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Parental Suffering and Resilience Among Recently Displaced Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

  • Bree AkessonEmail author
  • Cindy Sousa
Original Paper
  • 35 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives

Parents are an essential source of constancy and support, and effectively promote children’s resilience even in adversity. To build on this potential, however, more information is needed about the realities of refugee parents in situations of extreme adversity such as war and displacement.

Methods

The present study draws upon data from collaborative family interviews with 46 families (n = 351) who fled Syria and are now living as refugees in Lebanon.

Results

The findings describe the challenges parents faced and the ways they attempted to endure within three temporal dimensions: the past (pre-flight and flight); the present (initial resettlement in the Lebanon); and the future (hopes and aspirations for resettlement). From the start of the war, parents’ foremost priority was protecting their children. Parents spoke about distress caused by family separation, and the loss of the norms, social support, and sense of parental efficacy. Parents also described their own mental health issues related to war and displacement, which influenced their parenting. At the same time, parents’ narratives highlighted how they continued—and even amplified—their caregiving. Parents comforted and distracted their children to help them endure the challenging realties of war and displacement. In Lebanon, parents restricted their children’s mobility to try to keep them safe, provided moral guidance, increased family closeness and communication, and planned for children’s futures, particularly through education.

Conclusions

Programs to support child protection must broaden the focus to include the whole family unit, specifically the mental health of caregivers as a means of supporting family wellbeing. (250/250 words).

Keywords

Syrian refugees parenting War Displacement Family Resilience 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant #430-2015-00650).

Author Contributions

BA designed and executed the study, conducted the initial data analysis, co-wrote the first draft, and collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript. CS conducted a secondary data analysis, co-wrote the first draft, and collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Wilfrid Laurier University Research Ethics Board (#5013) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social WorkWilfrid Laurier UniversityBrantfordCanada
  2. 2.Graduate School of Social Work and Social ResearchBryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA

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