Parenting in disadvantaged communities

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Parenting in disadvantaged communities in the AIFS library catalogue

Parenting practices and behaviours.

Lucas N, Nicholson J and Maguire B
The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2010. Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011: 43-55
What does parenting look like in Australian families? How does it change as children get older? How do parents judge the quality of their own parenting? Do family circumstances affect parenting? This chapter describes the parenting practices of mothers and fathers between 2004 and 2008, for children aged 0-9 years, based on data from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children'. It also examines variations in these practices according to parent and child characteristics, and family circumstances. Measures include parental warmth, hostile parenting, inductive reasoning, consistent parenting, overprotective parenting, and parenting self-efficacy, for mothers, fathers, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, mother age, mother working hours, and child age.

Is parenting a class issue?

Klett-Davies M
London : Family & Parenting Institute, 2010.
This timely book examines the connection between social class and parenting. It reveals how widening class inequalities have affected family life and parenting practices, and raises fundamental questions about class perceptions in policy and family support practice. Key issues addressed are: the rise of the 'professional' parent and the extent to which perceived good parenting is identified with middle-class values; the standardisation of parenting, and whether parenting classes are for reassurance or real learning; the relationship of class position to the construction of maternal moralities; the concept of the family as a transmission belt for the reproduction of class inequalities; working-class family values: how working-class families deal with challenges, the use of the deficit model in family support, the concept of the low income 'city survivor' family."

Families experiencing multiple disadvantage: their use of and views on childcare provision

Speight S
London : Dept. for Children, Schools and Families, 2010.
"The [British] Government's Every Child Matters programme aims to provide all children with the support they need to meet the five key objectives of being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic well-being. However, this can be a challenge for families that experience multiple disadvantage (including, for example, worklessness, poor skills, material deprivation, poor health, family breakdown), as research suggests that experience of multiple disadvantage can have a compounding effect on families ... It is known that disadvantaged families (such as non-working families and families with a low income) are less likely to use formal childcare than families in better circumstances. Less research has been conducted on childcare use by multiply disadvantaged families. This report aims to contribute towards filling this gap, using data from the 2008 Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents to explore the experience of multiple problems among parents and the relationship between multiple disadvantage and childcare. The first stage of this study locates families along a continuum of disadvantage using a specially devised index of multiple disadvantage. The analysis in the report then uses this measure to explore patterns of childcare use, parents' views on local childcare provision, and how childcare and other issues influence maternal employment decisions, from the point of view of families experiencing multiple disadvantage."

Parents' incomes and children's outcomes: a quasi-experiment

Akee R
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2008.
"Identifying the effect of parental incomes on child outcomes is difficult due to the correlation of unobserved ability, education levels and income. Previous research has relied on the use of instrumental variables to identify the effect of a change in household income on the young adult outcomes of the household's children. In this research, we examine the role that an exogenous increase in household incomes due to a government transfer unrelated to household characteristics plays in the long run outcomes for children in affected households. We find that children who are in households affected by the cash transfer program have higher levels of education in their young adulthood and a lower incidence of criminality for minor offenses. These effects differ by initial household poverty status as is expected. Second, we explore two possible mechanisms through which this exogenous increase in household income affects the long run outcomes of children-parental time (quantity) and parental quality. Parental quality and child interactions show a marked improvement while changes in parental time with child does not appear to matter."

Disparities in school readiness : how families contribute to transitions into school

Booth A and Crouter A
New York : Lawrence Erlbaum, c2008.
This book discusses the role of families in influencing children's progression into school, their school readiness, using a variety of data sources including longitudinal data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of the Early Child and analyses of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study from the National Center for Education Statistics. It looks at the role of extracurricular activities in shaping achievement, including differences based on gender, ethnicity, race and socioeconomic status. It discusses the family role with respect to discrepencies in areas such as language and social skills that culminate in school readiness. The book is divided into four sections: inequalities in children's school readiness at school entry; effects of family processes on early brain development and academic skills acquisition (literacy, numeracy, language and cognitive skills); parental conceptualization and organization of non-familial experiences for children, and effects of child risk characteristics and family processes on the development of children's behavioural control.

Sole parents : changes and challenges.

