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Dependence and independence: Perceptions and management of risk in respect of children aged 12-16 in families with working parents

By Jane Lewis, Sophie Sarre and Jennifer Burton


The contributions that adult men and women make to households in terms of paid and unpaid work have undergone substantial change, particularly in respect of women's responsibility for income generation, and have been seen as part of the processes of individualization. Recent contributions to the literature have suggested that children are now acquiring independence earlier as part of those same processes. The paper uses qualitative methods to explore the way in which parents in two-parent families, where both are employed, perceive the risks attached to children's exercise of greater independence, how they seek to ‘manage’ those risks and how far the perceptions of parents accord with those of children. We find parents’ perceptions of risk to be strong, but to have little to do with working patterns. In addition, they are often at odds with the actual behaviour of the child. Risks are managed by negotiation, in which children played an active part. We are also able to make some preliminary comments on the difficulties of interpreting scale measures in relation to interview evidence

Topics: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman, H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13668800601110827
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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