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Liberation’s Children: Parents and Kids in a Postmodern Era

Thursday June 2003


Kay S. Hymowitz Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute Contributing Editor, City Journal

What is life like for children coming of age in an era after feminism, after the sexual revolution? In Liberation’s Children, Kay S. Hymowitz explores the predicament of a generation growing up in a world where adults lavish them with Tommy Hilfigers, Gameboys, and Disneyland vacations but don’t know how to provide them with the ordinary truths that give life meaning.

Her book traces the life script of middle-class Americans, from infancy to the school years to college and into their twenties and tries to understand how postmodern American culture addresses the child’s search for meaning. These kids are liberated from want, and confining traditions, she writes, but they have also been freed from moral and spiritual guidance that had always come from parents, teachers, and the culture at large. “…liberation’s children live in a culture that frees the mind and soul by emptying them.”

Her book takes us beyond familiar oversimplifications about developmental stages, self-esteem, and even The Media, and presents a unique description of contemporary American culture—how adults teach it, how children receive it, and how it stamps today’s American kids with their unique character.