We live in an era of no-fault parenting. We put our children in childcare and entrust them to caregivers as if they were like all other fungible commodities. We assume that they can be passed off daily to substitute caregivers without the knowledge of their inner worlds, daily struggles and worries. And we do this knowing that the nature and quality of early relationships matter (Phillip and Shonkoff, 2000). We then blame parents and schools, especially working-class parents (Rubin, 1976), for the pressures and consequences of living and working and attempting to love in a world where two incomes aren’t enough, neighbourhoods and schools are deteriorating and safety nets have contracted. It is a world where economic disparities (Piketty, 2014) have eliminated the middle class and the burden of caring for children presents unprecedented challenges. And after more than a century of liberal economic policies and social and behavioural science research and related policy interventions, our social problems are getting worse (Cartwright, 2012). How can we expect parenting practices to change or improve when the world around most parents is collapsing?
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