Who's Fit to Be a Parent?

By Mukti Jain Campion | Go to book overview

17

The Ideal Model and the Actual Model of fit parenting

IDEAL MODEL

Parental characteristics

Those with a blood bond to the children are the fittest to be their parents.

Parents should love their children and naturally do what is in the best interests of each child.

Parents should conform as closely as possible to society's perceived norm of the traditional married couple and avoid eccentric behaviour.

Middle-class parents are better than those of lower educational and socioeconomic status.

Parents need to be healthy and without physical or mental disability.

People from different religious or ethnic backgrounds can only be fit parents if they can adopt all the dominant cultural attributes of western society in which they live.

Parents should lead morally virtuous lives.

Parents should have control over their behaviour.

Parents should be capable of putting their children's needs and happiness before their own.

Once a fit parent always a fit parent.

Parents should conform to the professional expectations of their behaviour with regard to their children.


ACTUAL MODEL

Parental characteristics

A blood bond with the child is neither necessary for fit parenting nor does it automatically result in fit parenting.

Parents' own personal histories are significant to their parenting styles and behaviours.

The gender, age, race, employment, class, sexuality, physical condition or intelligence of the parents are not in themselves indicators of the quality of parenting the children will receive.

Financial security and self-reliance are important but not essential.

Lifelong health cannot be guaranteed for any parent or child. While it may be desirable, it need not be essential to successful parenting.

Parents can be fallible.

Parents may need help to become good enough parents.

Self-knowledge, self-esteem and the respect of society help promote good parenting but may fluctuate over time.

Parents need to feel empowered in their own decision making regarding their child-rearing-not undermined by the expertise of professionals.

-271-

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Who's Fit to Be a Parent?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Parents on Trial 5
  • 1 - The State Versus Parents 7
  • 2 - Other People's Children 38
  • 3 - Parents Apart 63
  • 4 - Playing God 96
  • 5 - Key Themes from Part I 117
  • Part II - Parents on the Edge 129
  • 6 - Disabled Parents 133
  • 7 - Mentally Handicapped Parents 151
  • 8 - Drug Addicted Mothers 168
  • 9 - Gay Parents 177
  • 10 - Teenage Mothers 189
  • 11 - Older Mothers 197
  • 12 - Single Mothers 205
  • 13 - Lone Fathers 217
  • 14 - Working Mothers 225
  • 15 - Black Parents 239
  • 16 - Key Themes from Part II 261
  • Part III - The Job Description 269
  • 17 - The Ideal Model and the Actual Model of Fit Parenting 271
  • 18 - Implications of the Actual Model of Fit Parenting to Assessment 281
  • 19 - Looking Forward 300
  • Bibliography 303
  • Index 309
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