The Handbook of Parenting brings together in a single volume much of the theoretical and empirical knowledge and aspects of professional activity within the broadly defined field of parenting. Contributions are presented from an internationally renowned group of scholars known for their work in a range of disciplines, including child and family psychology, education and family studies, providing an accessible map of the major debates in theory, research and practice in this important and exciting field. The material is presented comprehensively. It encompasses essential policy and professional issues in all the main areas of current concern from parenting in culturally divergent settings, to parenting children with special needs in areas of physical, mental, social and educational functioning, to looking at ways in which the wider community and technological advances may be able to provide parenting support. Published in a single-volume format, this handbook will prove an invaluable and essential resource. Academics, researchers, practitioners and advanced students in a host of disciplines will gain from its breadth, wealth of information and enormous insight into the principal issues related to parenting theory and practice in the 21st century. The distinctive contribution of this handbook is to present a vast body of research and other information in a manner that is usable by practitioners in a wide range of child and parental support activities.

Parenting–An Introduction

Parenting–An Introduction

Parenting–an introduction


This chapter introduces the concept of parenting in its widest sense. It addresses briefly the emergence of parenting into public and academic awareness and gives an overview of its essential elements, areas of application and prerequisites. Certain critical areas that warrant further exploration and development are briefly outlined.


Procreation is the core, irreducible process on which the survival of the species depends. Survival is commonly accepted as the main, overarching goal of much behaviour. However, procreation is no use if offspring do not survive. To ensure survival is the chief task of parenting (Potts and Short, 1999). The human infant is a particularly vulnerable creature, unable to look after itself until well into its middle childhood. In complex modern societies, the need for parental ...

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