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Title: Understanding physical punishment as a method of disciplining children in Libya : the perspectives of parents, children and professionals
Author: El Makzoum, Hanan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 1185
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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International research has previously been carried out on child discipline methods, and has particularly focused on the use of physical punishment (Twum-Danso Imoh 2013; Andrade et al 2011). However, there has been little research into this area in Libya. This study explored child-rearing methods in Libya, in particular, the use of physical punishment by parents and its key influential factor. The data collection methods consisted of a closed-ended questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. 108 Libyan professionals, fathers, mothers and children aged 6-17 years filled in the questionnaire, 38 of these participants took part in interviews. A purposive snowballing sampling method was used to obtain a gender-balanced sample drawn from different social places in 10 areas. The study explored various factors related to parents and children, family structure, community, professionals, traditions, religion and law which seem to be influential in the use of physical punishment. By exploring all of these factors, this study adds a significant contribution to the limited knowledge about the perceptions, experiences and practices of physical and non-physical methods in Libya. This knowledge should be of value not only within Libya itself, but for other Arabic countries and institutions and international organisations concerned with child welfare issues. Further, the study provides a unique deep understanding of the social construction of Muslim families within Arab Libyan culture, and highlights the tension between some Islamic values, traditional norms and law. For example, parents make a clear distinction between Islam, traditions and law through using words such as (Aeab;عيب), (حرام; Haram) and (crime; جريمة). They indicate that traditions have more power over parents’ approach to child-rearing methods than anything else. Furthermore, this study offers valuable data about parents’, children’s and professionals’ views on the use of physical punishment at home, school and Islamic centres and how children’s experience in one setting is influenced by others. It explores some of the negative changes associated with the role of teachers and schools, which appeared to increase the use of physical punishment of children both at home and within school. In addition, this study explains some of the political and practical challenges in doing research in a war zone context. It offers exceptional data regarding the influence of Libyan war (2011) on children, parenting styles and the choices of child discipline methods. The study suggests that the Libyan war (2011) did not increase the use of physical punishment by parents. In fact, about half of the participants who used physical punishment reported that the high level of violence outside the home led to a reduction in their use of physical punishment. Finally, the study provides data on the challenges of trying to encourage more child-centred methods of upbringing in a Libyan context. Many parents believed that a lack of understanding of Islamic values, the lack of knowledge about alternative, healthier, methods of disciplining children, and the absence of governmental action to raise awareness about this topic were among the main reasons for parents continuing to use methods of physical punishment when disciplining their children.
Supervisor: Horwath, Jan ; Twum-Danso Imoh, Afua Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available