10 year anniversary events

We won’t be holding any events on campus in Autumn 2020, but all are welcome to join us for the following, on Zoom.

Book Launch: The Problem with Parenting: How Raising Children is Changing Across America by Nancy McDermott, joint event with the Academy of Ideas  

Thursday 22 October, 7pm 

Nancy has been an Associate of CPCS since the beginning of the Centre 10 years ago, when she was the Convenor of the New York forum for parents, Park Slope Parents. She is now author of a new book published August 2020, The Problem with Parenting: How Raising Children is Changing Across America [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Problem-Parenting-Americas-Misguided-Obsession/dp/1440853185]. In this event she will be in discussion with CPCS’s Dr Jan Macvarish. They will talk through some key ideas from the book (see outline below) with plenty of time for comments and discussion. In late October, we are normally delighted to be convening discussions at the annual Battle of Ideas Festival (you can watch them from past years here [https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/parentingculturestudies/cpcs-live/cpcs-on-youtube/cpcs-at-the-battle-of-ideas/]. While it’s a big loss not to be doing so again this year, we are very pleased to be able to partner with the organisers of the Battle of Ideas at the Academy of Ideas for this online event.

More information and to register for the event see here 

Book Summary 

The Problem with Parenting: How Raising Children is Changing Across America serves as an essential guide to the recent origins and current excesses of American parenting for students, parents, and policy makers interested in the changing role of the family in childrearing. Family scholarship focuses predominately on the evolution of family structure and function, with only passing references to parenting. Researchers who study parenting, however, invariably regard it as a sociological phenomenon with complex motivations rooted in factors such as class, economic instability, and new technologies. This book examines the relationship between changes to the family and the emergence of parenting, defined here as a specific mode of childrearing. It shows how, beginning in the 1970s, the family was transformed from a social unit that functioned as the primary institution for raising children into a vehicle for the nurturing and fulfilment of the self. The book pays special attention to socialization and describes how the change in our understanding of parenthood, from a state of being into the distinct activity of “parenting,” is indicative of a disruption of our ability to transfer key cultural values and norms from one generation to the next. This book:

  • Suggests that families are no longer able to reliably socialize children;
  • Proposes that the reason the family has ceased to function as a socializing institution has less to do with changes in structure than the replacement of a child-centered ideal with a therapeutic imperative;
  • Suggests that parenting is new mode of childrearing that arose in the absence of a reliable institution for childrearing;
  • Argues that parenting culture itself is a response to the experience of the breakdown in socialization that occurred that began in the 1970s;
  • Makes the case for a renewal of a societal commitment to children and the rising generation.