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The views of parents who experience intergenerational poverty on parenting and play: A qualitative analysis

Smith, R.L., Stagnitti, K., Lewis, A.J. and Pépin, G. (2015) The views of parents who experience intergenerational poverty on parenting and play: A qualitative analysis. Child: Care, Health and Development, 41 (6). pp. 873-881.

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There is minimal literature on how parents experiencing intergenerational poverty view their role as parents and the value they place on children's play. The objective of this study was to examine how these parents view their parenting role and their beliefs about children's play.

Thirteen mothers of preschool-aged children who experienced intergenerational poverty were recruited to the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and were analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis.

Parents described their role as guiding their children to become ‘good’ people, to teach them skills and provide a routine within the home. There were two disconnections in the data including the view that whilst parenting was hard and lonely, it was also a private matter and participants preferred not to seek support. A second disconnection was in terms of their beliefs about play. Parents believed that whilst play was valuable to their child's development, it was not their role to play with children. However, if parents did play with their child, they noticed positive changes in their child's behaviour.

The views of parents who experienced intergenerational poverty were similar to other reported findings in parenting studies. However, the current sample differed on not seeking help for support as well as not seeing their role as playing with their children, even though occasions of joining their child in play were associated with a positive change in their relationship with their child. This has implications for communicating about parenting issues with parents who have experienced intergenerational poverty.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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