Attitudes to parenting practices and child discipline

Jane Prince, Jennifer Austin, Laura Shewring, Nicola Birdsey, Karen McInnes, Gareth Roderique-Davies

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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The University of South Wales was commissioned by the Welsh Government to undertake focus groups to explore parents’ views about parenting practices and approaches to child discipline. The purpose of the focus group research was to inform the development of questions for use in future quantitative work around this issue. The findings from this research and the quantitative work that follows will be used to inform the development of Welsh Government policy in relation to the Programme for Government commitment to work to make physical punishment of children and young people unacceptable through the promotion of alternative, positive approaches to parenting. Fourteen focus groups were conducted in eight local authority areas around Wales with mothers and fathers of children and young people aged between birth and 18 years. Each focus group was semi-structured in nature. Hypothetical scenarios and possible approaches to discipline were presented to all of the focus groups and participants were asked to think about their attitude to each of the approaches, in each of the scenarios. The focus groups transcripts were analysed for emerging themes, which alongside evidence from quotes supporting these themes, were used to address the specific research questions raised in the research brief. The main findings were: Parents perceive certain sources to have expertise in managing children’s behaviours; these include other parents, some care/health education professionals and some TV professionals. They had not considered government sources, such as leaflets, websites and press releases or web-sites in general, as ‘expert’ sources. The findings of this report indicate that it would be useful to explore the knowledge and opinions of a much wider sample using a questionnaire developed from the findings from the focus groups. Such a study would enable a representative sample of the Welsh population to express their views on appropriate parenting via a medium which would enable them to retain anonymity. Such research could explore the important issues identified within this report, which should be considered in developing future policies in this area.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherWelsh Assembly Government White Paper
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4734-0926-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-4734-0926-2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2014


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