Monthly Article Archives: December 2004

Pressurized Children, Pressurized Adults: Let’s Find Time for PlayRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In 1981 psychologist Dr. David Elkind published his bestselling book The Hurried Child. He described the increasing demands placed on children by parents and other adults to achieve and succeed. Elkind contended that these “hurried” children were being robbed of their childhood and in the process were vulnerable to such adverse consequences as burning out in school, using drugs and alcohol, and feeling helpless. Borrowing from the title of Elkind’s book, I gave a number of presentations for parents in the late 1980s called “The Pressurized Child.” I attempted to capture the pressure that many children and adolescents feel on a daily basis and how they are left with a noticeable absence of joy and spontaneity in their lives. I also discussed strategies for implementing more realistic expectations and challenges for children that permitted them to experience fun and a zest for life. I have continued to advance this message in my seminars about raising resilient children. The topic of the hurried or pressurized child is as relevant, if not more so, today as when Elkind first wrote his book. Behind most pressurized youngsters are pressurized parents and other caregivers. I continue to be impressed by the number of parents

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