Contemporary Discourses on Children and Parenting in Norway: Norwegian Child Welfare Services Meets Immigrant Families.
Hollekim, Ragnhild. Anderssen, Norman. Daniel, Marguerite.
Published: January 2016
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 60 , p. 52-60
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Discourses on children and what is considered to be proper parenting have been accentuated by the processes of globalization. In Norway, we study current discourses on children and parenting, based on a particular case: Norwegian Child Welfare Services' interaction with and intervention in immigrant families with children. We use a discursive analytical framework to analyse a sample of 80 newspaper texts, reflecting on and debating this allegedly problematic meeting. The texts are derived from regional and country-wide Norwegian newspapers in the period 1 January 2011 to 30 April 2013. Distinct discourses located in the texts concerned: (1) No-tolerance for parenting practices implying violence and force; (2) Every child is a subject of individual – and equal – rights; (3) Good parenting is child-focused and dialogue based and (4) Norwegian Child Welfare Services – authoritative as well as contentious in family matters. The discourses indicate the presence of two important subject positions, first, the child as the pivot. This implies that children are given a superior moral status, and are to enjoy human dignity and values such as individuality, equality and justice, individual rights and an obligation for the state to oversee and ensure this position also for the child. The other important subject position concerns parents as guarantors for children developing proper skills. This compels processes toward standardization and homogenization of parenting which positions some groups of parents as deficient. (Author abstract)
Norway; parenting skills; parent child relationships; child rearing; societal attitudes; children of immigrants; child welfare services