Anti-social socialization of the middle class?

McDermott, N. A. (2020). The Problem with Parenting: How Raising Children is Changing Across America. Praeger


  • Nóra Kovács Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

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Intensive parenting as a childrearing strategy and practice has gained territory in families of the Western world in recent decades and its ideologies have infiltrated popular culture and social policies. It has received an unprecedented amount of journalistic as well as academic attention. Nevertheless, little do we know about how these social practices and underlying ideologies are shaping the generations of children who are experiencing them (see, e.g., Schiffrin et al., 2014; Yerkes, et al., 2021). We know even less about how, in consequence, intensive parenting may influence the societies these children shall later inhabit as adults. Nancy McDermott’s The Problem with Parenting teases apart these recent childrearing practices that form a characteristic pattern she refers to as ‘Parenting’, with a capital P. The author traces how they have emerged in response to subsequent turning points in the development of the American (middle-class) family and how they have become woven into the fabric of late twentieth and early twenty-first century American (and Western middle-, and upper-middle class) society.