The management of family routines by single, Xhosa-speaking mothers with young children

De Goede, Christine (2018-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: The majority (40%) of South African children are raised by single mothers. Single mothers often deal with a unique combination of social and economic stressors, putting them and their children at greater risk of a range of negative outcomes. Yet family routines can be a vital resilience resource. Routines help to maintain order and stability in the home; they foster a sense of belonging and group cohesion; and they are spaces where caretakers teach children unique context-specific competencies and values. In this grounded theory study, single (i.e. unmarried and unpartnered) Xhosa-speaking mothers (N = 26) who live in abject poverty were sampled from several peri-urban, informal settlements outside of Cape Town, South Africa. The study’s aim was to understand how these women manage their family routines after becoming parents. Semi-structured interviews (n = 21) and naturalistic home observations (n = 8) showed that routines can be hampered by maternal Intrapsychic risks (e.g. cognitive and affective difficulties such as stress and anxiety, feelings of worthlessness or psychological unpreparedness for motherhood), normative Parenting challenges (e.g. child misbehaviour or parental inexperience), Scheduling challenges (e.g. time starvation or chaotic daily rosters), Interpersonal risks (e.g. community stigma, not meeting family-of-origin expectations, or conflict with the biological father), and Economic risks (e.g. unemployment, halted education, or lack of basic needs). Yet women inherently also experienced personal growth during this phase of life and tapped into an extensive range of intra- and interpersonal competencies. The management of family routines concerned five adaptive processes: Managing maternal mental health (e.g. cognitive, affective, conative and behavioural strategies that mothers used to retain or regain positive feelings, achieve role balance, and increase motivation); Assistive parent-child actions and interactions during routines (e.g. immediate mother-child transactions within the proximal space that improved task execution and mother-child experiences); Scheduling actions (e.g. strategies that helped women manage limited resources such as time, balance packed rosters, and improve timetable stability); Managing and coordinating significant adult relationships (e.g. extra- and intrafamilial adult relationships that mothers cultivated and accessed for support); and Attenuating economic risks. The findings demonstrate the profoundly dynamic nature of the management process, highlighting key pre- and postpartum contextual obstacles, as well as powerful strengths in single-mother families. To bolster family routines, practitioners should not focus exclusively on postpartum phases of adaptation, but also consider the events that cause women’s single-parent status and the impact of these experiences on maternal mental health.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die meerderheid (40%) van Suid-Afrikaanse kinders word deur enkelmoeders groot gemaak. Enkelmoeders word dikwels gekonfronteer met 'n unieke kombinasie van sosiale en ekonomiese stressors, wat hulle en hul kinders tot ‘n groter risiko stem vir 'n reeks negatiewe uitkomste. Tog, gesinsroetines kan 'n belangrike veerkragtigheids hulpbron wees. Roetines help om orde en stabiliteit in die huis te handhaaf; dit bevorder 'n gevoel van samehorigheid en groepskohesie; en dit is ruimtes waar versorgers unieke konteksspesifieke vaardighede en waardes aan kinders kan oordra. In hierdie gegronde-teorie studie is enkellopende (d.w.s. ongetroude en onverbonde) Xhosa-sprekende ma’s (N = 26) wat in armoede leef, uit informele nedersettings buite Kaapstad, Suid-Afrika, op toevallige wyse betrek by die studie. Die doel van die studie was om te verstaan hoe hierdie vroue hul gesinsroetines bestuur nadat hulle ouers geword het. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude (n = 21) en naturalistiese tuiswaarnemings (n = 8) het getoon dat roetines bemoeilik kan word deur ma’s se Intrapsigiese risiko's (bv. kognitiewe en affektiewe probleme soos stres en angs, gevoelens van waardeloosheid, of sielkundige onvoorbereidheid vir moederskap), normatiewe Ouerskapsuitdagings (bv. kinder wangedrag, of onervare ouers), Skeduleringsuitdagings (bv. ‘n gebrek aan tyd of chaotiese daaglikse roosters), Interpersoonlike risiko's (bv. gemeenskapsstigma, om nie aan gesin-van-oorsprong se verwagtinge te voldoen nie, of konflik met die biologiese vader), en Ekonomiese risiko's (bv. werkloosheid, onderbroke opvoeding, of ‘n gebrek aan basiese behoeftes). Tog het die ma’s persoonlike groei ervaar gedurende hierdie lewensfase en 'n wye verskeidenheid intra- en interpersoonlike vaardighede gebruik. Die bestuur van gesinsroetines het betrekking tot vyf aanpassingsprosesse: die Bestuur van ma’s se geestesgesondheid (bv. kognitiewe, affektiewe, konatiewe, en gedragstrategieë wat ma’s gebruik het om positiewe gevoelens te behou of te herwin, rolbalans te bereik, en motivering te verhoog); Behulpsame moeder-kind aksies en interaksies tydens roetines (bv. onmiddellike moeder-kind transaksies binne die proksimale ruimte wat taakuitvoering en moeder-kind ervarings verbeter het); Skeduleringsaksies (bv. strategieë wat ma’s gehelp het om beperkte hulpbronne, soos tyd, te bestuur, belaaide roosters te balanseer, en roosterstabiliteit te verbeter); die Bestuur en koördinering van belangrike volwasse verhoudinge (bv. verhoudinge met eksterne- en intragesins volwassenes wat ma’s gekweek het en gebruik het vir ondersteuning); en die Vermindering van ekonomiese risiko's. Die bevindinge het die uiters dinamiese aard van die bestuursproses getoon, met die klem op pre- en postpartum kontekstuele struikelblokke, asook kragtige vaardighede in enkelmoedergesinne. Om gesinsroetines te versterk moet praktisyns nie uitsluitlik fokus op die postpartumfases van aanpassing nie. Praktisyns moet ook die gebeure wat vroue se enkelouerstatus veroorsaak, en die impak van hierdie ervarings op ma’s se geestesgesondheid, oorweeg.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103334
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