Parenting in Ireland: Polish perspectives on child-rearing and help-seeking in a culturally diverse neighbourhood
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Despite Ireland’s ever-increasing cultural diversity over the last two decades, Irish social science research has yet to give sufficient attention to the actual life experiences of migrant parents. As a result, there is a dearth of knowledge of the everyday processes through which migrant parents in Ireland confront cultural differences. This thesis gives voice to Polish migrant parents of primary school children residing in a culturally diverse neighbourhood in Ireland and examines the norms that shape their role as parents, their parental experiences and their help-seeking behaviour. In doing so, it fills a substantial gap in existing knowledge. The study took a cultural approach to parenting research in order to improve our understanding of ethnic minority and migrant parenting. The findings of this study are based on narratives of both Polish migrant parents and support service providers elicited through qualitative methods and a framework approach to analysis. Based on the findings, an Integrated Model of Polish Migrant Parenting has been developed. It provides a useful tool for support service providers and policy makers to help better understand Polish parenting, and can be applied to other parenting scenarios, including but not restricted to other migrant parenting scenarios, as well as add to the theoretical knowledge base. The findings show how, by giving due consideration to parenting as a multidimensional and dynamic construct and recognising the independent effects of, and the complex interaction between, culture, social class and minority status, social policy as well as service provision can more effectively support ethnic minority and migrant parents. The findings have important implications for how we should think of authoritative parenting. Although it is associated with the most successful outcomes for children, it is arguably a construct of Western societies. Migrant parents also can face significant challenges adapting to such cultural norms both because of stressors in their post migration environment but also the demands of and commitment to their home country.