refreshing antidote to many negative aspects of modern living, whist honouring many time-honoured and healthy child-rearing traditions. This really is a ‘back to basics’ look at unravelling the many ways in which parents can provide a ‘proper’ childhood to their cherished little ones…If the advice in this book is followed by the majority of parents and carers, what a happy and healthy younger generation we will have. Jenny Mosley, education consultant and founder of Quality Circle Time

21st Century Boys: how modern life can drive them off the rails... and what we can do about it

This is the first of two books about growing up in the modern world (the second, due for publication in 2011, is unsurprisingly called 21st Century Girls). 21st Century Boys looks at the particular problems facing boys, including:
  • The growth of developmental conditions such as ADHD and Asperger Syndrome which disproportionately affect boys, and the extent to which these may be the result of nature or nurture
  • The significance of one-on-one care in the first few years
  • Commercial pressures and their effects on boys and their families
  • The problems for boys of an early start to formal education and a pencil-and-paper test-based school culture
  • Problems for boys in a risk-averse society, including the decline of free-range play and a dearth of real-life role models as men withdraw from contact with children and young people
  • The potential ill-effects of a ‘culture of cool’ on adolescent boys
  • The social issue of ‘born losers’ in today’s competitive consumerist society, and the way ‘born winners’ may be perpetuating this problem.

Reviews of 21st Century Boys

‘Palmer, who started a media storm with her first book ‘Toxic Childhood’ examines the issues that confront 21st century boys from birth to the end of school, in the light of the most up-to-date research, and explains what we can all do to help ensure they emerge as healthy, normal adults. Behind the screaming headlines, she talks an awful lot of sense.’ The Bookseller

‘In a hugely informative and interesting book, packed with readable research, Palmer suggests how we can raise bright, balanced boys’ Scotland on Sunday

A very well researched book with plenty of pretty inarguably evidence. From a secondary teacher’s point of view it will help you understand why your boys are as they are. And understanding a problem is half way to solving it. The ever-practical Ms Palmer provides pages of ‘what we can do’ suggestions at the end of each chapter, including specific ideas for teachers SEC ED (The Voice for Secondary Education)

‘Need help bringing up a 21st century boy? Then you need this book. This is another timely publication from a highly qualified and well-known writer…It is a highly readable and accessible text, despite the underpinning research and theory that Sue Palmer entwines so comprehensively.’ Early Years Educator

‘A thought-provoking examination of boys’ lives from birth to the teenage years and the potential ill-effects of modern lifestyles.’ Child Education

By the author of the incredibly successful ‘Toxic Childhood’ is a book that focuses on the development of boys from birth to the teenage years. This is an indispensable guide to raising 21st century boys with lots of practical advice in order to turn young boys into grown men who are balanced, bright, resilient and ready for anything that’s ‘thrown’ at them.

Thought-provoking… fascinating. Throughout the book there are four pen-portraits of males, each presenting a composite picture that illustrates ways that culture combined with evolutionary influences and misguided nurture has influenced boys… It also discusses how it may be possible to help these boys grow up into balanced and resilient males. Times Educational Supplement: TES Connect 

‘Insightful, well-researched, evidence-based…an excellent and through-provoking analysis.’ First Five magazine

‘Sue Palmer, a leading expert in education and child development…offers insights into the difficulties of raising boys and how parents and teachers can help them fulfil their potential.’ 5 to 7 Educator

Informative and inspirational… Based on the latest research from around the world, 21st Century Boys provides parents with a clear pathway to bringing up boys. The Green Parent

‘A detailed analysis of the world our boys are growing up in and how it’s affecting them… She uses the latest research from around the world as well as her own experiences as an educator to assess the issues confronting boys, from birth to when they leave school.’ ‘This book should be on the reading list of every new parent who is struggling with the complexities of raising boys in a world where technological culture intrudes ever more insistently and irresistibly into family life.’ Juno Magazine

Are junk food, lack of sleep, computer games, the internet, and the frantic pace of 21st century life breeding damaged, unhappy adolescents? The author analyses the issues facing our young men and suggests what we can do to reclaim our boys’ stability, well-being and future. Daily Record

‘An entertaining and often enlightening guide to one of the fundamental dilemmas of our time.’ Family and Youth Concern Bulletin

Renowned education specialist Sue Palmer presents the latest research and insights into raising boys. Loaded with good and practical advice. Palmer writes in a very readable style. Warcry!