Parents, apparently, are a bunch of amateurs. No wonder all the youth of today are binge-drinking, obese, antisocial yobs. What is needed, we are told, are parents who understand that they are responsible for significant outcomes, and therefore need targets set, constant monitoring, and learning and development support where necessary. How did parenting become the big idea in the 21st century? How does contemporary theorising compare with the wealth of thought about childhood and the family since Rousseau’s Emile two and a half centuries ago?
Contemporary wisdom has it that parents determine every aspect of their children’s lives, health and behaviour, from whether they play truant from school to whether they develop diabetes in old age. No wonder parents are increasingly anxious. But is the focus on parents fair, or even sensible? How have so many social concerns come to be understood through the prism of parenting? With reflections on the parenting debate from both sides of the Atlantic, this session introduces the key themes of the parenting strand.
columnist, Guardian; author, What Not to Expect When You're Expecting
writer and historian with special interest in family and domestic matters; author Dream Babies: Babycare Advice from John Locke to Gina Ford
|Dr Ellie Lee
reader in social policy, University of Kent, Canterbury; director, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies
writer; advisor to Park Slope Parents, NYC's most notorious parents' organization
convenor, IoI Parents Forum; contributor, Standing up to Supernanny; director of finance and central services, Cardinal Hume Centre
Years ago I used to know a couple whose party trick was to get their infant child to come downstairs when they had guests for supper. Everyone had to shush as the child was asked how planes stayed up in the sky. “Aerodynamics,” he would lisp, aged two.India Knight, The Sunday Times, 5 October 2008
Going to university is no longer the rite of passage it once was. Nor, for that matter is graduation. Even a young person's first job no longer guarantees freedom from mum and dad.Kate Hilpern, The Guardian, 10 September 2008
Babies are for nurturing, not breaking in, insists Naked Ape author in a new guide to parenting.Amelia Hill, The Observer, 7 September 2008
With its full-court-press attention on children, the Kindergarchy is a radical departure from the ways parents and children viewed one another in earlier days.Joseph Epstein, The Weekly Standard, 9 June 2008