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Children and parents have become a focus of debates on ‘new social risks’ in European welfare states. Policymaking elites have converged in defining such risks, and they have outlined new forms of parenting support to better safeguard children and activate their potential. Increasingly, parents are suspected of falling short of public expectations. Contributors to this special issue scrutinize this shift towards parenting as performance and report recent forms of parenting support.
Children and their parents have become a focal point of debates on ‘new social risks’ and the strong need for ‘new public policies’ in many European welfare states. Policy-related elites, along with UNICEF, the OECD, and the EU, have converged in defining such risks. They outlined parenting support measures, rules, and procedures to better safeguard children and to activate their potential, promote their well-being, and ensure equal opportunities. Parents are expected to offer their children ‘grade A’ parenting. However, they are increasingly suspected of failing to meet public expectations. Hence, agencies advocating children’s best interest are intervening in parenting practices at an increasingly earlier age on the grounds of potential risks. The boundaries between what has been seen as ‘family’ or ‘private’ versus ‘public affairs’ are being redrawn by discourses as well as by ‘evidence-based’ measures to intervene and tackle child-related risks.
Contributors to this special issue from Belgium England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden are scrutinizing this ‘turn to parenting’. They analyse which parenting practices are now ‘in the spotlight’ and report on recent forms of support for parents. Whereas debates on ‘new risks’ and the need for ‘child-centred social investments’ have converged, parenting support measures still vary across countries both quantitatively and qualitatively. Such variations result from path-dependent institutional settings, public sentiments, and policy ‘cultures’. This issue offers an excellent opportunity to study parenting support policies in countries representing different ‘worlds’ of family policy. It highlights different ideas on the child’s proper status in society and on good parenting along with variations in the influence of experts on parenting and practitioners’ attitudes towards it – especially the parenting practiced by mothers from different backgrounds.
Special Price for Subscribers of Zeitschrift für Familienforschung/ Journal of Family Research: 39,90 Euro.
Prof. Dr. Tanja Betz,
Member of the LOEWE Research Centre Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA), Professor of Pedagogy with a focus on Childhood Research, Early Childhood and Primary Education, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Prof. em. Dr. Michael-Sebastian Honig,
Professor of Social Work, Research Group Early Childhood: Education and Care, University of Luxembourg
Prof. em. Dr. Ilona Ostner,
Professor of Political Sociology and Social Policy, University of Göttingen
Download for free: publicity leaflet (pdf)
Target groups: experts and practitioners in the area of Child and Youth Welfare as well as Comparing Family Policy and Welfare State Research
Keywords: parenting support, parenting practices, parental competence
Subject area: Pedagogy, Political Science, Social Sciences
Verlag Barbara Budrich