3.4 Barbara Da Roit: “Children’s wellbeing and parenting: exploring the role of institutions”


So I was thinking about what might be reasonable in that sense, and I thought that it might be reasonable to think that what parents do what parents do does matter in a way But we have to take into account the social context and the institutions that are around families and parents and children and what they do together. So the first thing is that parenting practices are constrained in a way. They are constrained by cultures, by institutions and parenting practices do not exist in a vacuum. So they interact with what happens at school, with what happens with friends, in the neighborhoods, with organizations around children and youth, like for example leisure etc… All taking this into account, I would propose that to some extent parenting practices do matter for what happens and that parenting practices change as well as if situations can change. However, I think it is reasonable to think about the influence of parenting practices and their possibility and the possibility that they change only if we take that institutional context into account, That’s that’s the general idea, so I thought why not? Think about a very small something that happens in the life of children and parents and everybody’s life actually. Why a very small something? Because it is very difficult to, you know, you might have a paper Which says and there are there many times in that respect which says what you do matters for your well-being but wel- being it’s very complicated thing. It’s very complex. And then what you do with a lot of things together. So I thought let’s take something very very small: sleep. How many hours somebody sleep? What time they go to sleep? What time they get up? And how do they sleep well? In the sense do they do they get enough sleep with respect to what they need. Etc… In order to analyze the institutional dimension of parenting and children’s well-being So to conclude on this part, some cultures so-to-say and institutions seem to support sleep related practices which entail indirectly more or less well-being for the children in a given context? I mean if there was no school, that would be not problem. If there was no work that would be a problem but work exists and school exists. So what we do with that? With these thoughts in in my mind, I started to think about the Italian case. So I think Italy is interesting in terms of the parenting turn, especially because there is no such one yet, or at least as I will show, there are some attempts to go in that direction but it’s very weak, very fragmented and not at all mainstream. not totally agreed upon, there was no resources for that. So it’s a country which represents ***Laggards in a way we know that we are ***legarre. So there is some policy talks about that but we cannot say that the parenting turn has come. So, I think it’s interesting because it shows what can happen, and this specific case might be interesting to enlarge and compare etc but what might happen when policies are not pushing towards parental skills, competences and whatever. Not in a diffuse and generalized way in a way. And it’s also interesting because it poses the question: Who is then phrasing the problem? Is there a problem or not and who is raising it? So, I think it’s interesting in those two senses, there is a lot of discussion also in Italy about the fact that Italian children do sleep less than many other children around Europe. There is this nice article I read about children in Southern and Eastern Europe sleeping less than children in Central and Northern Europe. And there is a difference in average of number of hours of sleep of two hours. I mean it’s a lot. And there is also a claim, this is in the literature, that’s Italian children and I would say by extension southern Europeans, they sleep less because they are culturally or traditionally more involved in the social activities of their parents. You saw this idea of the Italian family having dinner till late and the children, you know playing around and and they’re all happy together and so on. But so the question is why is that? How is that possible? How does that work? Is this really traditional or cultural so-to-say? Which are the social institutions involved? And how do parents in Italy experience practices related to sleep? Is it okay and are there tensions? And which tensions? There is a lot of discussion among the parents in reaction to articles, basically about what is really, right? So experts say that children need to sleep but what is the right time? Not what they say but what is the right for me? There is a lot of doubting, about a lot of asking others about their experience is how you do it, a lot of comparing and a lot of looking at other cultures to an extent as an example and to an extent as a way to get something to get away from. And there is a lot of juggling with these rights and wrongs. So there is a doubtful attitude overall, I will skip this, it’s about very interesting but it’s about the Germans: how do the Germans do it? But they are, so how did the Germans? How do they how did the German do it? Because some of them live in Germany or than have lived in Germany and they go to sleep so early How do they do it? Hmm, so they have discussions about that and some of them say: yeah, but they are German, so we’re not But besides that what comes out is that sleep is a problem for many of these parents. Their children’s sleep, it creates a lot of stress. So there’s children represented children, who do not want to go to sleep, do not want to go to sleep alone and who want to set their own sleeping time?

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