Robinson E
Family Relationships Quarterly no. 10 2008: 6-7
The number of households in Australia headed by a sole parent has increased over recent years, and is likely to continue to do so. Sole parents are at increased risk of disadvantage in terms of employment, housing, income and social participation. This article discusses the effects of relationship breakdown, parenting responsibilities and associated disadvantages on the health and wellbeing of sole parents and how the experience of sole parenting may affect their ability to offer the caring and connected relationships that children need. The article considers the interplay between a child's wellbeing and the wellbeing of their parents. It finds evidence that a focus on quality relationships, regardless of family structure, is important for child outcomes, and calls for an understanding of the challenges faced by sole parents and adequate support to ensure stability, connectedness and wellbeing for all families.

Down our way : the relevance of neighbourhoods for parenting and child development

Barnes J
Chichester, England : John Wiley & Sons, c2007.
"The postcode lottery applies to more than the NHS; there are geographic disparities in a range of economic, health, social and academic outcomes. Where you live has relevance to the services available and to how well children do. This book presents the findings of the Families and Neighbourhoods Study, conducted in four contrasting locations in England, three of which are highly disadvantaged but one of which is affluent. It includes the views of a large number of parents who were asked about their neighbourhoods and how these influenced their lives and those of their children. The study gives an understanding of the extent and range of local friendships and other activities, membership in local groups, and what is valued or disliked in their neighbourhoods. More detailed interviews, with a smaller group of mothers, explore social networks and the type of support received (contrasting family and neighbours). They discuss in detail what the neighbourhood means to them, their fears for their children as they help them to explore and use neighbourhood facilities, and the strategies used to allow children to become independent and establish their own neighbourhood boundaries. 'Down Our Way' gives a unique evidence-based insight into neighbourhoods and parenting and effectively illustrates the influence of community on children and the family."

The relationship between parenting and poverty

Katz I
York England : Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007.

Impact of financial hardship on parenting behaviour: final report

Ng C
Collingwood, Vic : Anglicare Victoria, 2006
International research has demonstrated a link between economic hardship and parenting difficulties. This report presents the results of a pilot study seeking to determine whether the relationship between financial hardship and adverse parenting behaviour is also true for parents in Victoria. This behaviour may be manifested in parents being less responsive to children's needs, showing less affection to their children, and being inconsistent and more punitive in disciplining their children. Children may show the effects of this parenting behaviour by being more aggressive, hyperactive and being disciplined at school more frequently than other children. The report includes a literature review, a description of the study methodology and a discussion of its findings.

Parenting and families in Australia.

Zubrick S, Smith G, Nicholson J, Sanson A and Jackiewicz T
The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children 2005-06 annual report. Melbourne, Vic : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2006. 0642395446: 22-25
Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), this chapter highlights the link between parenting quality, parenting self efficacy, and the overall functioning of infants and children. The LSAC Outcome Index was designed to provide a general indication of how children are developing, and is a composite of the three domains of health and physical development; social and emotional functioning; and learning and academic competency. The LSAC data shows that, even when adjusted for parental income, education, employment, family structure and parental wellbeing, the independent association of poorer parenting quality with poorer developmental outcomes remains for both the children aged 0-1 (B or infant cohort) and the children aged 4-5 (K or child cohort).

Parenting : an ecological perspective

Okagaki L and Luster T
Mahwah, N.J. : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, c2005.

Neighbourhood influences on children.

Prior M
In: Richardson, S. and Prior, M. eds. No time to lose: the well-being of Australia's children. Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 2005, p201-228
Neighbourhoods and communities that children grow up in make a difference to learning and psychosocial outcomes for young people. This chapter discusses challenges faced when conducting research on neighbourhood effects, neighbourhood definition, types of disadvantage and the complexity of indicators and effects. It then explores neighbourhood influences on child development, looking at intelligence and educational outcomes, social and emotional outcomes, parenting, parental perceptions of neighbourhoods, poverty and parenting, facilities and role models, youth monitoring strategies, resource seeking strategies, in home learning strategies and educational contexts. The chapter reports on observations from planned community or neighbourhood based interventions in the USA and some Australian data on neighbourhood interventions.

Social disadvantage and families with young children.

