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Becoming a parent: Negotiating the practice of parenthood

West, Nancy 2012. Becoming a parent: Negotiating the practice of parenthood. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The thesis aims to contribute to a natural history of family life and the study of family practices by investigating the everyday hazards encountered in routine parenting and the resources on which parents draw in helping them manage these. It seeks to understand how first-time parents manage the transition, the difficulties they encounter, including tensions in their own relationship, and the sources of enjoyment as they negotiate their new identities. This longitudinal, qualitative study followed seven heterosexual couples over the first year of their becoming parents and data was generated through the use of in-depth interviews at four points over a year. Other techniques, such as audio and photo diaries, were employed to further elicit different types of data. I explore couples’ accounts of the pressures on parenting and their understanding of what is involved in trying to meet contemporary parenting ideals. The messy business of parenting brings with it discursive and practical dilemmas – breastfeeding advice when a mother is in pain, advice on sleep routines when parents are on their knees with exhaustion. Experts (both professional and popular) can provide support, as can family and friends. But this also has the potential to undermine parents’ own expertise. My research examines the practices they use in responding to the needs of a baby and notions of the ‘right way to parent’ and asks how advice and support contribute to the development of their self confidence and identities. There are also pressures arising from contemporary discourses of the ‘good’ mother and ‘involved’ father. But rather than examining mothers and fathers in isolation, the research asks how partners together manage ideals of shared parenting

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:12

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