Children These Days by Nicola Madge

Book Review by Sue Kennedy

The book content is based on a survey carried out on 2,000 pupils at school and interviews with 500 adults and also draws upon available literature as well as current policy and practice perspectives. The setting is contemporary England the home of the children and adults who participated.

The themes covered are:

  • The meaning of childhood today.
  • Growing up and becoming responsible.
  • Peer influences and parental controls.
  • The protection of children.
  • Communication between children and adults.
  • ‘Child-societies’ comparisons between England and Europe.

The research outcomes and findings are produced in a variety of formats which will appeal to those who like graphs and pie charts while also meeting the needs of those who enjoy narratives. As one who enjoys the written word rather than a chart, the contribution made by the children and young people was a salutary reminder of the need to listen to what they have to say. As one 10-year-old girl said, “Children could listen to what adults say, as they are often right, even though we don’t always want to believe it” (p. 86), which made me smile at the subtle use of the word could!

This book grew on me. I have dipped in and out of this over the last few weeks and would recommend this as a suggested reading for social work students undertaking Social Policy modules.

Madge, N. (2006) Children These Days, Bristol, The Policy Press.
ISBN-10 1 86134 783 9

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