I was very pleased to see this review of my book by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, for spiked-online. Michael is the author of the great book The Tyranny of Health: Doctors and the Regulation of Lifestyle.
“…a comprehensive critique of the synthesis of old-fashioned attachment theory and new-fangled neuroscience that provides the basis for the sort of intensive parent training that is now being widely implemented by midwives, health visitors, childminders and teachers in children’s centres, schools, and even GP surgeries…”
“For Macvarish, the key danger of neuroparenting is the way in which it seeks to ‘instrumentalise’ everyday family life. The shift from noun to verb – from ‘being a parent’ to active, conscious ‘parenting’ – implies replacing the private, spontaneous aspects of child-rearing with formal, artificial, goal-oriented methods.”
“Macvarish provides a systematic review of the potentially damaging consequences of unrestrained neuroparenting for family life. Parents are deprived of the authority that depends on their moral autonomy. Children are regarded fatalistically as the products of objective circumstances, as their subjective agency is also implicitly disparaged. Parents lose their true parental status and are redefined as professional caregivers. The wider community of family and neighbourhood, and other sources of informal support and guidance, are dismissed (as much too risky). To counter the drift to this dystopian future, Macvarish ends with what might seem an unlikely chapter in an academic work – ‘a defence of parental love’. But who, in the end, have parents and children got, but one another?”