Parents’ narratives of their everyday life and need of support: a study of parents who participate in a parent education program
2012 (English)In: Gender and democracy: gender research in times of change, Göteborg: University of Gothenburg , 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
In present times, there is a dominating discourse that describes parents as insecure and in need of support to be able to fulfill their parenting satisfactory. This discourse is expressed in the media in TV-shows like the Super-Nanny but it is also articulated in national policies. In Sweden are for example ‘insecure’ parents associated to the increasing mental illness among children. As a response to this problem the government 2009 declared the National Strategy for Developed Parent Support. This strategy includes a campaign to offer all parents educational activities but also to provide meeting places where parents can exchange experiences of parenting (Socialdepartementet, 2009). However, previous research has problematized this kind of parent support initiatives as state interventions in the family that promotes ideals on parenting that are deeply rooted in white, middle class values on mothering. This study is part of the evaluation of the Swedish campaign for parent support and the aim of the study is to describe and analyze how a number of parents that have been taking part of a parent education program narrate their everyday family-life and their need of support. The study is guided by a discourse theoretical perspective by focusing on what discourses the parents activate and how they position themselves in relation to these discourses. The data consists of interviews with five of the six parents that completed the parenting program. These interviews indicate that the parents refer to the dominating discourse and position themselves as responsible and engaged parents. But their narratives also work to problematize parent support in relation to the difficulties that affect their family-life. These difficulties are however not addressed in the national strategy or the parent education program. The parents’ stories also seem to re-construct parenting in relation to categories like gender and social class.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: University of Gothenburg , 2012.
Parenting, parent support, parent education, gender, social class
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-59380OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-59380DiVA: diva2:551887
Gender and Education Association Interim Conference April 11-13, 2012