parents with attitude


Parents’ Forum conference, Easter 2013

The broad theme of this year’s conference is ‘intergenerational justice’ - what is it, and what’s wrong with it? The draft programme is below.

Saturday 6 April

09.30-11: Intergenerational justice - what does this concept mean? Sally

Clash of generations. Speech by David Willetts to the Policy Exchange, 28 November 2005.

The teenage futility of bashing baby boomers. By Tim Black. spiked, 21 March 2013

The younger generation has been infantilised by the baby boomers. Frank Furedi speaks against the motion ‘The Baby Boomers have stolen the family silver’ at the Intelligence Squared debate at the Royal Geographical Society on 27 October 2011.

Also look at The Intergenerational Foundation website.

11.15-12.30: The clash of generations and the cultural contradictions of capitalism. Jennie

From freewheelin’ Sixties to fearmongerin’ Noughties. spiked, 27 December 2012

‘The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism.’ By Daniel Bell. Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 6, No. 1/2, Special Double Issue: Capitalism, Culture, and Education (Jan. - Apr., 1972), pp. 11-38. Access pdf here.

The Closing of the American Mind. By Allan Bloom. (Dip into this one.) Acess pdf here.

12.30-1.30: Lunch

1.30-3.30: Burke, Locke and the intergenerational contract. Toby and Dave

John Locke: The Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690). In particular these chapters:

2 - Of the State of Nature
6 - Of Paternal Power
8 - Of the Beginning of Political Societies
19 - Of the Dissolution of Government

Reflections on the Revolution in France, by Edmund Burke. Harvard Classics, Vol. 24, Part 3. Especially paras 150-174.

Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society: Locke, John (1632–1704).

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: John Locke.

3.45-4.30: Modern Citizenship and the Playground Movement in the United States. Cheryl

American reformers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century looked for methods to create a new form of citizenship in the modern urban-industrial era. Already formulating other types of positive environmentalism, they hit upon the playground movement as a way of moulding urban children into model citizens through the provision of playground facilities and organised activities within playgrounds. A predecessor to the politics of nudge, playground reform helped to usher in a new, more passive understanding of democracy.

Linnea Anderson, ’“The playground of today is the republic of tomorrow”: social reform and organized recreation in the USA, 1890-1930s.’

5.00: Children’s party and meal in the bar

Sunday 7 April

10-11: The regulation of pregnancy. Jane
11-12: Biologising parenting? The uses and abuses of biology in family policy. Jan

Configuring Maternal, Preborn and Infant Embodiment: Sydney Health & Society Group Working Paper No. 2. By Deborah Lupton

1-2: The university, social justice, and the public good. Joanna
2-3: Liberal education and freedom. Alka

Consuming Higher Education, by Joanna Williams. Buy the book here

Philosophy as Educational Enquiry and Critique: The London School : (Oakeshott), Peters, Hirst, Dearden

Wasted, by Frank Furedi: chapter 2



Parents’ Forum conference, Easter 2012

The theme of this year’s conference is the changing relationship between the private and the public. The programme is below.

Saturday 7 April


The politicisation of the problem of generations (Jennie)

The public and the private (Ellie)


Hannah Arendt: ‘The Public and the Private Realm’. Available here.

11.30am-1pm Lunch

1-3.15pm: Session A

Why education shouldn’t be political (Toby)

Why education is a social and generational responsibility (Alka)


Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating, by Frank Furedi. Continuum 2009.

1-3.15pm: Session B

The new interpretation of the ‘welfare of the child’ (Jan)

The problem with adoption policy (Jane)


‘Conception and the Irrelevance of the Welfare Principle.’ By Emily Jackson. Modern Law Review, March 2002

THE NAREY REPORT: A blueprint for the nation’s lost children. The Times, 5 July 2011

5pm Children’s Easter party.

Sunday 8 April


The Lost Generation? Young people, social mobility and the transition to adulthood (Sally)

Consuming higher education – the new construction of the student experience (Joanna)


Apprenticeship week: Let’s stop failing thousands of youngsters. By Peter Jones. Independent, 6 February 2012
Building Engagement, Building Futures. Department of Work and Pensions
The Government Releases the Lost Generation Prevention Scheme. Martin Dunne, Neet 2, 7 December 2011
New minister for Neets ‘vital to rescue lost generation’. The Scotsman, 25 November 2011
Nick Clegg: £1bn youth jobs fund to prevent lost generation. Guardian, 25 November 2011
In search of the lost generation. Prospect, 23 September 2009
Cuts must not destroy the huge potential of our young unemployed. Jocey Quinn. Guardian, 15 November 2011
The riots at the end of history. David Goodhart, Prospect. 9 August 2011
David Lammy’s lesson. Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford. New Statesman, 10 December 2011
These rioters are Tony Blair’s children. By Harriet Sergeant, 13 August 2011

11.30am-1pm Lunch

1pm-2.15pm: Session A

The Enlightenment coffee-house and the emergence of the public sphere (Beverley)


‘Institutions of the public sphere’. By Jurgen Habermas. From Habermas, J. (1989) The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Polity Press, Cambridge. 

