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Family Matters No. 50 - June 1998

Parental Sources of Support in Anglo- and Vietnamese-Australian Families

Violet Kolar and Harry McGurk

Abstract

Social support networks comprise both formal and informal sources. Formal support refers to professional support, which can be either public or privately provided, while informal support refers to community support groups, work colleagues, neighbours, friends and family. This article examines the networks of formal and informal support that some Australian parents use to assist them in their parenting roles. The authors draw on findings from the Institute's Parenting-21 Study to illustrate the similarities and differences in the networks of family, friends and services to which Anglo Australian and Vietnamese Australian parents have access, and on which they draw support in their parenting roles. Also examined are the issues that motivate parents in their choice of formal or informal support. Discussion focuses on the significance of the contribution made by social networks to easing the tasks of parenting.

Social support networks comprise both formal and informal sources. Formal support refers to professional support, which can be either public or privately provided, while informal support refers to community support groups, work colleagues, neighbours, friends and family. This article examines the networks of formal and informal support that some Australian parents use to assist them in their parenting roles. The authors draw on findings from the Institute's Parenting-21 Study to illustrate the similarities and differences in the networks of family, friends and services to which Anglo Australian and Vietnamese Australian parents have access, and on which they draw support in their parenting roles. Also examined are the issues that motivate parents in their choice of formal or informal support. Discussion focuses on the significance of the contribution made by social networks to easing the tasks of parenting.

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