It seems everyone with a book to sell or the desire to make it onto the morning news shows comes up with a new parenting label. We’re continually bombarded with names such as lawn mower, tiger, elephant (the opposite of tiger), snowplow, and relentless.
If anything is relentless, it’s the number of labels used to describe parenting. Yet the word parenting, first cited in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1918, was almost unheard of until the 1970s.
“It was then when parents first became absorbed with an increasingly broad range of responsibility for their children’s well-being, happiness, and futures,” said George Mason University professor Peter N. Stearns, author of Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America.
Parenting books and labels started flooding the market. We went from Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care in the 1940s which…
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