Family Matters No. 45, 1996

Parents caring for children; children caring for parents


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Content type
Family Matters issue

August 1996


Changes at the heart of family households; children's rights in family law disputes; child protection policies.

In his director's report the author examines different principles involved in parent education. He discusses two opposing concepts: parenting without parenthood, by which he means the attempt to attribute child outcomes to the responsibility of parents, without regard to social and economic circumstances or to the value and status which society attaches to the parenting role; and parenthood without parenting, by which he refers to the analysis of child maltreatment, juvenile crime and similar problems in terms of the pressures which poverty, unemployment, poor housing, racial discrimination and ill health create for parents. The author states that a full understanding of the processes and outcomes of rearing children in contemporary society requires that consideration be given both to parenting and parenthood. It is an inclusive approach to understanding family and child development, where there is no one model for successfully rearing children but a wide variety of modes and models. He notes the need for research to inform understanding of the ways in which individual, social and economic factors combine to influence how children are being looked after in families and to provide the basis for an approach to identify the needs of parents who are not coping successfully with child rearing and need more support.


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