Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN13_01b: Parent-child relations, mothering and fathering practices I
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Malene Gram, Aalborg University
Session Chair: Marta Magdalena Bierca, University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Location: UP.2.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road

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Child Centredness: Reporting on an Australian Study into Positive Post Separation Parenting

Priscilla Dunk-West, Kristin Natalier

Flinders University, Australia

Although no fault divorce has been established in Australia since the 1970s, separating couples still report the stigma associated with divorce (Konstam, Karwin et al. 2016), particularly in relation to the perceived impact of separation on children (Grätz 2017). Empirical work is situated in the same social conditions in which divorce stigma exists and thus existing research often focuses on the deleterious effects of separation. We used a Shutzian phenomenological (Shutz 1954) methodological approach in line with interpretive sociology to interrogate meanings and practices of people who had experienced a positive post-separated parental relationship.All of the sample (n=27) resided in Australia. Respondents were primarily women (n=22) and five men. Diversity across the sample was recorded in relation to age, sexual identity, relationship history and duration and care relationships. Most of the sample (n=22) identified as Anglo-Australians with 6 people identifying as first generation migrants from either Europe (n=2) or South America (n=2). Most of the sample identified as heterosexual (n=19) with lower numbers identifying as lesbian (n=3), queer (n=2) and bisexual (n=2).The role that child-centredness played in creating ‘good’ post separation parenting relationships and practices is examined. Our analysis identified three characteristics crucial to child-centredness. We describe these as the affectual; tangible; and ethical dimensions to child-centredness which were present in the post separation parenting relationship.

Children, Family, Agency, And Display

Sara Ann McNamee, Sam Frankel

King's University College at Western, Canada

Combining theories from family studies and childhood studies this paper looks at how notions of display in the context of recognising ‘elements of agency’ offers a means through which to make sense of children’s meaning making. What emerges is an interesting narrative that combines both myth and reality in order to inform the way that the individual comes to not only present ‘family’, but also how that informs how they come to ‘do’ and display family.

This paper seeks to interrogate how children come to paint a picture of their family life and how that informs the way in which they reflect on their relationship. Within this one can see the how children come to work up a version of family within which they are able to find, for themselves, a space where they can achieve a level of connection. It is in this connection that they recognise an ‘authentic’ version of themselves that is essential to their presentation of self. Notably, however, for some children, these ‘authentic’ version of self is layered with a range of competing narratives that don’t always reflect positive relationships. The fact that children are able to find and heighten the emotional value they give to positive moments within family life, to an extent where these are predominate, shows the power of family and the ongoing need to make sense of the nature of intimate relationships within the context of understanding how children come to navigate their everyday lives.

Children’s Families as a Resource and a Problem in Educational Settings

Kimmo Jokinen, Henna Pirskanen, Anu Karhinen-Soppi, Tiina Lämsä, Marianne Notko, Tomi Oinas

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Families encounter several transitions during a child’s life such as a child starting primary school. This phase of life marks a significant change in children’s everyday actions and forms of social relations and can be challenging both to children, parents and teachers. Hence, it is important to consider various aspects connected to children’s social worlds, in particular themes connected to the role of family in the school context.

In the multidisciplinary research project DALFA (Daily life in transitions, children in multiple family relations, 2015-2019) both quantitative and qualitative data regarding children’s transitions from pre-school to primary school has been collected from children and from first grade teachers. In this presentation, we will focus on qualitative interview data collected from teachers. First grade teachers (N = 112) have been interviewed in focus groups and in individual interviews in five countries: Australia, China, Finland, Japan and Spain.

Research questions in this presentation are 1) How do teachers perceive the role of family in the school context? 2) What similarities and differences are there between countries connected to this issue? The data has been analyzed using thematic and content analyses. Preliminary results will be presented and discussed in the presentation. We distinguish two dominant ways of perceiving the role of the family in educational settings: family as a resource and family as a problem. We also discuss how teachers perceive families as either supporting mainly children’s wellbeing at school or children’s learning. There are similarities and differences between countries.

Does Parental Depression Really Lower Child Well-being? A Comparison Of Parents’ And Children’s (Self-) Assessment.

Stephanie Hess, Matthias Pollmann-Schult

Otto-Von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany

Previous studies show significant negative associations between parental depression and child well-being (CWB). However, most of these studies used parents’ assessment of CWB whereas children’s self-evaluations have not been considered to a satisfactory extent. Our study aims to examine whether there are differences between the association of parental depression and parental and child (self-) assessment of CWB. Our main question is whether more depressed parents assess their children’s well-being worse compared to their children’s self-assessment.

For our analyses we use data from waves 2 to 9 of the German Family Panel (pairfam). We estimate fixed-effects models of parental depression on CWB as reported by parents (1,924 mothers and 1,260 fathers) and their children (2,642), respectively. Our findings on the effect of parental depression on CWB assessed by parents are in line with previous research: Increasing levels of maternal depression are associated with significant increases in child emotional and conduct problems as reported by the mother. The results for fathers are less robust. However, none of those effects hold for children’s self-assessment. Neither maternal nor paternal depression are correlated with children’s self-reported emotional or conduct problems.

The analyses indicate that negative associations between parental depression and child well-being are significantly less pronounced when CWB is assessed by children instead of parents. Thus, research on the association between parental depression and child well-being needs to take into account the origin of information on CWB and reconsider the validity of parental assessment.

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