Exploring parents’ perceptions of child-rearing anxieties
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:44 by Christina Comino
In this thesis, I examine current trends in parenting on the Central Coast, New South Wales (NSW). I explore the concerns, perceptions and everyday experiences of parents with children under five. Specifically, I aim to analyse the anxieties and concerns of parents during child-rearing and how this affects their everyday life. Parenting has become "expert guided, child-centred, emotionally absorbing and financially expensive" (Hays 1996). I will examine the underlying social expectations that allow for a more intensive form of parenting to exist. The impact of different forms of advice and gendered notions of mothering are explored to highlight how they affect parents’ feelings of guilt, judgement and self-doubt. My research also explores the role that the media plays in making parents feel anxious, guilty or judged, based on their child-rearing choices. My research is based upon in-depth interviews with 12 parents and four professionals within child-related industries and participant observation at a local playgroup over six months. Overall, I concluded that there are several key interrelated societal factors including mothers’ dual role as primary caregiver and employee, the conflict between mother’s sense of identity and childrearing responsibility and judgement from parents themselves and external sources, including friends, family and through social media.