Neuroscience or Neurotrash? Should we trust the experts?

Why Parents should stop feeling guilty if they can’t devote time to their toddlers:

Monitoring parents: science, evidence, experts and the new parenting culture is an “event organised by the University of Kent that will reflect on the problems caused by the rise of ‘parenting science’ and the ‘parenting expert’.

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The event, which takes place at the University’s Canterbury campus, 13-14 September, will focus on the idea that neuroscience provides reliable evidence about how parents should raise their children. Two keynote sessions will question this claim, and raise problems about its influence over social policy and parental experience.”

Academics will argue that parents are subject to ridiculous levels of pressure to “get things right” which leads them to feel guilty and anxious, especially working parents who rely on childcare.

Stuart Derbyshire, a psychologist, wrote for Spiked online ( in his article “The pseudo-science of the parent-bashers“, that the popular idea that a person’s fate is determined in the first five years of life is “completely baseless” and that “Any deficiency that children may suffer due to the inadequacies of their early years can be addressed later in their lives” he warns that by using “neuro facts” to back up baseless parenting theories “Parents have been sold a bill of goods that is highly destructive, because it overemphasises infant and toddler nurturing to the detriment of long-term parental and educational responsibilities”.

Many psychologists will argue that early years are critical for later life, but do we “need to calm down about the importance of childhood” as Derbyshire suggests?


2 thoughts on “Neuroscience or Neurotrash? Should we trust the experts?

  1. Clare

    A good read relating to this theory is ‘ Why Love Matters’ by Sue Gerhardt for any of those interested in child development theories and pyschology.

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