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Competent parents with natural children: Parent and child identities in manual-based parenting courses in Sweden
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
Stockholm Univ, Stockholm, Sweden..
Univ Gavle, Gävle, Sweden..
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6163-9690
2018 (English)In: Childhood, ISSN 0907-5682, E-ISSN 1461-7013, Vol. 25, no 3, p. 369-384Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyses identity constructions in two manual-based universal parenting training programmes in Sweden, Connect (U) and All Children in Focus (ABC). The analysis was performed with discourse analysis of oral messages during parent training courses. The findings revealed that the parents' subject positions altered between troubled and good while the children's subject positions altered between ambiguous and natural in a confessional discourse of uncertainty and competence. Conclusively, pastoral power operated to support parental self-reflexivity and adult control in a process to improve parenting skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD , 2018. Vol. 25, no 3, p. 369-384
Keywords [en]
Children, discourses of parenting training, parents, public health, social services, Sweden
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40378DOI: 10.1177/0907568218759586ISI: 000439350900008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85043341300OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-40378DiVA, id: diva2:1239636
Available from: 2018-08-17 Created: 2018-08-17 Last updated: 2018-11-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. All Parents in Focus: Governing parents and children in universal parenting training
Open this publication in new window or tab >>All Parents in Focus: Governing parents and children in universal parenting training
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis deals with power and control in public health interventions in Sweden using structured parental support programs. The aim is to visualize how parents and children's relationships are described and discussed in manuals and courses intended for all parents with children between the ages of 0 and 17 and how the children themselves describe in their family.

By using theories of power and governing, the thesis aims to study how the parent-child relationship is regulated through normative discourses and power processes in selected parenting courses (Connect and ABC). The thesis also wants to give children a voice about their position in the family. The interest of the thesis is how preventive work, through structured courses, currently used in universal parenting training, can contribute to promote children’s health.

Previous research on universal parenting training in Sweden is based primarily on health economic calculations and quantitative assessments of behavioural changes in children and parents. This thesis instead wants to study the values ​​and methodology of parenting training programs and the children's experiences in their family when parents have participated in parenting courses. With a children´s rights perspective, the thesis also wishes to highlight the parenting support in relation to the children's situation.

The thesis contains four qualitative studies. Two are conducted with discourse analysis (Study I and III) and two use content analysis (Study II and IV). Study I examines two public investigations from 1947 and 2008, both of which deal with child rearing, parenting and parenting education. Study II explores the contents of the course manuals of the Canadian Connect program and Swedish All Children in Focus (ABC) in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Study III examines how principles ​​about parental skills and children’s actions are reflected in the parenting courses. Study IV describes children's experiences of being children in the families where the parents have participated in a parenting course.

The findings in study I show that society's views on parents' relational ability in both investigations creates the prerequisite for acting politically for universal parenting training. The children's position is subordinate to adults in the investigations. Furthermore, in Study II, it appears that the content of both program manuals (Connect and ABC) is in accordance with Swedish public health policies, where parental ability can be seen as a protective factor for children's development. The study also shows that the courses can both restrain and promote children's participation. Study III shows that leaders at course meetings encourage parents to improve their parenting through self-control and conflict management. Parental capacity is seen as a determinant for children's development and health. In study IV, with children´s interviews, the children´s relate their views on the relationship with their parents and the children´s own relational ability.

Throughout the thesis the findings show how an adult perspective is used to deal with conflicts and stabilize relationships in the family. An adult ambition to understand children and promote good relationships within the family is hampered by the concern of both society and parents for the parental child rearing ability. This concern can contribute to an uneven balance of power between adults and children. Preventive manual-based parenting training offers limited scope for children's influence in a health-promoting public health context. Children's experiences should thus be captured when society provides parenting support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2018
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 276
National Category
Social Sciences Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41198 (URN)978-91-7485-410-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-11-29, Delta, Mälardalens Högskola, Västerås, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-18 Created: 2018-10-18 Last updated: 2018-12-11Bibliographically approved

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Rooth, HettySöderbäck, Maja

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