Tough love and character education. Reflections on some contemporary notions of good parenting
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In her paper the author points to the impoverishment of the popular and policy discourse on good parenting and highlights a glaring absence of the moral dimension and moral language in the debate. This fact unveils a somewhat flattened understanding of the process of child-rearing - devoid of moral reflection, moral choices, and moral concepts, thus giving the impression that modern parenting is solely a matter of skilful application of universal, neutral, scientifically verified procedures and tools. Such discourse promotes, so called, effective parenting conceptualized as a set of skills or ‘the science of parenting’ rather than the process that should assign moral meaning to the things parents and educators do with children. The paper reveals weaknesses of such conceptualization by unveiling some of its underlying assumptions that are questionable and yet determine the discussion on and approach to child-rearing and parenting in Britain today.
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