Have you ever wondered how our romantic notions of childhood as a curious, free developmental stage can coexist with our growing requirements for school attendance and success for young children? As a sociologist of education, I am interested in how social institutions intertwine and overlap in modern society; in particular, I am interested in family and schooling. My current research looks at the social constructions of parenting and childhood. Our ideas about childhood have changed significantly since 1950, part of this change includes the increased importance placed on schooling because educational attainment is now the main vehicle to adult opportunities. This has resulted in significant changes to the parenting role and even the earliest developmental stages.
My research includes several U.S. and comparative areas such as the intensification of cognitive demands on young children, the cultural significance of education, and the expansion of child rights world-wide. My new book is titled Motherhood, Childhood and Parenting in an Age of Education; An Invited Invasion. It is about the fundamental transformation of motherhood and childhood as education, our largest social intervention, grows in institutional strength, and the evolution of parenting to a more schooled and cognitively based developmental approach.