Lithuanian Working-class Parenting Styles: Normalising Concerted Cultivation

Artūras Tereškinas


Social scientists distinguish different cultural approaches to childrearing, related to the social class positions of the families. The middle-class childrearing style is often described as ‘concerted cultivation’, and the ‘accomplishment of natural growth’ defines practices prevalent among working-class and poor families. The repertoire of concerted cultivation that manifests middle-class privilege often involves hectic schedules of adult-organised activities and treats children as projects to be developed. The accomplishment of natural growth is based on a more open-ended schedule of children not strictly controlled by adults. Both concerted cultivation and the accomplishment of natural growth are underresearched in the Lithuanian and Eastern European context, where social stratification of family life experienced substantial changes in the last three decades.

Based on 23 biographical interviews with Lithuanian working-class parents, the article analyses their different childrearing styles and parenting values. By examining how they organise and structure their children’s everyday life, I demonstrate that most working-class parents are committed to concerted cultivation based on tight everyday schedules and regimented activities. I argue that Lithuanian parents tend to activate middle-class parenting values by practicing concerted cultivation that functions as their attempt to fit the neoliberal norms of achievement, competitiveness and instrumentalism, and the ideology of intensive or ‘good’ parenting.


childrearing; parenting values; concerted cultivation; the accomplishment of natural growth; class; Lithuania

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