Children’s Narratives on the Father-Child Relation
This paper emanates from the recent ideas which argue for importance of children’s voices. The ideas focus on legal rights of children and recognise their experiences as a valid perspective on any phenomenon. The child’s view has been widely used to understand various constructs; however parenting (especially fathering) in India still requires a wider understanding of children’s view. Nineteen focused group discussions (FGD) were conducted in Vadodara and in Delhi, in order to generate themes about children's views on their relation with their fathers. The discussions focused on the role of father, role of father versus role of mother, what fathers do for them, their expectations from their fathers and role of children. The children’s narratives about their fathers’ have common themes with respect to care, expectations and relationships across class, religion, region and gender. The children largely described their fathers as loving and caring beings, with respect to four themes: attachment with fathers, involvement of fathers in children’s life, expectations from fathers and father’s role in their lives and family. The themes overlap and signify ‘directionality’ in individuality of father-child relationship, that is, mutual effort towards the ‘other’. The children justified the role of the father as a disciplinarian but reported some vices which they wished their father did not have.
KeywordsChildren’s views on fathers Fathering in India Importance of fathers Listening to children
- Bornstein, M. (2005). Positive parenting and positive development in children. In R. J. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of applied developmental science (Vol-1: Applying developmental science for youth and families- Historical and theoretical foundations (pp. 155–178). New Delhi: Sage. Retrieved from https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/podzim2010/PSY516/um/Bornstein7.pdf.
- Boswell, G. (2002, February). Imprisoned fathers: The children’s view. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 41(1), 14–26. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1468-2311.00222/pdf.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Day, M., Kochar, R., Bawa, S., Mahalal, P., & Makkar, R. (n.d.). Unpacking care: Protecting early childhood. New Delhi: Centre for Early Childhood and Development, B.R. Ambedkar University.Google Scholar
- De Velasco, V. (2000). The voices of children. Early Childhood Matters, 94, 30–33. Retrieved from http://www.bibalex.org/Search4Dev/files/294126/124568.pdf.
- Doucet, A. (2004). Fathers and the responsibility for children: A puzzle or a tension. Atlantis, 28(2), 103–111. Retrieved from http://journals.msvu.ca/index.php/atlantis/article/view/1201/1135.
- Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
- Krueger, R. (2002, October). Designing and conducting focus group interviews. Minnesota, USA. Retrieved from http://www.eiu.edu/ihec/Krueger-FocusGroupInterviews.pdf.
- Kumari, A. (2008). Father involvement: As children view it. Unpublished master’s thesis, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Baroda, India.Google Scholar
- Madge, N., & Willmont, N. (2007). Children’s views and experiences of parenting. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. National Children’s Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/.../childrens-views-parenting.pdf.
- Pruett, K. D. (2001). Father need: Why father care is as essential as mother care for your child. New York: Broadway Books.Google Scholar
- Ptacek, R. (2016, October 24–25). Identifying child’s opinion/hearing of a child a psychological perspective. Retrieved from http://www.ejtn.eu/PageFiles/12464/Identifying%20child’s%20opinion.pdf.
- Richter, L., & Smith, W. (2006). Children’s view of fathers. In L. M. Richter (Ed.), Baba: Men and fatherhood in South Africa (pp. 155–172). Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
- Tuli, M., Chaudhary, N., & Bhargava, P. (2005) Socio-cultural images of motherhood: Individual variations of a collective construct. In Paper presented at the Asian-African region seminar on ‘parenting across lifespan: Challenges and opportunities.’ At Department of Human Development and Family Studies, M.S. University of Baroda, February 16–18, 2005.Google Scholar
- Viruru, R. (2001). Early childhood education postcolonial perspectives from India. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar