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This paper will argue that since the late 1990s, UK policy concerning teenage pregnancy and parenthood has set important precedents in the way in which the family is constructed and related to by the state. The incorporation of teenage parenthood into health promotion and social inclusion frameworks has allowed an apparently de-moralised construction of the teenage mother and her child, but closer inspection reveals that there are new stigmas associated with young parenthood. In particular, the shift to a ‘parenting as skill’ approach assumes that adequate child-rearing requires planning, self-scrutiny, knowledge and utilization of ‘techniques’, and the acceptance of formal support.
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