“Going-With-The-Flow” or “Getting-Things-Done”: A Folk Model of Intensive Parenting Among Middle-Class Parents

Shira Klimor Maman, Danny Kaplan, Shira Offer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on intensive parenting norms still lacks a systematic framework to account for the ways these translate into everyday childcare practices and underlying logics and ideals. Based on in-depth interviews with 42 middle-class Israeli parents, we delineate a folk model of intensive parenting associated with ideals of self-fulfillment. The model comprises two parenting approaches, each differentiated into practices, logics, and cultural discourses. The first approach is characterized by “going-with-the-flow” practices stressing expressive bonding geared toward the child’s desires. It points to a logic of aspiration development grounded in therapeutic discourse. The second approach is associated with practices of “getting-things-done” by “activating” the child to accomplish goals and reflects a logic of capability enhancement grounded in neoliberal discourse. By deconstructing contemporary parenting, we show that therapeutic and neoliberal values converge at the discursive level but are experienced as contradictory in everyday practice, thus accounting for the tensions of intensive parenting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Issues
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • intensive parenting
  • middle-class parents
  • neoliberal discourse
  • parenting culture
  • self-fulfillment
  • therapeutic discourse


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