1pm-2.15pm: Session B

Why parenting can’t be political (Helen)


Giving up too much ground to Supernanny, by Helen Reece. spiked, February 2012.


Parents’ Forum conference, Easter 2011

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Parenting under the Coalition Government: What’s changed?’ The programme is below.

Tuesday 19 April

9am-12 (Chair: Jane)

Big Society: The good, the bad, and the ugly (Beverley)

Inter-generational conflict and the problem of the ‘Baby Boomer’ (Jennie)

The Vetting and Barring Scheme review (Helen)


Big Society: Platoons under siege. The Economist, 10 February 2011

‘Big Society’: catchphrase for an age of small politics. By Mick Hume, spiked, 16 February 2011

‘Baby boomer’. The Phrase Finder (for a definition)

The Pinch, by David Willetts. Atlantic Books, 2010

Vetting & Barring Scheme Remodelling Review – Report and Recommendations. February 2011.

12-1pm Lunch

1-4pm (Chair: Alison)

Smacking and the children’s rights agenda (Josephine)

‘Tiger Moms’ and pushy parenting (Jane)

Obesity and the politics of food (Rob)


Should we smack our children? 4-thought TV: series of mini-films

Who’s afraid of the ‘tiger mother’? By Nancy McDermott. spiked, 28 January 2011

In China, Not All Practice Tough Love. WSJ, 8 January 2011

Amy Chua Is a Wimp, by David Brooks. New York Times, 17 January 2011

Do (strict) Chinese mums know best? Journalist Toby Young and psychologist Oliver James have their say. The Observer, Sunday 16 January 2011

4pm: Close of day

Wednesday 20 April

9.30am-12 (Chair: Ellie)

Social mobility and the ‘parenting deficit’ (Sally)

The rise and rise of ‘parenting science’ (Jan)


Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility.HM Government, April 2011

Social mobility: Nick Clegg declares war on nepotism. BBC News Online, 5 April 2011

Early Intervention: The Next Steps. Graham Allen MP, January 2011

The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults. Frank Field, December 2010

Myth of the First Three Years: A New Understanding of Early Brain Development and Lifelong Learning, by John T. Bruer.

Social mobility: Labour tries to revive flagging crusade to help poor children. The Times January 14, 2009

Now Lib-Con social mobility replaces socialist equality. The Evening Standard, 16 August 2010

More mobile than we think. Prospect, 20 December 2008

Nick Clegg promises to overhaul social mobility. BBC, 18 August 2010

12-1pm Lunch

1-3.15pm (Chair: Sally)

Job done? Is a critique of education policy still needed? (Toby)

Further thoughts on parent / teacher relations (Alka)

Closing remarks (Jane)


A Defense of Subject-Based Education, IoI Education Forum

Education forum podcast: Why isn’t education educating?

3.15pm: Close of conference, followed by children’s tea party


Standing up to Supernanny: parents in the spotlight

A discussion presented by the Institute of Ideas in association with ESRC festival of social science at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival 2010.

2pm, Sunday 21 March

Blue Boar Lecture Theatre, Christ Church, University of Oxford

Buy tickets here, or phone Festival Box Office on 0870 343 1001.

In the build up to the election, all the mainstream parties are keen to make their policies on the family distinct.  However, what they all agree on is that parenthood requires a massive adjustment to our lives, emotions, and relationships, and we have to be taught how to deal with that by experts. But can it really be so difficult that parents need constant counselling, parenting classes and policies backed by swathes of academic research, to rear their own children? Are today’s parents really so hopeless they need supernannies’ assistance to cope?  Might the current focus on hapless parents increase their insecurity and diminish parental authority over their own children?


Jennie Bristow: author, Standing up to Supernanny; editor, Parents With Attitude

Dr Val Gillies: Reader, Families & Social Capital Research Group, London South Bank University; author of Marginalised Mothers: Exploring Working Class Experiences of Parenting

Christina Hardyment: author, Dream Babies: Babycare Advice from John Locke to Gina Ford

Jennifer Howze: Online Lifestyle Editor, The Times; lead blogger, Alpha Mummy (Times Online‘s parenting blog)


Parents’ Forum conference, Easter 2010

The programme is below.

Saturday 10 April

7pm: Welcome, in the bar area (Beverley)

Sunday 11 April: Intimacy, privacy and the family

10 - 11.15am: What’s changed about the family? Jennie (Chair: Jane)

Why we need a parents’ liberation movement, by Jennie Bristow. spiked, 27 June 2008

11.15am - 12: The couple relationship and parenting practices Charlotte (Chair: Jane)

‘Reviewing Intimacy’, by Jacqui Gabb. Working Paper for the ‘Researching Families’ project. (2006) [.pdf]

12 - 1.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm - 2.30pm: Young mothers and the expansion of the teenage pregnancy ‘problem’ Jan (Chair: Ellie)

Monday 12 April: Education and the crisis of adult authority

9.45am-11am: The crisis of teachers’ authority Toby and Michele (Chair: Claire)

Knowledge must come first, then teaching, by Michele Ledda. Daily Telegraph, 19 January 2010

TLRP’s evidence-informed pedagogic principles. Teaching and Learning Research Programme

11am-12: Trust and the parent-teacher relationship Alka (Chair: Sally)

Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating, by Frank Furedi. Continuum 2009.

