Modern Childhood > Books > Toxic Childhood

Sue Palmer - Toxic Childhood

Toxic Childhood: how modern life is damaging our children...
and what we can do about it
(Orion, £7.99)

Is 21st century life damaging our children? In the last couple of decades, huge changes in adult lifestyles have affected the way we look after children, both at home and in school. Toxic Childhood explains how a toxic mix of side-effects of cultural change is affecting the development of a growing number of children. It also explains how a few simple adjustments to life-style can ‘detoxify’ children’s lives.

Buy Toxic Childhood here

Reviews of Toxic Childhood

Excellent book... practical, sensible and eminently attainable advice on on how to detoxify childhood.

Deborah Orr, The Independent

A super child-rearing manual, founded in science, bolstered by much reading, a lot of interviews and a long career in education.

Times Educational Supplement

Sue Palmer’s Toxic Childhood is extensively researched, fluently written and easily read. It is a guidebook for parents, grandparents and all who care about present and future generations, as well as being an academic work in its own right.


Essential reading for all those who work with children. It has fascinating and sometimes startling revelations about the damaging influences on the young within our society and offers some practical and very readable ideas and recommendations for all those who endeavour to give children the very best we can.

Gervase Phinn, author

A splendid book that draws together a vast swathe of the most authoritative research from a whole range of fields and disciplines... that together explain ‘the worsening behaviour of children and the explosion in numbers of special needs pupils’.

The Mother magazine

If you are even a tad concerned about the influences at work on our children, this book is a Must Read!... No one can afford to miss this excellently written book.’

National Primary Headteachers Association magazine

I could not put it down. It seemed to pull together all my worries about young children growing up in a fast changing world, and yet...the book is in fact very positive. The research it has drawn upon makes it a very powerful read. And, of course, it is written by a good writer in a very accessible way.

Early Childhood Practice

A fascinating account of the problems facing kids today...contains solid parenting advice on subjects ranging from diet to childcare.

Sainsbury’s magazine

All too often we are told what is wrong with society/parenting/environment and more, but seldom told how we can so something to redress the balance.... This is what the author set out to do, and she has succeeded. Read Toxic Childhood.

Cannot recommend highly enough... a pretty earth-shattering read. It really makes you think about how childhood has changed.

Live Journal

Palmer's Toxic Childhood took the lid off national angst over modern influences on children. The title has become shorthand for everything that's wrong with children's lives from excessive testing at school to violent computer games, sex, drugs and alcohol.

Evening Standard, listing Sue Palmer amongst the 20 most influential people in British education

A terrific book... and so timely.

Anne Fine, author and former Children’s Laureate

One of the most powerful books of the year

David Willetts, Shadow Secretary of State for Education

Just what we all need to be reading. The levels of anxiety about our children are reaching new highs and we desperately need this kind of careful analysis.

Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

This is a compelling book, well-researched and authoritative, with powerful messages in each of the chapters, and practical suggestions that are both helpful and realistic.

Marion Dowling, President of The British Association of Early Childhood Education

Almost every page in this book raises something compelling about the way we are treating children. It is a worrying book, but not unhopeful or unhelpful, and everyone concerned with children can rest assured that Sue Palmer is on their side.

Carousel magazine

Both refreshing and honest... objectively considers an array of disciplines surrounding childhood and their underlying side effects. Then it integrates them and develops a clear and common goal for parents and others alike to jointly tackle the toxic environment that children are being exposed to... Blame is not an issue of this book; it is about change and investing in the pivotal emotional needs of the young.

What About The Children?

A great book.

MyChild magazine

Every parent should read this book, as it does contain a wealth of information you should know.

Evening Herald

Absolutely essential reading for anyone who has, or who works with, children. It’s like Eric Schlosser (author of the exposé Fast Food Nation) for parenting.

One of the most talked about books on the market... teems with perceptive observations and sound advice.

Family Bulletin

One of the most inspirational books I have ever read... a must-read for all parents.

The Coffee House,

A brilliant book, Toxic Childhood, demonstrating how deprived children bear the brunt of rapid social change, and the knock-on effect this has on Britain’s streets, schools and crime rate.

The Week

This is one of those books that touches a nerve... The undeniable truth is that Sue Palmer is right and we must all act before it is too late... Read the book.

The Children Webmag

Whether or not you are a teacher, youth worker, parent or anyone else who comes into contact with kids, this book is both an uplifting battlecry and an essential tool in our understanding of the children of today and tomorrow.

Food and Behaviour Research website