Cameron H
Journal of Family Studies v. 11 no. 2 Oct 2005 297-316
This paper reports on aspects of Australian Research Council (ARC) funded research into the lives of families with young children who are living in socioeconomically disadvantaged circumstances. In general recognition of the impact of children's environments on their future paths, it focuses on demographic and location circumstances surrounding these families. The sample from which these data are gained comprises 512 families with young children between the ages of 0 to 7 years living in suburban areas of metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia. Views about family safety and perceptions about trusting and connecting with others in their neighbourhoods are included, as well as aspects of family demography and report rates of local crime and social disorder. It is likely that the coincidence of wide spread poverty and low levels of social trust contribute to insecurity within the lives of these parents, as does their limited social connection and sense of safety in these suburban spaces.

Hope in the face of adversity: the perspective of low-income American parents on the challenges of parenting

Neilson T
Seattle, Wash. : Casey Family Programs, 2003
This report is part of the Casey Family Programs initiative to reduce the need for foster care by helping parents to strengthen families. It documents the outcomes of focus groups of more than 500 low-income parents in 15 towns and cities throughout the United States, conducted between December 2002 and March 2003. Findings indicate that low income parents are optimistic about their potential to create a better future for themselves and their families. Participants expressed a need for assistance in improving family economic stability, developing skills they identify as being important to their families, and establishing peer networks for mutual support.

Managing to parent: social support, social capital, and parenting practices among welfare-participating mothers with young children

Fram M
Madison, Wis. : Institute for Research on Poverty, 2003.
"This study investigated relationships among mothers' social support, individual attributes, social capital, and parenting practices for welfare-participating mothers with young children. Using data from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies, latent profile analysis revealed three classes of mothers, reflecting high, moderate, and low patterns of social support. Overall, low support class members were quite broadly disadvantaged relative to the other groups, while moderate support class members were primarily disadvantaged in terms of neighborhood. Relationships between social support and social capital were highly nuanced, with strong social support acting as a "buffer" against the effects of mothers' stress on controlling discipline, but moderately constrained social support protecting against the negative effects of a welfare-based peer group on maternal warmth."--Publisher website,

Balancing work and family: the experiences of low income parents.

Gregory A
Australian Social Policy Conference 2003 : social inclusion : University of New South Wales, 9-11 July 2003. Sydney, N.S.W. : Social Policy Research Centre, 2003: 13p
The Department of Family and Community Services provides income support to parents, both single and partnered, with low incomes who have main care of dependent children. Changes to provide more help and support to parents to plan for a return to work and to combine paid work with parenting have recently been introduced as part of welfare reform. A survey of new claimants and a comparison group of longer term customers was undertaken before these changes to obtain baseline data, and to increase understanding of the characteristics and needs of people coming onto Parenting Payment and their experiences in the first few months on payment. This paper discusses low income parents' experiences combining parenting with paid work, the issues they face, their plans, aspirations and fears, and how these are related to experiences of paid work and self perception of their role in the family.

The relationship between low family income and psychological disturbance in young children: an Australian longitudinal study.

Bor W, Najman J, Andersen M, O'Callaghan M, Williams G and Behrens B
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 31 no. 5 Oct 1997 664-675
This study examines the relationship between low family income (LFI) experienced at different points in time, chronic low income status and its impact on child behaviour measured at 5 years of age. Longitudinal data from the Mater University Study of Pregnancy were used to measure LFI in families at three points in time (the antenatal period, 6 months post birth and at 5 years of age). Outcome variables were three independent groups of behaviour problems labelled as externalising, social, attentional and thought (SAT) problems, and internalising problems. These groups were developed from the Child Behavior Checklist. An analysis based on logistic regression modelling was carried out examining the relationship between LFI and a range of intermediate variables known to be associated with child behaviour problems. Results showed the more often families experienced low income, the higher the rate of child behaviour problems at age 5. Low family income was still independently associated with SAT behaviour problems after controlling for smoking in the first trimester, parenting styles, maternal depression and marital dysharmony at age 5. The association between LFI and internalising and externalising behaviour problems was largely mediated by maternal depression. The study concluded that low family income is a significant factor in the aetiology of a variety of child behaviour problems. The mechanisms involved in the link between LFI and childhood internalising and externalising behaviours involve the exposure of the children to maternal depression. However, the relationship between LFI and SAT behaviour problems remains to be elucidated.
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