12-1.30pm: Lunch

1.30-2.15pm: Social exclusion and play policy Joanna and Jim (Chair: Beverley)

The political construction of social inclusion, by Joanna Williams [.doc]

2.15pm - 3pm: Parental authority and discipline Helen (Chair: Beverley)

Is it legitimate for society to sanction a particular parenting model? What accounts for the increasing hegemony of the positive parenting model? What assumptions underlie the current social approach to smacking? To what extent are the findings of social science research into the effects of parenting style on child development meaningful?

Chapter 8 in Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May be Best for Your Child, by Frank Furedi. A Cappella Books, 2002

Beyond ‘anti-smacking’, by Phillips and Alderson IJCR 2003 [.pdf]

Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior, by Diana Baumrind Child Development 1966

Corporal Punishment, by David Benatar. Originally published in Social Theory & Practice

Encouraging better behaviour: A practical guide to positive parenting. [.pdf] NSPCC

Tuesday 13 April: Parenting politics and policy

9.45-11am: The Early Years focus Josephine; The development of family policy Ellie (Chair: Alison)

Support for All: the Families and Relationships Green Paper. Department for Children, Schools and Families, January 2010

Conservative Party Draft Families Manifesto, January 2010

Ten years of family policy: 1999-2009 [.pdf] By Claire James. Family and Parenting Institute, October 2009

A timeline of events marking parenting policy Family and Parenting Institute

11am-12: The General Election and the Parents’ Forum: future discussions and events Jane (Chair: Sally)

12-12.15pm: CONFERENCE CLOSE Beverley

Additional readings: Intimacy, privacy and the family

Standing Up To Supernanny, by Jennie Bristow. Imprint Academic 2009

Women in the workforce: Female power. The Economist , 30 December 2009

Reinventing the Family: In Search of Lifestyles, by Elisabeth Beck Gernsheim. Polity Press 2002

Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage and Feminism, by Christopher Lasch. WW Norton & Co 1998

Dodds, A. (2009). Families “at risk” and the Family Nurse Partnership: the intrusion of risk into social exclusion policy, Journal of Social Policy, 38: 3.

Duncan, S. (2007). What’s the problem with teenage parents? And what’s the problem with policy? Critical Social Policy, Vol. 27, No. 3, 307-334.

Edwards, R. and Gillies, V (2004). Support in Parenting: Values and consensus concerning who to turn to. Journal of Social Policy, 33:4: 627-647.

Arai, L. (2005). Peer and neighbourhood influences on teenage pregnancy and fertility: qualitative findings from research in English communities. Health and Place Vol.13 (1): 87-98.

Arai, L (2003a). British policy on teenage pregnancy and childbearing: the limitations of comparisons with other European countries. Critical Social Policy, Vol. 23, No. 1, 89-102 (2003)

Bullen E., Kenway J. and Hay V. (2000). New Labour, Social Exclusion and Educational Risk Management: the case of ‘gymslip mums’. British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 26, No.4.

Carabine, Jean (2007). New Labour’s teenage pregnancy policy: constituting knowing responsible citizens? Cultural Studies, 21(6), pp. 952–973.

Additional readings: Education and the crisis of adult authority

Tories promise to make teaching ‘brazenly elitist’. BBC News Online, 18 January 2010

Don’t judge teachers by their degrees. Guardian, 18 January 2010

Professional Trust, by Ian Frowe. British Journal of Educational Studies, vol. 53, no.1, March 2005, pp 34-53

Education: The Engagement and its Frustration in The Voice of Liberal Learning, by Michael Oakeshott.

Additional readings: Parenting politics and policy

The Character Inquiry. Demos, January 2010

Building Character [.pdf] By Jen Lexmond and Richard Reeves. Demos, November 2009.

Breakdown Britain Centre for Social Justice 14 December 2006


Battle of Ideas 2009
31 October & 1 November, London

The Battle of Ideas 2009 will be a two-day festival of high-level, thought-provoking debate organised by the Institute of Ideas and hosted by the Royal College of Art.

See here for information about the event and to buy tickets.

Parents With Attitude readers might be particularly interested in the following sessions:

Frankenstein’s Daughters: from science fiction to science fact?
Saturday 31 October, 10.30am until 12.00pm

Whose Right to Choose? Choice, ethics and regulation in 21st-century reproduction
Saturday 31 October, 1.30pm until 3.00pm

Three’s a crowd? The battle over population and reproduction
Saturday 31 October, 3.30pm until 5.00pm

We don’t need no Sex Education
Sunday 1 November, 10.45am until 12.15pm

Policing the Playground: do anti-bullying campaigns do more harm than good?
Sunday 1 November, 1.45pm until 3.15pm

Standing up to Supernanny: why we need a Parents’ Liberation Movement
Sunday 1 November, 3.45pm until 5.15pm

Sporty kids and pushy parents
Sunday 1 November, 5.30pm until 6.30pm