Conference Agenda

RN13_03b: Parent-child relations, mothering and fathering practices III
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Sara Mazzucchelli, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY
Session Chair: Kim Bastaits, PXL University College
Location: UP.2.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road


A Mother — Manager of Care and Everyday Life, a Father — Entertainment Expert. ’Mothering’ and ’Fathering’ Practices — the study of families in Poland

Malgorzata Sikorska

University of Warsaw, Institute of Sociology, Poland

The main aims of the speech are: 1) to present the social perception of the roles of mother and father operating in Polish society; 2) to show the results of the analysis of ’mothering’ and ’fathering’ practices in context of the division of care and socialization responsibilities and 3) to compare the social norms and expectations with the parental practices.

A change in the balance of power in families as well as a new distribution of roles and duties between parents are ones of the most important modifications in the relations between individuals in the postmodern societies. The currently social expectations about features and behaviors of parents are particularly visible when comparing them with the previous generations.

The question is: does the promotion of a ’new motherhood’ and specially ’new fatherhood’ patterns existing on the level of social discourse and social norms translate into parenting practices? In other words: does the ’new’ way of defining the roles and responsibilities of a mother and a father transfer into actual ’mothering’ and ’fathering’ practices?

Using the data collecting in the qualitative research (first of the project „Parenting practices in families in Poland — reconstruction of daily routines”) as well as the quantitative data (from surveys conducted on the representatives sample for Polish society), I’m going to prove that the traditional devision of roles and duties for a mother and a father is still strongly involved in family life in Poland (with some adjustments). I will argue that the parental practices are intimately embedded in the ’naturalization’ of roles of father as a breadwinner and a mother as a caregiver and a housewife.

Family Relationships of Foster Youth: Source of Support or Hindrance during the Transition to Adulthood?

Gaëlle Aeby, Ossipow Laurence

University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland

The common ground for foster care is a problematic family situation judged unfit for the protection and development of children. Nevertheless, no matter the type of intervention (foster institution or foster family), child protection services actively promote maintenance of the relationships with the family of origin. However, in reality, the placement puts a lot of pressure on families that are already vulnerable and they tend to withdraw from an active parenting role. Therefore, other relationships become of prime importance for foster youth but they are typically characterised by instability. Nevertheless, ruptures can be compensated by stability elsewhere, for instance, through continuities in other life domains such as place of residency, belonging to a club and school attendance. In adulthood it results in a diversity of personal networks that may include family members, foster family members, friends, and even social workers, but that often do not provide the adequate amount of support needed by young adults. After the coming of age, access to social aid is limited and family support may be needed. In this context, the transition of young adults from out-of-home care is especially challenging. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 30 care leavers aged between 25 and 30 years old in the canton of Geneva (Switzerland), this paper investigates ruptures and continuities in their relationships, retrospectively along the placement and during the transition, using ego-centered networks. It discusses alternatives to family solidarity and sources of belonging created in communities of necessity and/or choice, and through intimacies.

Gender, Parenthood Norms, and Life Satisfaction: Trends in the Effects of Motherhood and Fatherhood in Germany between 1984 and 2015

Klaus Preisner1, Franz Neuberger2, Ariane Bertogg3

1University of Zurich, Switzerland; 2German Youth Institute, Munich; 3University of Konstanz, Germany

In recent decades, the ideal of gender equality has gained support in Germany. Along with this development, social norms pertaining to parenthood have changed, too. These norms, however, have developed differently for men and women. Mothers today have more options to reconcile family and career, and they face less restrictive motherhood norms. Fatherhood, on the other hand, has become loaded with emerging parental “duties” while the expectation to be the main breadwinner has remained constant. These gender-specific changes in parenthood norms have implications for the decision-making and life satisfaction of mothers and fathers, as well as for women and men who remain childless.

This article investigates, from the angles of doing gender and rational choice theory, how the relationship between parenthood and life satisfaction has changed over the last three decades, and how this development is related to normative change. The analyses are based on the German Socio-Economic Panel, 1984-2015. A series of hybrid panel regressions is used to determine intrapersonal (within) and interpersonal (between) effects of motherhood and fatherhood on life satisfaction along changing parenthood norms. The analyses indicate that the implications of parenthood have converged for men and women. As traditional parenthood norms have lost ground, the transition to parenthood has become increasingly conducive to life satisfaction for both genders. In particular mothers have benefited from normative change in term of increasing life satisfaction.

Negotiating Parenting Practices And Childcare Decisions: The Case Of Finnish Couples

Petteri Eerola1, Johanna Närvi2, Johanna Tervävä3, Katja Repo1, Johanna Lammi-Taskula2

1Tampere University, Finland; 2National Institute of Health and Welfare, Finland; 3University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Couples’ negotiations of parenting practices and childcare decisions are influenced by several factors, such as the parents’ personal wishes and desires, labour market situations, local and national policy contexts, and cultural ideals and social norms. In this article, the relational negotiation of parenting practices and childcare decisions are observed in the context of Finland, one of the Nordic countries, a group commonly cited as global models of shared parenting and gender equality. Finnish fathers’ involvement in early care has expanded in the recent decades, particularly due to family policies supporting shared care and the increasingly father-friendly atmosphere in work life and society in general. Parenting practices in Finnish families with small children have remained gendered, however, as mothers continue to play the role of the primary parent in the majority of families in terms of both hands-on care and ‘mental labour’. These observations form the starting point for this article, which scrutinises the relational character of couples’ negotiations of parenting practices and childcare decisions. Theoretically, the article draws on the sociology of emotions, feminist scholarship, and multidisciplinary family research. The empirical data, which consist of qualitative interviews with 13 heterosexual Finnish couples with a child around one year old, were gathered in 2016. Our analytical framework is informed by discourse studies. The preliminary findings of our study reveal how couples’ negotiations are significantly entangled with the moral and affective dimensions of parenting in addition to, for example, family policies and work life issues.