Parenting, songwriting and violence : perceptions of participants in three parenting groups

Bruderer, Helen (2007). Parenting, songwriting and violence : perceptions of participants in three parenting groups MPhil Thesis, School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences, University of Queensland.

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Author Bruderer, Helen
Thesis Title Parenting, songwriting and violence : perceptions of participants in three parenting groups
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Yvonne Darlington
Language eng
Subjects 1607 Social Work
Formatted abstract
Parenting is a complex function for even well-resourced parents. For parents who have experienced abuse in their own childhoods it is often more difficult to understand and meet the needs of their children. Parenting education programs generally provide education relating to childhood development as well as teaching underlying principles about children's behaviour and other specific skills or strategies for managing children. The parenting program discussed in this thesis aimed to not only address the issues impacting on the parents' ability to parent safely and effectively but also give the parents an opportunity to find their voice and tell of the abuse that they endured throughout their childhood, and for the majority of the participants, throughout their adult relationships and its impact on their parenting.

This thesis reports on participants' experiences in a parenting program for mothers andlor expectant mothers who had experienced abuse in their own childhood and who were identified as having harmed or were 'at risk' of harming their children. The program used the music therapy technique of song-writing as a tool to assist the participants to reveal their experiences, feelings and fears. The songs and verse written by the participants either individually or as a group were recorded onto compact disc. It was an educative and therapeutic approach to parenting. The project consisted of three parenting programs. Each program ran over a period of twelve weeks in a community venue in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.

Qualitative methods were implemented in this exploratory study to gain the perspectives of 20 participants. Data were collected through focus groups and questionnaires. Participants overwhelmingly perceived their experiences as positive. They reported growth both personally and in their parenting practices. Participants perceived that the group environment was respectful wherein they felt safe and reported that they were listened to and believed.

The study suggests parenting programs aimed at vulnerable parents need to be both educative and therapeutic. Meeting the needs of the parents is paramount to parents being able to meet the needs of their children that then reduce the risk of harm to the children. The study further identified that listening is a key skill in the facilitation of these programs, and being non-judgemental was identified as a core value for facilitators.

To witness the women's journeys over 12 weeks was like witnessing a "rebirthing". The women were determined to change their lives for the betterment of their children, moving from being consumed by their powerlessness and hopelessness, and fuelled by anger, to being able to identify not only the needs and rights of their children but determined that these needs are met and their rights are upheld.
Keyword Parenting
Parenting -- Study and teaching
Abused women
Additional Notes Other Title: Journey unknown : strength to strength

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:55:52 EST