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Family Matters No. 50 - June 1998

Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment

James Garbarino

Abstract

It is becoming more difficult for children to grow up these days. As greater numbers of children display signs of experiencing problems, it is important to ask, 'Why?'. The author's response is that children are vulnerable to the negative influence of an increasingly socially toxic environment, and unless something is done about it, the situation for children will only continue to deteriorate. By socially toxic environment, the author means that the social world of children, the social context in which they grow up, has become poisonous to their development. This paper is adapted by the author from his book, Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment. It provides a perspective on social exchanges and institutional reshaping by calling for governments to take a stronger role in the 'detoxifying' of the social environment, which the author states is currently 'polluting' children.

It is becoming more difficult for children to grow up these days. As greater numbers of children display signs of experiencing problems, it is important to ask, 'Why?'. The author's response is that children are vulnerable to the negative influence of an increasingly socially toxic environment, and unless something is done about it, the situation for children will only continue to deteriorate. By socially toxic environment, the author means that the social world of children, the social context in which they grow up, has become poisonous to their development. This paper is adapted by the author from his book, Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment. It provides a perspective on social exchanges and institutional reshaping by calling for governments to take a stronger role in the 'detoxifying' of the social environment, which the author states is currently 'polluting' children.

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