We are told the welfare of children is paramount, and ‘every child matters’. The government is investing heavily to ensure parents have access to the right health information to help them make informed choices, from preconception to adulthood. High profile health campaigns focus on smoking, safety, diet, sleep, mental health, child abuse and more. Children have also become direct targets for health promotion, and are encouraged to drum home the message to their parents.
Why have children and parents become the focus of such unprecedented attention, and does it actually work? Some argue these campaigns empower parents by equipping them with information and guidance; others feel they encourage dependence on professionals undermining parents’ confidence in making their own decisions. Does health promotion demonise parents who don’t make the ‘right’ lifestyle choices? Do some parents go along with these campaigns because they fear singling out their children for unwelcome attention if they don’t? Are parents and critics who resist such health interventions being cavalier about children’s health and wellbeing? How should health practitioners and other professionals relate to parents?
writer, researcher and traveller; retired nurse and fundraiser
|- Patricia Hamilton
president, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH); consultant and senior lecturer in neonatology, St George’s Hospital.
|Dr Ellie Lee
reader in social policy, University of Kent, Canterbury; director, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies
Not every child is lucky enough to live in an environment that promotes good health. Not every family has a leafy back garden for their kids to play in. Not every family can afford to buy fresh organic produce from the local farmer’s market, or to put food on the table that their children will refuse to eat.Alan Johnson, Fabian Society, 23 July 2008
Youth clubs, extended schools and community groups are to improve young people's health by offering advice and support.Sarah Cooper, Children & Young People Now, 25 June 2008
The book will aid readers' understanding of how sociological approaches are crucial to understanding the impact that health and illness have on the behaviour, attitudes, beliefs, and practices, of an increasingly health-aware population.
David Wainwright, Sage, 30 January 2008
It seems that every day there is a warning about your children: everything from cots, babysitters, schools, supermarkets and public parks pose a danger. We are told that children's health, safety and welfare and constantly at risk.
Frank Furedi, Continuum, December 2002
Edited transcript of a live online chat with sociologist Frank Furedi, author of Paranoid Parentingmumsnet
spiked articles on the issue of parents and kidsspiked