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Teresa Graham Brett

My review of Parenting for Social Change
from Issue 186 of the
Parental Intelligence Newsletter, February 2011

The first thing perhaps I could say about Parenting for Social Change is that it’s very different from the parenting books I usually pay attention to because its subject matter is a way of parenting that’s totally alien to me personally and has been for the more than 25 years I’ve been a dad. But, of course, I’m fully aware that the vast majority of parents would relate immediately to the “paradigm of control and domination” this book explores. It’s what’s considered normal by most people, parents or not.

This is a book that took courage to write and it deserves kudos for that to begin with. The author makes the case for our society to radically reconsider its traditional beliefs about children and childhood mainly through her own journey as a parent and I suspect that some parts of the story wouldn’t have been easy to share.

The depth of analysis is superb. This is a book that uses both personal experience and current research to get a very firm grip on the structure of conventional controlling parenting and exposes its ultimate failings with clear logic. To quote from page 82: “Controlling parenting, despite its mainstream acceptance, damages children even as it fails to achieve the very goals on which it is allegedly focused.” For me, Parenting for Social Change demonstrates that truth beyond any doubt.

Having hopefully been disabused of false ideas about what conventional parenting does to human children, the reader is then guided with the same meticulous attention to detail through a comparison between controlling parenting and ways of parenting that actively support the child in his or her growth and development, and ultimately along a pathway offering a happier and more fulfilling experience for both child and parent to tools of transformation for becoming the change we wish to see in the world.

Whenever I happen to be in a bookstore, I usually have a quick peek at the Parenting section and invariably note that I would put most of the books on show in the Management section where they belong. I would be very happy to replace them with Parenting for Social Change. How conventional parenting really works, what’s wrong with that and why, what we can do instead to make our society a better place for children to grow up in. The complete package. Yes, excellent.

To find out more about this book, please visit

Teresa Graham Brett combines her passion for social change through social justice education with parenting. As a professional, she has spent over 20 years committed to advancing social change and social justice in universities, as an educator, leader, administrator, and consultant. After graduating from law school, she went on to serve at three large public universities across the country. She worked with innovative programs designed to create transformative learning for students, staff, and faculty. As a consultant, she continues to bring her expertise and passion to clients interested in transformative learning and social change.

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