Handbook of Parenting: Applied and Practical Parenting - Vol. 4

Handbook of Parenting: Applied and Practical Parenting - Vol. 4

Handbook of Parenting: Applied and Practical Parenting - Vol. 4

Handbook of Parenting: Applied and Practical Parenting - Vol. 4

Excerpt

Does parenting come naturally, or must we learn how to parent? What does it mean to be the parent of a preterm baby, of twins, or of a child with a disability? To be an older parent, or one who is divorced, disabled, or abusing drugs? How do personality, knowledge, and world view affect parenting skills? What roles do history, social class, and culture play in shaping parenthood? How should parents relate to schools, daycare, pediatricians, and other everyday nonfamilial influences on their children? These are just a few of the many questions addressed in the Handbook of Parenting. This is not a book on how to parent, but rather one on what being a parent is all about.

Put succinctly, parents create people. It is the particular and continuing task of parents to prepare the next generation for the physical, economic, and psychosocial situations in which it is to survive and thrive. Whatever other influences on child development there may be, parents are the "final common pathway" to childhood oversight and caregiving, development and stature. Human social inquiry--at least since the Athenians expressed interest in Spartan childrearing practices--has almost always, as a matter of course, included reports of parenting.

Despite the fact that most people become parents and everyone who ever lived has had parents, parenting remains a mystifying subject about which almost everyone has opinions, but about which few people agree. Freud once listed bringing up children as one of the three "impossible professions" the other two being governing nations and psychoanalysis. One would probably encounter as many views as the number of people one cares to ask about the relative merits of being an at-home or working mother, about whether daycare, family care, or parent care is best for a child, about whether parenting depends on intuition or technique. Moreover, we are witnessing the emergence of striking permutations on the theme of parenting: single parenthood, blended families, lesbian and gay parents, teen versus 50s first-time moms and dads.

The Handbook of Parenting is concerned with different types of parents--mothers and fathers, single, adolescent, and adoptive parents--with basic characteristics of parenting--behaviors, knowledge, beliefs, and expectations about parenting--with forces that shape parenting--how employment, social class, culture, and environment contribute to parenthood--with problems faced by parents-- the special circumstances of handicap, unhappy marriage, or drug addiction--and with practical concerns of parenting--how to talk to pediatricians, promote children's health, foster social adjustment and cognitive competence, interact with schools, and mediate with children's peers. 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 has wondered about at one time or another.

The Handbook of Parenting is divided into four volumes, each with two parts:

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