Values of parenthood: structure, types, resources
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Acting Head of the Department of youth sociology and youth policy, Saint Petersburg State University. Saint Petersburg, Russia. email@example.com
The article conceptualizes structure of values of children and parenthood and analyzes links of respondents’ choice with particular parenting models. The article bases on surveys conducted in St.-Petersburg and Leningrad region comprising 20 focus groups of parents with children aged 14–17 based on family structure criteria (single-parent/two-parent), parenthood status, gender, religious self-identification (n = 186), 2 focus groups with teachers (n = 20), results of 3 surveys of parents in 2008, 2012 and 2013 (n = 2067). Discursive, comparative, correlation and factor analyses were used. Values of parenthood are regarded as a set of emotionally and culturally preconditioned steady beliefs about preferred models of reproductive, existential, socializing behaviors of parents aimed at having and bringing up children. Parenting values include paradigms in attitudes towards own and (or) step-children and parent role functions. The respondents’ choice of the socio-cultural model of family and parenting – traditional, joint, delegating and non-identified (situational) – was considered as a criterion of differentiation. Three types of parenting attitudes were formed: problems and risks; life mission; responsibility, duty and public recognition. Parents opting for traditional parenthood regard it as a moral duty and responsibility before the society. Joint families are characterized by optimism and balanced evaluation, delegating families – rational and pragmatic attitudes, non-identified families – anxiety and pessimism. The paper also analyzes value differences in parent attitudes and practices of helping children in difficult life situations. Conclusion: differences in parenting attitudes are preconditioned by degree of identification with the parent role, structure of individual and family resources of parents, peculiarities of socio-cultural and economical differentiation of families. The article suggests differentiated approaches to support parenting potential taking into account needs, possibilities, level of resources of parents.