The Century of the Child: The Mental Hygiene Movement and Social Policy in the United States and Canada

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In this book, Richardson crosses disciplinary boundaries to examine mental hygiene issues of contemporary concern in both the United States and Canada. The work juxtaposes a social history of the child in the twentieth century to shifts in private and public power as influenced by the mental hygiene movements in both countries.

The author shows how the historical record sheds light on current policy concerned with mentally, emotionally, and educationally handicapped children. As a sociology of mental illness, the book examines the relationship between mental hygiene as a form of knowledge and the social institutions that fostered the use of psychiatric perspectives concerning child and family life. Significant topics covered in this regard include the history of early childhood and parent education, the origins of child psychiatry in treating juvenile delinquency, and the evolution of contemporary concepts of normal development.
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About the author

Theresa R. Richardson is in the Centre for Policy Studies in Education at the University of British Columbia.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
273
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ISBN
9781438417264
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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ADOLESCENCE is an artificial state, created by the demands of complex modem society for further education. Youth is prolonged by the requirements of training, apprenticeship, school, college and university, and those who are better intellectually endowed than others face a time of further education that may last from at least three to six years after leaving school. As such they are privileged by the opportunities they can enjoy-and the student who belongs to the educational elite of today can belong to the social elite of tomorrow's world. These privileged adolescents, however, have much need of un derstanding, sympathy, and help through the crises of develop ment, be they social, psychological or environmental in cause-because the student of today is the most precious investment for the community' sfuture. Whether it be problems of academic wastage, stress, depression, adjustment to personal relationships or the demands of just simply growing up, the privileged adolescent has a difficult time in contemporary society. If we, as parents, doctors, teachers, taxpayers and adults are responsible for making it any more difficult than it ought to be, by prejudice, lack of understanding or through not offering the right help at the right time, then we bear a terrible responsibility. Society will suffer for the harm it causes its adolescents and there are many who feel, perhaps justifiably, that addiction, promiscuity, suicide, depression and neurosis are symptoms of 'social illness' marked out by individual tragedy.
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