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Synopsis

Despite the fact that most people become parents and everyone who has ever lived has had parents, parenting remains a mystifying subject about which almost everyone has opinions, but about which few people agree. Striking permutations on the theme of parenting are emerging--single parenthood, blended families, lesbian and gay parents, and teen versus fifties first-time moms and dads. Divided into four volumes, the Handbook of Parenting is concerned with different types of parents, basic characteristics of parenting, forces that shape parenting, problems faced by parents, and the practical sides of parenting. Contributors have worked in different ways toward understanding all of these diverse aspects of parenting and look to the most recent research and thinking in the field to shed light on many topics every parent has wondered about.

Because development is too subtle, dynamic, and intricate to admit that parental caregiving alone determines the course and outcome of ontogeny, volume 1 concerns how children influence parenting. Volume 2 relates parenting to its biological roots and sets parenting in its ecological framework. Volume 3 distinguishes among the cast of characters responsible for parenting and is revealing of the psychological make-ups and social interests of those individuals. Volume 4 describes problems of parenting as well as the promotion of positive parenting practices.

Written to be read and absorbed in a single sitting, each chapter addresses a different but central topic in parenting, and is rooted in current thinking and theory as well as classic and modern research on that topic. All chapters follow a standard organization including an introduction to the chapter as a whole followed by historical considerations of the topic, a discussion of central issues and theory, a review of classic and modern research, forecasts of future directions for theory and research, and a conclusion. In addition to considering their own convictions and research, the chapter contributors present and broadly interpret all major points of view and central lines of inquiry.

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