Families, Relationships and Societies
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Better than average? Parental competence beliefs and socioeconomic background

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  • 1 University of Exeter, , UK
  • | 2 University of Bristol, , UK
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This article investigates the extent to which parents believe they are better than average parents using data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. The article builds on a long tradition of sociological research focusing on the interconnections between parenting, class, education and inequality. We find that mothers with low levels of education are more likely to say they are average or worse than average parents. Relatedly, we show that those who are highly educated are more likely to consider themselves as being better than average, even when a range of child and mother characteristics such as mother’s mental health and child’s cognitive and socio-emotional development are considered. These findings are linked to research showing how certain groups of parents are stigmatised or valorised in popular and political discourse. Our article also extends scholarship by examining the connection between parental mental health and parental competence beliefs.

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  • 1 University of Exeter, , UK
  • | 2 University of Bristol, , UK

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