Parental knowledge construction in middle childhood: A thematic analysis of parents' narratives

Wojciechowska, Izabella
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University of Guelph

Over a span of several decades, researchers have documented an association between parental knowledge of children’s out-of-sight experiences and child adjustment outcomes. However, the processes leading to parental knowledge construction are poorly understood at present. This study sought to explore parents’ perspectives on how knowledge construction occurs. Eighteen mothers and fathers of children aged 8-13 years participated in semi-structured interviews and their responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. In my analysis, I conceptualized parental knowledge as a dynamic mental representation of children’s out-of-sight experiences. I presented four themes that captured the ways parents described constructing knowledge about their children’s whereabouts and out-of-sight activities: (a) parent-child knowledge co-construction, (b) knowledge construction through observation, (c) knowledge co-construction with others, and (d) projection of reality. The analysis presented provides a novel perspective on parental knowledge construction that I argue has been historically conceptualized by researchers as a linear process of information accumulation.

Middle childhood, Parental knowledge, Parental monitoring, Child disclosure