ERIC Number: ED206827
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jun
The Experience of Parenthood, Family Phase and Adult Development: An Exploration of Parents' Perceptions.
Nelson, JoAnn Neville
Parents experience parenthood as a state of personal growth, and share common concerns about their children and the parenting experience, according to a study of 30 middle class couples in a midwestern university community. Some of the common themes noted in group conversations about the subjective experience of parenthood include the recognition of the individuality of children; the valuing of interpersonal relationships; parents' feelings of having invested something of themselves in their children; concern for personal and social values; increased self-awareness; feelings of love and tenderness; insight; empathy; the growth of patience and tolerance; increased value of the use of reason; and worry about the power of outside forces. Some differences were found in the importance parents placed on certain of these themes according to the age of their children and the age and sex of parents. Parents of younger children stressed "positive affect and trust," qualities of experience that parents apparently discover in the early childhood years. These parents also expressed significantly more self-concerns, including anxieties about time and privacy, self-control, and energy and endurance. On the other hand, parents of young adult children expressed more ideas of empathy, or questioning of the self, and respect for the child's autonomy, as well as concern for the power of outside forces. The study suggests that parenthood is a dynamic process marked by periods of stress mingled with changing satisfactions and frustrations which parents believe contribute to their personal growth. Implications drawn from the study suggest that parent education serves to reinforce parents' self-competence and sense of self-esteem. (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Individual Development, Parent Aspiration, Parent Attitudes, Parent Child Relationship, Parent Conferences, Parent Education, Parent Influence, Parent Role, Parents, Postsecondary Education, Self Actualization, Self Concept, Self Esteem, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Values Clarification
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper based on a research report presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Home Economics Association (Atlantic City, NJ, June 22, 1981).