© 2014

Parenting, Family Policy and Children’s Well-Being in an Unequal Society

A New Culture War for Parents


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. Dimitra Hartas
      Pages 1-16
  3. The Early Home Environment in an Unequal Society: Do Parents Matter?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-19
    2. Dimitra Hartas
      Pages 36-47
    3. Dimitra Hartas
      Pages 48-69
  4. Neoliberal Family Policy: Early Intervention and Parent Remodelling

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-74
    2. Dimitra Hartas
      Pages 75-89
    3. Dimitra Hartas
      Pages 90-120
    4. Dimitra Hartas
      Pages 121-141
  5. Parenting, Culture Wars and Civic Renewal

  6. Conclusion

    1. Dimitra Hartas
      Pages 208-213
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 214-241

About this book


Western societies face many challenges. The growing inequality and the diminishing role of the welfare state and the rapid accumulation of the resources of a finite planet at the top 1% have made the world an inhospitable place to many families. Parents are left alone to deal with the big societal problems and reverse their impact on their children's educational achievement and life chances. The 'average' working family is sliding down the social ladder with a significant impact on children's learning and wellbeing. We now know that parental involvement with children's learning (although important in its own right) is not the primary mechanism through which poverty translates to underachievement and reduced social mobility. Far more relevant to children's learning and emotional wellbeing is their parents' income and educational qualifications. The mantra of 'what parents do matters' is hypocritical considering the strong influence that poverty has on parents and children. We can no longer argue that we live in a classless society, especially as it becomes clear that most governmental reforms are class based and affect poor families disproportionately. In this book, Dimitra Hartas explores parenting and its influence on children's learning and wellbeing while examining the impact of social class amidst policy initiatives to eradicate child poverty in 21st Century Britain.


children Civic Education education family policy intervention learning neoliberalism poverty

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of WarwickUK

About the authors

Dimitra Hartas is Associate Professor in Special Education Needs and Disability at the University of Warwick, UK. She has previously published The Right to Childhoods.

Bibliographic information


"This is a powerful, persuasive and extremely important book. Dimitra Hartas forensically demolishes core presumptions underpinning contemporary parenting policy through a trenchant and compelling analysis of the evidence. This myth busting, ground-breaking, text should be compulsory reading for politicians, policy makers and family practitioners." - Professor Val Gillies, London South Bank University, UK