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'Changing Parenting Culture' at the University of Kent

'Changing Parenting Culture', a major new and timely research seminar series that will explore how 21st-century parenting has become a constant source of public anxiety, will launch at the University of Kent on 8-9 January.

The series, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will bring together researchers, parenting organisations and policymakers from Britain and abroad. Research presented will examine the 'new parenting culture' which informs contemporary child-rearing practices. The seminars will consider the way practices such as infant feeding, sleeping and discipline are influenced and modified by the demands of modern parenting culture, widen the agenda of policymakers, many of whom directly effect the experience of parents, and better inform public thinking on these issues.

The launch seminar will open with a round-table discussion on 'paranoid parenting' led by Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent and the author of Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May be Best for Your Child, a book that has continued to influence public discussion about 'parenting' since its first publication in 2001. The title of the launch seminar is From child-rearing to 'parenting': what's new about contemporary parenting culture?

Forthcoming seminars in the series are: Gender and parenting culture, University of Cambridge, 3 April 2009; Child-rearing in a risk society, Aston University,16-17 September 2009; Policy and Parenting, London (venue tbc), spring 2010.

Dr Ellie Lee, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, and one of the organisers of the seminar series, said: 'One aim of our series is to evaluate the new pressures and tensions surrounding motherhood. Mothering has always had its problems but today the widespread assumption that mothering is just too important and too difficult to be left to mothers is making life much harder than it needs to be. It seems that, in the age of the parenting expert, mother is considered to be the last person to know what is best.'


Story published at 12:11pm 6 January 2009

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