... no one with a happy childhood ever amounts to much in this world. They are so well adjusted, they never are driven to achieve anything.
(Sue Grafton (b. 1940), U.S. murder mystery novelist. As quoted in the New York Times, p. C10 (August 4, 1994).
Grafton, author of a popular series of detective novels, was the daughter of two alcoholics and described their parenting as "benign neglect.")
Psychiatric enlightenment has begun to debunk the superstition that to manage a machine you must become a machine, and that to raise masters of the machine you must mechanize the impulses of childhood.
(Erik H. Erikson (1904-1994), U.S. psychoanalyst. Childhood and Society, ch. 8 (1950).)
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it.
(J.D. (Jerome David) Salinger (b. 1919), U.S. author. Catcher in the Rye, ch. 1 (1951).
[Children] do not yet lie to themselves and therefore have not entered upon that important tacit agreement which marks admission into the adult world, to wit, that I will respect your lies if you will agree to let mine alone. That unwritten contract is one of the clear dividing lines between the world of childhood and the world of adulthood.
(Leontine Young (20th century), U.S. social worker and author. Life Among the Giants, ch. 2 (1965).)
We attempt to remember our collective American childhood, the way it was, but what we often remember is a combination of real past, pieces reshaped by bitterness and love, and, of course, the video pastthe portrayals of family life on such television programs as "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" and all the rest.
(Richard Louv (20th century), U.S. journalist, author. Childhood's Future, part 1, ch. 3 (1991).)
We Russians have assigned ourselves no other task in life but the cultivation of our own personalities, and when we're barely past childhood, we set to work to cultivate them, those unfortunate personalities.
(Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818-1883), Russian author. Aleksei Petrovich, "A Correspondence," letter, May 2, 1840 (1856).)
The limitless future of childhood shrinks to realistic proportions, to one of limited chances and goals; but, by the same token, the mastery of time and space and the conquest of helplessness afford a hitherto unknown promise of self- realization. This is the human condition of adolescence.
(Peter Blos (20th century), U.S. psychoanalyst. On Adolescence, introduction (1962).)