Sunday, 24 July 2016

Brain based parenting

Jan Macvarish

"The idea that the first three years of a child’s life represent a ‘window of opportunity’ for life-changing intervention is now very influential among policymakers. This is largely due to the combined advocacy of neuroscience entrepreneurs, UK charities such as the NSPCC and Save the Children, the growth of parenting programmes introduced by local health commissioners, and politicians keen to find novel solutions to long-standing social problems."

"What I call ‘neuroparenting’ the idea that parents are architects of their children’s brains now dominates the outlook of parent trainers. Talking about ‘the brain’ allows those involved in monitoring and instructing parents to position themselves less as bossy experts or, worse still, moralists, and more as neutral conveyors of scientific ‘facts’. They can therefore tell parents how to love and care for their babies using the pseudo-scientific language of evidence bases, synapses and oxytocin."

"As others such as John Bruer have shown, there is little evidence that neuroparenting does actually produce neurological benefits. But then that was never its point. Rather, neuroparenting is a metaphor that appears to allow politicians and practitioners to connect with parents and their aspirations for their children to do well..."

"Politicians’ focus on neuroparenting reflects the smallness of their politics. Talking about babies’ brains and the need to improve parental ‘input’ in order to create a dynamic Britain suggests that our social problems are emotional rather than economic. Instead of trying to reshape our economic future, policymakers prefer to concentrate on reshaping family dynamics."

Here is more neurobabble from Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, child development psychologist, University of Dundee:

"This video clip is part of the 'Pre-Birth to Three' multimedia resource created to accompany the 'Pre-Birth to Three: Positive Outcomes for Scotland's Children and Families' guidance."

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