Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 3

Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 3

Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 3

Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 3

Synopsis

Completely revised and expanded from four to five volumes, this new edition of the Handbook of Parenting appears at a time that is momentous in the history of parenting. Parenting and the family are today in a greater state of flux, question, and redefinition than perhaps ever before. We are witnessing the emergence of striking permutations on the theme of parenting: blended families, lesbian and gay parents, and teen versus fifties first-time moms and dads. One cannot but be awed on the biological front by technology that now not only renders postmenopausal women capable of childbearing, but also presents us with the possibility of designing babies. Similarly on the sociological front, single parenthood is a modern day fact of life, adult child dependency is on the rise, and parents are ever less certain of their own roles, even in the face of rising environmental and institutional demands that they take increasing responsibility for their offspring. The Handbook of Parenting concerns itself with: different types of parents-mothers and fathers, single, adolescent, and adoptive parents; basic characteristics of parenting-behaviors, knowledge, beliefs, and expectations about parenting; forces that shape parenting-evolution, genetics, biology, employment, social class, culture, environment, and history; problems faced by parents-handicap, marital difficulties, drug addiction; and practical concerns of parenting-how to promote children's health, foster social adjustment and cognitive competence, and interact with school, legal, and public officials. Contributors to the Handbook of Parenting have worked in different ways toward understanding all these diverse aspects of parenting, and all look to the most recent research and thinking in the field to shed light on many topics every parent wonders about. Each chapter addresses a different but central topic in parenting; each is rooted in current thinking and theory, as well as classical and modern research in that topic; each has been written to be read and absorbed in a single sitting. In addition, each chapter follows a standard organization, including an introduction to the chapter as a whole, followed by historical considerations of the topic, a discussion of central issues and theory, a review of classical and modern research, forecasts of future directions of theory and research, and a set of conclusions. Of course, contributors' own convictions and research are considered, but contributions to this new edition present all major points of view and central lines of inquiry and interpret them broadly. The Handbook of Parenting is intended to be both comprehensive and state of the art. As the expanded scope of this second edition amply shows, parenting is naturally and closely allied with many other fields.

Excerpt

This new edition of the Handbook of Parenting appears at a time that is momentous in the history of parenting. The family generally, and parenting specifically, are today in a greater state of flux, question, and redefinition than perhaps ever before. We are witnessing the emergence of striking permutations on the theme of parenting: blended families, lesbian and gay parents, teen versus fifties first-time moms and dads. One cannot but be awed on the biological front by technology that now renders postmenopausal women capable of childbearing and with the possibility of designing babies. Similarly, on the sociological front, single parenthood is a modern-day fact of life, adult–child dependency is on the rise, and parents are ever less certain of their roles, even in the face of rising environmental and institutional demands that they take increasing responsibility for their offspring. The Handbook of Parenting is concerned with all facets of parenting.

Despite the fact that most people become parents and everyone who has ever lived has had parents, parenting remains a most mystifying subject. Who is ultimately responsible for parenting? Does parenting come naturally, or must we learn how to parent? How do parents conceive of parenting? Of childhood? What does it mean to parent a preterm baby, twins, or a child with a disability? To be a younger or an older parent, or one who is divorced, disabled, or drug abusing? What do theories in psychology (psychoanalysis, personality theory, and behavior genetics, for example) contribute to our understanding of parenting? What are the goals parents have for themselves? For their children? What are the functions of parents' beliefs? Of parents' behaviors? What accounts for parents' believing or behaving in similar ways? What accounts for all the attitudes and actions of parents that differ? How do children influence their parents? How do personality, knowledge, and world view affect parenting? How do social status, culture, and history shape parenthood? How can parents effectively relate to schools, daycare, their children's pediatricians?

These are some of the questions addressed in this second edition of the Handbook of Parenting … for this is a book on how to parent as much as it is one on what being a parent is all about.

Put succinctly, parents create people. It is the entrusted and abiding task of parents to prepare their offspring for the physical, psychosocial, and economic conditions in which they will eventually fare and, it is hoped, flourish. Amidst the many influences on child development, parents are the “final common pathway” to children's development and stature, adjustment and success. Human social inquiry—at least since Athenian interest in Spartan childrearing practices—has always, as a matter of course, included reports of parenting. Yet Freud opined that childrearing is one of three “impossible professions”—the other two being governing nations and psychoanalysis. And one encounters as many views as the number of people one asks about the relative merits of being an at-home or a working mother, about whether daycare, family care, or parent care is best for a child, about whether good parenting reflects intuition or experience.

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