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“One Han Cyaah Clap”: Understanding Bidirectionality in Jamaican Mother-Child Relationships

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Title: “One Han Cyaah Clap”: Understanding Bidirectionality in Jamaican Mother-Child Relationships
Author: Burke, Taniesha
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Program: Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Advisor: Kuczynski, Leon
Abstract: Previous research on Jamaican mother-child relationships has focused on parental roles as socialisation agents and selected discipline practices such as corporal punishment. This is a narrow focus that has obscured children’s contributions to parent-child interactions, as well as the domains of the parent-child relationship that explore relatedness and intimacy. Moreover, there has been minimal research on the communal cultural context of Jamaican parent-child relationships. To address these concerns, the purpose of the present study was to examine Jamaican parent-child relationships more comprehensively to provide greater insight into the family dynamics and interactions. The research goal was to investigate how Jamaican mothers of school-aged children (middle childhood) perceived their relationship with their children. Three questions were asked: (1) How do mothers perceive the network of individuals who care for the children and their roles and responsibilities in these networks? (2) How do Jamaican mothers perceive their relationship with their children in the domains of authority and relatedness (closeness and intimacy) and; (3) Do mothers perceive their children as influential agents, and do they value their children’s agency?  Qualitative methodology was used in this study. Thirty mothers (17 middle class, 13 lower) participated in a one to one-and-a half hour open-ended interview.  The age of the children who were the focus of the interview ranged from 8 to 12 years. Thematic analyses indicated several themes: (a) the mother-child relationship was embedded in a collectivistic culture, with multiple members from the family, and the community actively involved in parenting; (b) Jamaican mother-child relationships consisted of strict control and intimate interactions. Mothers predominantly exhibited firmness in rule setting and strict enforcement in their discipline practices. They reported diverse forms of resistance from their children that were comparable with Canadian samples, but they were uncomfortable with children’s resistance, and mostly responded with punitive actions. Despite the strict nature of the mother-child relationship, Jamaican mothers reported frequent interactions of closeness and intimacy that were created by themselves and their children. Finally, mothers acknowledged children’s influence in the form of both constructive and resistant manifestations of agency. Implications for cross-cultural theory and social policy are discussed.
Date: 2016-09
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada