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Title: Knowing bad and making good : exploring consciousness of value with parents on a parenting programme
Author: Fogg, Penelope
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 2701
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is a narrative exploration of parents’ experience of a group parenting intervention in which consciousness of ‘value’ is explored as a possible aspect of change. Within this broad topic I have identified two questions for exploration: how do parents come to know what is ‘good’ in parenting? What helps them to put into practice what they know to be ‘good’? I open the thesis by making a case for exploring consciousness of value and the value-seeking of parents. Drawing upon philosophy and fiction I contextualise the practice of parenting within a wider social and emotional frame. I propose that parenting like other experiences risks ‘absurdity’: in adversity a person’s sense of life’s meaning and purpose can become undermined. Through a critical analysis of the psychological theory traditionally applied to parenting programmes I question to what extent psychology can explain any change identified as taking place within them. I extend this analysis to consider how ideas circulating within culture, more generally, might influence, and perhaps undermine, a parent’s efforts to achieve value in their relationships with their children. I make a case for a ‘reflexive’ approach to parenting as opposed to a ‘technical’ one. In order to account for this ‘reflexivity’ within an exploratory theory of psychological change I suggest an alternative ontological and epistemological position to that implied (although perhaps not always made explicit) by traditional psychology, may be required. To this end eco-systemic theory, existential-phenomenology and neo-Vygotskian theory are examined in relation to value, agency and change. Narrative analysis, using a Labovian method, is applied to produce a thematic account of each parent’s experience, analysed through the theoretical lens described above, and in relation to the research question. Each parent’s account is represented in some detail so as to facilitate ‘voice’, and with the aim of preserving the authenticity of the stories produced. My hope is that this will allow the reader to engage with some directness to parents’ experience. In the final chapter of this thesis I examine parents’ accounts more explicitly in relation to theory and the research question. Within idiographic accounts a complex picture emerged of parents’ attempts to seek value in their relationships with their children alongside other important purposes. Dilemmas and compromises were exposed. An exploratory theory of change is proposed, drawing upon an existential and phenomenological ontology, eco-systemic and neo-Vygotskian theory. This theory can be summarized as follows: through an embodied engagement with a particular ideology of parenting, within a supportive community context, parents experience alternative ways of ‘being’ with their children. Associated with this appeared to be parents increased consciousness of value, increased reflexivity and a greater sense of agency. Implications for the practice of educational psychology are considered, in particular the need to provide relational support to those engaged in a process of change, and the importance of engaging with each person’s unique perspective upon value, in order to intervene safely and effectively in the lives of children.
Supervisor: Billington, Tom Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available