The book comprises six lectures, each exploring from a different viewpoint the current relevance of Winnicott's reflections on the nature and sources, as well as the management, of "the antisocial tendency" in the context of today's social problems affecting the young.
Current debates about "the sick society" and its causes indicate a current widespread unease about the quality of much contemporary child-rearing practice, together with uncertainty and disagreement over its precise causes and remedies. Sixty years ago, as a consequence of war and its aftermath, there was a comparable concern to provide a better future for the nation's young people. Donald Winnicott took a prominent part in shaping those deliberations, both through his broadcasts and his writings, some directed at ordinary parents, others towards fellow professionals. This series of lectures considers the contemporary relevance of Winnicott's observations and recommendations and reflects on what has happened to the relationship between child, the family and the outside world over that same period of time.
Subject areas covered by the book include: antisocial tendency; delinquency; family functioning; the distribution of responsibilities between parents and government agencies of all sorts over the upbringing of children; children's welfare and their preparation for life in society.