What Really Counts?
Routledge – 2000 – 144 pages
Parenting: What Really Counts? examines the scientific evidence on what really matters for children's healthy psychological development.
The first section considers whether it is necessary to have two parents, a father present, parents who have a genetic link with their child, or parents who are heterosexual. Section two explores the psychological processes that underlie optimal development for children, particularly the quality of the child's relationship with parents, other family members and the wider social world. Contrary to common assumptions, Susan Golombok concludes that family structure makes little difference to children's day-to-day experiences of life.
As well as for students, researchers and teachers, Parenting: What really counts? will be of great interest to parents and those thinking of embarking on a non-traditional route to parenthood. It will also be welcomed by professionals working with families and those involved in the development of family policy.
'[Parenting] brings together a few decades' worth of empirical work on the effects of family structure on children's development and is expected to set the agenda for future family policy. The book challenges myth after myth about the 'best' way to bring up children.' - Times Higher Education Supplement
'One of the saddest stories I heard when I was researching my book was from an adoptive mother, Anna. She said: "When my mother-in-law knew that I was having problems conceiving, she told my husband, if you're going to adopt, never, ever expect me to think of them as my grandchildren".' - Susan Golombok, in Red magazine, 2000
'This book will interest anyone who works with families. It clears up many misconceptions and stereotypes about the "ideal" family and encouragingly suggests that early life events do not necessarily send us on one path, improvements to family circumstances can counteract potentially adverse early experiences.' - Emma Dodd, Staffordshire County Psychological Service, BPS Division of Educational and Child Psychology Newsletter
Introduction. Part I. Family Type. Number of Parents: One versus Two? Fathers: Present or Not? Genetic Ties: Related or Not? Parents' Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual or Homosexual? Part II. Family Relationships. Quality of Relationships between Parents and Children. Quality of Marriage and Parents' Psychological State. Children's Individual Characteristics and their Wider Social World. Parenting: What Really Counts? References.
Susan Golombok is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre at City University, London. She is a leading international authority on the effects of non-traditional families on children's development.