A qualitative study exploring the experiences and views of mothers, health visitors and family support centre workers on the challenges and difficulties of parenting

L. Bloomfield, S. Kendall, L. Applin, V. Attarzadeh, K. Dearnley, L. Edwards, L. Hinshelwood, P. Lloyd, T. Newcombe

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27 Citations (Scopus)
238 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Successive policy documents have referred to the need to support parents as an approach to reducing social exclusion, behaviour problems among young people and crime rates. Much of the rhetoric focuses on professional intervention, and there is less attention paid to the views and experiences of parents themselves. The present study explores the experiences and views of mothers, health visitors and family support centre workers who work with parents on the challenges and difficulties of parenting children under the age of 6 years. It provides an appreciation of their views on effective parenting and how parents can be helped to feel more effective in the parenting role. Focus groups, which were exploratory and interactive in form, were conducted across three primary care trusts in Hertfordshire, UK. Three samples were purposively selected in order to examine the range and diversity of experiences and views about parenting, and included the parents of children up to the age of 6 years, health visitors and family support centre workers. The mothers were those waiting to attend a parenting programme, and included first-time mothers and those with more than one child. The health visitors and family support workers had a range of experience in working with parents and children, and included those who were facilitating parenting programmes and those who were not. A number of themes emerged surrounding the challenges and difficulties of parenting and effective parenting, including expectations of others, establishing routines, play, behavioural issues and discipline, empathy, and communication. Similar themes emerged from all groups; however, there were qualitative differences between parents and professionals in the way in which these issues were expressed. Key statements from the parent focus groups have been developed into self-efficacy statements, which will be used as input to the development of a tool to measure the effectiveness of parenting programmes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • Social Welfare

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