Title

Mothering occupations: Conceptualizing parenting as a relational role

1

Location

Studio 1

Start Time

20-10-2017 9:30 AM

End Time

20-10-2017 11:30 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Background: It can be argued that the family focused literature within OS has viewed parenting as an individualistic and bidirectional approach to parent-child interactions. This current conceptualization is not fully able to capture the complexities that are associated with family beliefs and values, the multitude of social influences on parenting occupations, or the cultural world of parents as a whole. This paper, guided by the principals of life course sociology (Elder, 1998), aims to conceptualize parenting occupations as transactions among parents’ historical contexts, their cultural situation as a whole, and their social roles.

Methods: The larger study explored how mothers, who were primary caregivers of typically developing children between the ages of 2 and 6, manage everyday interactions with their children and make decisions regarding everyday parenting. Charmaz’s (2014) constructivist grounded theory methodology was used to analyze twenty-two interviews from twelve mothers using open, focused, axial, and theoretical coding in order to construct a framework of parental decision-making. The results presented here are one aspect of the larger study.

Results: Consistent with the concept of pathways within life course sociology, this study identified the interconnected and dynamic nature of a woman’s role as a mother, wife, student, daughter, etc., the temporal continuity of these roles, as well as the life events that may change these roles over time. This study also found, however, that the role of mother, itself, contains multiple interconnected roles. These include the roles of caregiver, nurturer, educator, protector, and learner. The findings indicated that these categories are not mutually exclusive, as every mother in the study described engaging in occupations to fulfill all of these roles either singularly or in concert with each other.

Implications for OS: This study has several implications for occupational science. First, instead of describing parenting as an occupation or co-occupation, the findings of this study revealed that it is more appropriate to study parenting as a relational role encompassing multiple occupations. Further, the study emphasizes the parent-child relationship as a transactional process rather than describing it as a bidirectional interaction. Finally, the findings from this study attempt to understand mothers as more holistic occupational beings, including their historical contexts, their present socio-cultural situations, and their everyday parenting occupations.

References

Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing Grounded Theory (Second Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Elder, G.H., Jr. (1998). The life course as developmental theory. Child Development, 69, 1, 1-12.

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Oct 20th, 9:30 AM Oct 20th, 11:30 AM

Mothering occupations: Conceptualizing parenting as a relational role

Studio 1

Background: It can be argued that the family focused literature within OS has viewed parenting as an individualistic and bidirectional approach to parent-child interactions. This current conceptualization is not fully able to capture the complexities that are associated with family beliefs and values, the multitude of social influences on parenting occupations, or the cultural world of parents as a whole. This paper, guided by the principals of life course sociology (Elder, 1998), aims to conceptualize parenting occupations as transactions among parents’ historical contexts, their cultural situation as a whole, and their social roles.

Methods: The larger study explored how mothers, who were primary caregivers of typically developing children between the ages of 2 and 6, manage everyday interactions with their children and make decisions regarding everyday parenting. Charmaz’s (2014) constructivist grounded theory methodology was used to analyze twenty-two interviews from twelve mothers using open, focused, axial, and theoretical coding in order to construct a framework of parental decision-making. The results presented here are one aspect of the larger study.

Results: Consistent with the concept of pathways within life course sociology, this study identified the interconnected and dynamic nature of a woman’s role as a mother, wife, student, daughter, etc., the temporal continuity of these roles, as well as the life events that may change these roles over time. This study also found, however, that the role of mother, itself, contains multiple interconnected roles. These include the roles of caregiver, nurturer, educator, protector, and learner. The findings indicated that these categories are not mutually exclusive, as every mother in the study described engaging in occupations to fulfill all of these roles either singularly or in concert with each other.

Implications for OS: This study has several implications for occupational science. First, instead of describing parenting as an occupation or co-occupation, the findings of this study revealed that it is more appropriate to study parenting as a relational role encompassing multiple occupations. Further, the study emphasizes the parent-child relationship as a transactional process rather than describing it as a bidirectional interaction. Finally, the findings from this study attempt to understand mothers as more holistic occupational beings, including their historical contexts, their present socio-cultural situations, and their everyday parenting occupations.