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Is childhood in crisis? What do an increase in serious crime amongst the young, family break-up and consumer pressure mean for our idea of childhood? Can the computer satisfy the imagination of our young? How do we develop our children's sense of right and wrong in an ever changing moral climate? Can we any longer afford to let them play their way into the adult world?

Free Thinking brings together a panel of writers, historians, youth professionals and younger voices to discuss challenging perspectives on modern childhood.


Add your own ABC of Childhood

The Free Thinking audience sent in words or short phrases to build up a lexicon to define modern childhood. Thank you to everyone who contributed. We're no longer accepting new suggestions.

To discuss "Whatever happened to childhood?" please visit the Arts & Ideas topic on the Radio 3 message board.

  1. A

    A is for...

    • Adventure in every form
    • Asking questions
    • All the different ways to skin a cat
    • Agility
    • Adventures, mindfulness uncensored
    Add your own ABC
  2. B

    B is for...

    • Bringing strays home
    • Belonging, lovingly unfettered
    Add your own ABC
  3. C

    C is for...

    • Critical faculty nurtured; Curious.
    • More cake... please
    • Creativity, imagine running wild
    Add your own ABC
  4. D

    D is for...

    • Dirty rascal
    • Daring
    • Daring to be an independent child
    Add your own ABC
  5. E

    E is for...

    • Energetic; Possessing emotional intelligence
    • Embracing change
    Add your own ABC
  6. F

    F is for...

    • Feelings acknowledged.
    • Free play and Free thought
    • Fairy tales
    • Fun of Freedom, simply being me
    Add your own ABC
  7. G

    G is for...

    • Getting into trouble ... and out again
    • Giggling
    • Going places, down the Garden, to the park
    Add your own ABC
  8. H

    H is for...

    • Having a go
    • Helping adults make sense of it all
    • Having your own way
    • Horror movies, scared witless in the dark
    Add your own ABC
  9. I

    I is for...

    • Innocent of cynicism
    • Intrinsically motivated
    • "In a minute"
    • Intuition
    • Indignation, who do you think I am?!
    Add your own ABC
  10. J

    J is for...

    • "Just for once in your life!"
    • Just eating pancakes swamped in raspberry Jam
    Add your own ABC
  11. K

    K is for...

    • King of your castle
    • Kids united, all for one and one for all
    Add your own ABC
  12. L

    L is for...

    • Love, plain and simple
    • Love of Learning, not necessarily at school
    Add your own ABC
  13. M

    M is for...

    • Milk and MySpace
    • Managing risk
    • Being in the Moment
    • my Mum, don't say a word against her
    Add your own ABC
  14. N

    N is for...

    • Negotiating boundaries
    Add your own ABC
  15. O

    O is for...

    • Ooops! not again!
    • Optimism - things will be OK
    Add your own ABC
  16. P

    P is for...

    • Polite
    • Play
    • A child's perspective
    • A room which looks like a pig sty
    • the Possibilities of another day
    Add your own ABC
  17. Q

    Q is for...

    • A quest into the unknown
    • Queries, Questions, the why, who, how of youth
    Add your own ABC
  18. R

    R is for...

    • Respectful of others.
    • Risk taking.
    • Reaching out for what Really is the truth
    Add your own ABC
  19. S

    S is for...

    • Supported and encouraged
    • Sleep
    • Starring in the game that you and I made up
    Add your own ABC
  20. T

    T is for...

    • Time and Space
    • Tears and Tantrums when our Team's the runner up
    Add your own ABC
  21. U

    U is for...

    • Undecided about goals, maybe.
    • Unanswered questions
    • the Unexpected and wondering what to do
    Add your own ABC
  22. V

    V is for...

    • Valuing your own voice
    • the Virtual world all of us escape to
    Add your own ABC
  23. W

    W is for...

    • Seeing the wood despite the trees
    • Wondering what the future holds
    Add your own ABC
  24. X

    X is for...

    • Xray play; holding a torch under your hand to see the bones. Xray glasses!
    • Xylophones and discovering lovely sounds...
    Add your own ABC
  25. Y

    Y is for...

    • remembering what it feels like to be Young
    Add your own ABC
  26. Z

    Z is for...

    • a Zillion ways to stay well, be safe, have fun
    Add your own ABC

Your thoughts

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A festival of ideas in Liverpool 9-11Nov 07, on radio and online.



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