Article type: Original Research

PUBLISHED 1 March 1979

Volume 4 Issue 1

Understanding Parenthood

Stephanie Charlesworth


1 Department of Social Studies, University of Melbourne

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The subject of parents and children is so immense and so much discussed that it takes a certain effrontery to write yet another article on it. I do, however, have a slightly original slant in that I am not concerned so much with how parents affect their children, but with the effects that children have on their parents.

Practically everybody has strong impressions of their own parents, even if they are not parents themselves, so that everyone has some kind of experience of parent child relationships. Sometimes this experience leads to understanding and insight: sometimes it leads to distortion and bias. In order to move away from the sort of discussion that is either an exchange, or a confrontation of various people's experiences, I propose to use two different approaches. The first will try to elucidate the structure of the dominant contemporary mode of parents-children relationships. The second will examine alternative ways of viewing parent-child relationships.

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