Contemporary Russia is experiencing a transformation of values related to parenthood and child-rearing. Family relations, which over the last decade have experienced the least pressure among social institutions, are undergoing a significant renewal. Despite a number of major problems, such as insufficient supervision for children, physical violence within the family, and the lack of protection for children’s rights, positive changes are nevertheless occurring, linked in important ways to global processes.
The contributors to this issue of the Pro et Contra
journal write of the growing spread of family planning, the increase in the number of families based on non-imperative relations, the gradual changes in the psychological patterns of fatherhood and in the attitude towards “other people’s” children, including those with disabilities, and the rise of parental activism in solving social problems connected with children. “The transformation of parenthood,” writes editor-in-chief Maria Lipman
in her introduction, “is an inevitable process, and one of its important characteristics is the emergence of parental associations, in which parents turn for help and support to others like themselves, bypassing the state.” The fact that the development of new parental practices undermines, from below, state paternalism is especially important against the background of other, more visible tendencies in Russia today, including paternalistic aspirations associated with “order” and the “firm hand” of the state.
Nevertheless, in recent years the penetration of private life by the state has increased in Russia, beginning with the lives of children; the activity of state custodial agencies has increased, as has the interference of the state in schooling and the coverage of issues related to childhood in the mass media. This issue of Pro et Contra is devoted to an analysis of these opposing tendencies and the transformation of family values.
The contributors to this issue investigate the evolution of approaches to child-rearing in the post-Soviet period and evaluate contemporary tendencies in the development of relations within the family.
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