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  • Author or Editor: Mel Hall x
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There has been an increase in the number of individuals who do not have children for various reasons, whether health, choice or circumstance, as well as those who have children later in the lifecourse. Concurrently, there is a moral panic surrounding the decreasing birth rate. A thematic analysis of posts on the parenting forum Mumsnet explores the significance of childless/freeness, in the context of wider relationships. We find that established categories of ‘mother’ and ‘childless/free’ are reductive, and are more porous than usually framed. We consider the impact of such categories on women’s friendships, finding that they undermine potential solidarities. Drawing on Scott (), we conceptualise the absence of children as significant, but not necessarily a deficit, highlighting the potential to understand childless/freeness in the everyday.

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This article presents data arising from a project that explored 22 children and young people’s experiences of having a parent with dementia. A key theme from the interviews highlighted the implications dementia has for the relationship between children and their parents – specifically, how individuals ‘do’ and display family when their parent’s personality and capacity to function as previously has been undermined. The data illustrate how these young people experience disruptions to existing family practices, and how they perpetuate a relationship with their parent in the face of dementia. It also indicates that these changes in practices – the disruption and acquired significance – contribute to children’s reconceptualisation of their relationship with their parent. This article seeks to add to the literature on family practices (Morgan, 2011) and display (Finch, 2007) by using the experience of dementia to illustrate the importance of family practices when a family experiences ‘crisis’.

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