First read the following question.
34. The theme of the book by Marie Winn is presumably .
A. child abuse B. family relationship
C. loss of childhood innocence D. teen-age rebellion
Now go through TEXT I quickly and answer question 34.
Each new crop of adolescents always seems unfathomable to its predecessors. But when journalist Marie Winn began to study todays youngsters, she discovered something far more fundamental and disturbing than just another teen-age rebellion. In the short space of the past decade, she comments in her recent book Children without Childhood. that many middle-class American children not high-schoolers, but kids between the ages of 6 and 12 have been robbed of their most precious birthright — childhood itself. Willy-nilly, the typical fifth grader, once blissfully ignorant of adult matters, is now aware not just of sex and violence, but also of injustice, fear of death, adult frailty and cruelty, political corruption and economic instability.
What explains this sudden loss of innocence? One potent influence was the sexual revolution of the 60s. The new sexual awareness of that decade exposed adults and children alike to an endless parade of erotic possibilities. Another factor is the spiraling American divorce rate of the last two decades, which has brought so many children into intimate contact with their parents self-absorption, vulnerability and quite often, new sexual liaisons.
Perhaps the most interesting explanation here for the altered nature of childhood is the sweeping change that occurred during the 1970s in the economic and social status of women. As hordes of them left home for the workplace and shed their own protected position as child-wives, according to Winn. the effect of child rearing was cataclysmic. In practical terms, kids were left with far less supervision. But something much more basic happened as well. Newly emancipated women began to feel that it was no longer fair to demand submission and deference from their offspring — or to deny them full access to information about lifes confusing realities.
Such treatment was well intentioned. But, as Winn documents, "new-era child rearing" in which the child is enlisted as an equal partner in his own upbringing — has turned out to be a disaster. Children do not prosper when treated as adults. Instead, what they require to accomplish their important tasks of learning and exploration and play is the security of dependency, of their inherent inequality.
While the social forces that have transformed family life are probably irreversible, some measures. Winn suggests, can be taken to keep children from learning too much too soon. Couples who are bent primarily on self-fulfillment or high-powered careers would do well to think twice about producing offspring at all. Those who do become parents should be willing to take an authoritative position in the family and to sacrifice their own time for supervision of the kids.
Youngsters between the ages of 6 and 12, Winn emphasizes, require just as much time and attention as toddlers. She also urges parents to repress, gently, their childrens sexuality by withholding information and maintaining discipline - not out of prudery, but because young people whose innocence is prolonged will devote more energy to learning and play, skills that ultimately lead to creativity and achievement. And in the meantime, they can enjoy the blessing of a real childhood.