Read On

We are delighted that our keynote speaker, Professor John T. Bruer,  has written an exclusive briefing paper reflecting on the development of the ‘myth of the first three years’.

Keynote speaker, Dr Stuart Derbyshire, responds to recent ‘brain-based’ policy recommendations in a new piece, ‘The Pseudoscience of the Parent-Bashers’.


Conference organiser, Dr Ellie Lee, sets out her thoughts on the new ‘science’ of parenting policy:

A Policy Driven By Prejudice Masquerading As Research

Dr Ellie Lee, Reader in Social Policy at the University of Kent, and Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies (CPCS).

‘The present case for early intervention can perhaps be best characterised as an example of a ‘good lie’. Those who consider it has flaws, or even know it to be entirely untrue in fundamental ways, have become prepared to overlook the lies in the hope that schemes they consider to have some good aspects get funding support… is time for more questions to be asked about the prejudice of parent determinism’. Read the article here


Read a commentary on ‘Parenting the Brain’, by Nancy McDermott, writer, editor and “voice of reason” for Park Slope Parents, America’s more influential online parenting community. Nancy blogs at


Also read a commentary by Dr Helene Guldberg, author of Just Another Ape? and Reclaiming Childhood: freedom and play in an age of fear


Also listen to Unsure About Sure Start, a thought-provoking radio programme for BBC Radio 4’s Analysis.


Here are some other articles, books and commentaries relevant to the event that you might like to read.

A conversation with John Bruer

John Bruer: Recent presentations

Stuart Derbyshire, ‘The rise of parenting science’ (sound recording, scroll down)

Stuart Derbyshire, ‘What makes life sacred?’

Stuart Derbyshire, ‘We’re no slaves to our senses’

Frank Furedi, ‘Nick Clegg takes parental determinism to a new low’

Frank Furedi, ‘Parenting isn’t a bunch of skills that can be taught’

Janet Golden, ‘Out of the mouths of babes’

Janet Golden, ‘Sorting out ambivalence over alcohol and pregnancy’

Janet Golden (work discussed), ‘The sceptical OB on attachment parenting’

Stefan Ramaekers/Judith Suissa, ‘Being a parent: from practice to profession’

Stefan Ramaekers/Judith Suissa, ‘The Claims of Parenting; Reasons, Responsibility and Society’

Stefan Ramaekers/Judith Suissa, ‘The scientisation of the parent-child relationship’

‘Man is more than an overdeveloped monkey’: interview with Ray Tallis about his book Aping Mankind – Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity

Ray Tallis, ‘What Neuroscience cannot tell us about ourselves

Ray Tallis, ‘Neurotrash’




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