Shaming parents for the way they are bringing up their children is nothing new. Parent shaming and blaming has long been a recurring theme in expert narratives on child-rearing. In the 19th century, parents were frequently accused of lacking the moral and intellectual resources necessary to bring up children. They were also frequently castigated for setting a bad example for their children.
Parental incompetence was perceived as particularly debilitating in relation to the management of children’s anxieties and fears. From the late 19th century onwards, experts asserted that parents needed to shield their children from exposure to fear. They claimed that abolishing fear from childhood was essential for the well-being of young people.