Understanding parenting culture today

The authors of Parenting Culture Studies outline the themes of this important new book.

In this fourth video from a series exploring the themes of a new book, Parenting Culture Studies, Jennie Bristow examines the ‘double bind’ of parenting culture.

In recent years, there appears to have been a reaction against the excesses of risk-averse, intensive parenting culture. The reaction focuses on ‘cotton wool kids’ (where young children are prevented from taking the risks necessary to grow up) and ‘helicopter parents’ (where parents hover over their teenage children instead of allowing them to achieve on their own). Bristow argues that such critiques have come to fuel the trend towards parent-blaming, most clearly highlighted in the notion that today’s younger generation have a ‘toxic childhood’. This leads to the ‘double bind’ of parenting culture, where parents are criticised both for absorbing the imperatives of intensive parenting and rejecting them.


Parenting Culture Studies, by Ellie Lee, Jennie Bristow, Charlotte Faircloth and Jan Macvarish, is published by Palgrave. (Order this book from Amazon(UK).)

Other videos in the series:

Ellie Lee introduces the themes from the book

Charlotte Faircloth on intensive parenting

Ellie Lee: experts and parenting culture

Jan Macvarish on the politics of parenting


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