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Parenting Skills with Conduct Disordered Pre-Adolescents
Parenting Skills with Conduct Disordered Pre-Adolescents

Section 20
Various Factors Affecting Parent Roles

CEU Question 16 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Parenting
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Employment-related issues
Parents' breadwinning role is not only a major resource in raising healthy children but also a key means by which parents participate in society. As such, parents may derive considerable self-esteem and social self-esteem Parenting counselor CEU coursesupport from paid work which can have positive flow-on effects for children. Nevertheless, the demands of paid work may at times compete with those linked with family life.

It is thus not surprising that themes concerning the benefits and difficulties surrounding paid work emerged in parents' stories. In particular, parents discussed work conditions (hours, flexibility and income) in relation to themselves and their partners and the psychological rewards and costs of paid work. For some parents being unemployed or having stopped working to care for children created both financial and non-financial pressures:

"We're financially comfortable which makes it much much easier. My partner works part-time ... and I've got flexible hours, so that makes it much easier." (Anglo parent)

"I think the fact that I get six days off work in between shifts makes it easier. It'd be a lot more difficult if I didn't have that. I find it very satisfying just watching the kids grow up." (Anglo parent)

"Oh I love working. The satisfaction of being back and working is fantastic for me. I think I'd be bored out of my brain if I was still at home." (Anglo parent)

"Well, I've got some balance of work and child care in my life. I'd really hate not to work. Even though it seems very difficult to work, I wouldn't like not working." (Anglo parent)

"I can go out to work and have social contact." (Vietnamese parent, 12 years residence)

"From my work I gain knowledge and experiences about children such as family, parents, interrelation-ship, etc." (Vietnamese parent, 15 years residence)

"The things that make my life more difficult is the time my husband is not here. If I know he's coming home at 6 o'clock at night then that's fine. But when it's sort of 7:30 to 8 o'clock, or he's going to work on weekends, that's when it makes it harder for me." (Anglo parent)

"I work full-time and I can't have as much time as I want for my children. I always struggle between my duty as a parent and my career." (Vietnamese parent, 15 years residence)

"Nowadays parents have to work and so have little time to spend with their kids - probably only have the night to spend with kids and communicate and all that. For working parents, it is very hard." (TSI key informant)

"Financially, we are not well-off and it makes [parenting] difficult. I am not working much and am not earning as I was, and when you have a child you want to give them everything, and financial concern makes that hard. Those sorts of restrictions can feel limiting." (Anglo parent)

"We are lower income people. We are poor materially and financially. It is difficult, especially now that my son is going to high school -there's school fees, uniform and many other needs ..." (Vietnamese parent, 14 years residence)

Multiple roles, time and responsibilities involved
A sense of burden linked with the competing demands of work, home and school-related and other child-related activities emerged as a fairly strong theme in parents' comments:

"Oh probably coping with everything ... working ... doing things that I'm expected to do with P's school or that I sort of thing I'm expected to do. And at A's at playgroup I'm on the committees ... and I'm on a lot of committees at school so I'm sort of torn between a lot of things ... trying to do the lot." (Anglo parent)

"Juggling three roles - working, hospital visits 45 minutes away and finding time for other children's activities including their careers." (Anglo parent)

"I perform three duties at the same time - work, taking care of children and housework. I am always busy, and hardly have time for myself." (Vietnamese parent, 11 years residence)

"My wife's health - when she became sick. I am afraid I won't be able to cope with work, housework, taking care of children and her all at the same time." (Vietnamese parent, 17 years residence)

Family-focused sources of influences
The structural characteristics of the family along with its internal dynamics and personal attributes of its members were seen as important factors influencing parenting. At times these were portrayed as being closely linked with access to support networks and the balancing of work and family life (discussed earlier).

Structural characteristics of the family
While some parents in couple families regretted the fact that their partner's work commitments interfered with their parenting role, some single parents in the study highlighted the difficulties they faced in not having a partner to support them in their parenting role, most particularly in the provision of emotional support:

"Raising your child alone by yourself, especially when the child is sick, there is no one for you to share your worry, your concern." (Vietnamese parent, 3 years residence)

"I think being alone - being a single parent - makes it hard ... because you've sort of got no one to fall back on and no one to express what you're feeling." (Anglo parent)

"Because I'm a single parent, I feel it's important to have that family. A child has to have to grow up in a family atmosphere, they have to have a father figure, that I can't give my boys. They have to reflect on their uncles ... they have to look at their uncles for that." (TSI mother)

Quality of marital and family relationships
It appears that partners who share a close supportive relationship are also likely to have good relationships with their children. While Okagaki and Divecha (1993) surmised that high quality relationships with both partner and children stem from personal skills, others have argued that a close and supportive relationship between parents helps promote competent parenting (Belsky 1984; Crnic et al. 1983; Dickstein and Parke 1988 in Okagaki and Divecha 1993).

Anglo and Vietnamese parents were specifically asked about their relationship with their partner. Consistent with previous research (Coombs 1991; Stack and Eshleman 1998; Evans and Kelley 1990) the majority considered themselves to be "very close" to their partner (88 per cent Anglo; 82 per cent Vietnamese) and felt "satisfied" with their relationship (91 per cent Anglo; 86 per cent Vietnamese). Thus, despite the above-noted comments of some parents about their partner's work hours interfering with their parenting roles, a number of parents indicated that they appreciated how much their partner supported them both emotionally and practically in caring for the children.

"I know myself very well and my husband. We have a very good foundation, a good relationship, so I think it's easier to have children when you've got that sort of strong background." (Anglo parent)

"My husband is a good man. He is quite helpful in housework and emotional support." (Vietnamese parent, 11 years residence)

"It's our family circumstances ... we're all close and we can talk easily I suppose. That all makes it all very easy for us if we can all discuss things pretty easily." (Anglo parent)

- Soriano, Grace, Weston, Ruth & Kolar Violet; Meeting the challenges of parenting; Family Matters; Autumn 2001; Issue 58.

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Personal Reflection Exercise #6
The preceding section contained information about various factors affecting parent roles.  Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 20
According to Soriano, what helps promote competent parenting? Record the letter of the correct answer the CEU Answer Booklet.

 
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