Parents these days are stressed. So are their kids.
The root of this anxiety, one scholar says, is the way we understand the relationship between parents and children. Alison Gopnik, a psychology and philosophy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks parents—especially middle-class parents—view their children as entities they can mold into a specific image.
“The idea is that if you just do the right things, get the right skills, read the right books, you’re going to be able to shape your child into a particular kind of adult,” she says.
It’s a view that’s gained popularity in the last few decades, along with the term “parenting” — which is itself a relatively new idea.
“It’s only around the 1970s in America that the word first begins to really take off,” she says.
.. In her latest book, The Gardener and the Carpenter, Alison lays out this science and an alternative way to think about the relationship between parents and children.