Journal of Philosophy of Education vol:46 issue:3 pages:352-369
In this article we focus on how the language of developmental psychology shapes our conceptualisations and understandings of childrearing and of the parent-child relationship. By analysing some examples of contemporary research, policy and popular literature on parenting and parenting support in the UK and Flanders, we explore some of the ways in which normative assumptions about parenthood and upbringing are imported into these areas through the language of developmental psychology. We go on to address the particular attraction of developmental psychology in the field of parenting and upbringing within our current cultural context. Drawing on the work of (among others) Zygmunt Bauman, we will show how developmental psychology, as one of the instruments that contributes to a breaking down of our existential condition into a series of well-defined, and thus apparently manageable, tasks and categories, displaces rather than confronts the possibly limitless depth of the enormity of the reality of ‘being a parent’.