This article presents the results of a research project that explored the social construction of appropriate parenting in the area of paediatrics. Parents have to show appropriate competence when reacting to their children’s states of health and illness and subject their suitability for their role as parents to the evaluation of paediatricians and of "significant others". Considering illness to be a significant factor for social order, the project collected opinions from paediatricians and parents about the characteristics of appropriate parenting with regard to health. These include knowing how to draw on one’s own experience, on informal networks and on one’s own "natural abilities", which are considered to be a prerogative, especially of the mother; the ability to understand the seriousness of symptoms, so as to contact a paediatrician when necessary; and the ability to use common-sense remedies, recognising the importance of relations, and the cures prescribed by experts, enabling the paediatrician to foster parents’ natural, innate gifts.
Keywords: Health - Illness - Social control - Appropriate parenting - paediatricians