Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children

by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl
Yale University Press, 2012

The prejudice against children is that we don’t see them as real human beings with claims on our caring and respect equal to those of adults. This prejudice then allows us to ignore or minimize the importance of childhood abuse and neglect. Child protective services have been wildly underfunded, and they often place children in family situations that are worse than the situations from which they are supposedly being protected. Neglect and abuse, Young-Bruehl argues, are often ignored or explained away because of the underlying childism in the culture. She details the way childhood abuse is hidden, memories are repressed, and children’s testimonies are frequently disbelieved, supporting her argument with many clinical cases to help readers overcome their own denial about how deep childism runs in the contemporary and supposedly more liberated world.


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