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All Parents in Focus: Governing parents and children in universal parenting training
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. (ChiP)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4333-601X
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: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41198ISBN: 978-91-7485-410-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-41198DiVA, id: diva2:1256950
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
List of papers
1. An Assessment of Two Parenting Training Manuals Used in Swedish Parenting Interventions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Assessment of Two Parenting Training Manuals Used in Swedish Parenting Interventions
2017 (English)In: Children & society, ISSN 0951-0605, E-ISSN 1099-0860, Vol. 31, no 6, p. 510-522Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, all parents of children aged 0–18 years are entitled to attend free parenting courses as part of a national strategy presented by the Government in 2009. This broad parental support welfare strategy is expected to fulfil the intentions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this study, two parenting training manuals were analysed: the Canadian Connect program, based on attachment theory, and the Swedish ABC program, based on social learning theory. The results indicate that the manuals use strategies that can both hinder and support children's rights, regardless of rhetoric of children's best interests. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and National Children's Bureau

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2017
Keywords
children, children's rights, parenting, policy and practise, welfare, child, child parent relation, human, Social Learning Theory, theoretical model
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-38203 (URN)10.1111/chso.12220 (DOI)000412231600008 ()2-s2.0-85017356539 (Scopus ID)
Note

Export Date: 23 January 2018; Article; Correspondence Address: Rooth, H.; School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen UniversitySweden; email: hetty.rooth@mdh.se

Available from: 2018-01-23 Created: 2018-01-23 Last updated: 2019-10-01Bibliographically approved
2. Trusted and doubted: Discourses of parenting training in two Swedish official inquiries, 1947 and 2008
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Trusted and doubted: Discourses of parenting training in two Swedish official inquiries, 1947 and 2008
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 46, no 20_suppl, p. 59-65Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: The aim of this study was to analyse discourses of parenting training in official inquires in Sweden that explicitly deal with the bringing up of children and parental education and how the representations of the problems and their solutions affect parental subject positions in the early welfare state and at the onset of the 21st century. Method: We carried out a discourse analysis of two public inquiries of 1947 and 2008, drawing on theories about governmentality and power regimes. Tools from political discourse analysis were used to investigate the objectives of political discourse practices. Results: Both inquiries referred to a context of change and new life demands as a problem. Concerning suggestions for solutions, there were discrepancies in parents’ estimated need of expert knowledge and in descriptions of parental capacity. In a discourse of trust and doubt, the parents in 1947 were positioned as trusted welfare partners and secure raisers of future generations, and in 2008, as doubted adults, feared to be faltering in their child-rearing tasks. Conclusions: The analysis revealed how governmental problem descriptions, reasoning about causes and suggestions of solutions influenced parents’ subject positions in a discourse of trust and doubt, and made way for governmental interventions with universal parenting training in the 21st century. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-38916 (URN)10.1177/1403494817747168 (DOI)000428758300009 ()29552973 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85044128662 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-04-05 Created: 2018-04-05 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved
3. Competent parents with natural children: Parent and child identities in manual-based parenting courses in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Competent parents with natural children: Parent and child identities in manual-based parenting courses in Sweden
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
Keywords
Children, discourses of parenting training, parents, public health, social services, Sweden
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40378 (URN)10.1177/0907568218759586 (DOI)000439350900008 ()2-s2.0-85043341300 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-08-17 Created: 2018-08-17 Last updated: 2018-11-05Bibliographically approved
4. Being a child in the family: Young children describe themselves and their parents who have participated in universal parenting training
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Being a child in the family: Young children describe themselves and their parents who have participated in universal parenting training
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
Children parents universal parenting training children´s rights
National Category
Social Sciences Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41191 (URN)
Projects
Doctoral thesis
Available from: 2018-10-18 Created: 2018-10-18 Last updated: 2018-12-06Bibliographically approved

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