Down Our WayThe Relevance of Neighbourhoods for Parenting and Child Development
This book will describe in detail what it is like to be a parent in four different communities in England. The research data that are the basis for this description are interpreted in relation to a number of key factors, include: family social class, ethnic group, length of time on the neighbourhood and the presence of extended family locally. The book will be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about how to improve the lives of parents and children. Special focus is placed on those families who face disadvantage, either in relation to personal vulnerabilities or in relation to living in neighbourhoods lacking in resources and facilities.
List of pictures, figures and tables. Acknowledgements. 1. Introduction. 2. The Families and Neighbourhoods Study. 3. An introduction to some of the families. 4. Is this where I want to belong? 5. What can we do? Where can we go? 6. Local friends – a unique role? 7. Discipline and control. 8. Children out and about. 9. Is it better to belong to the neighbourhood? 10. Conclusions and implications for the future. References. Appendix 1. The survey. Appendix 2. The qualitative study. Subject Index. Author Index.
Jacqueline Barnes is Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London, UK, based at the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues. Professor Barnes is one of the directors of the national evaluation of the UK government’s Sure Start local programmes initiative. After qualifying at the University of Wisconsin to be an educational psychologist she returned to the UK and was awarded her PhD in Psychology from London University in 1983. In the 1980s she developed the Early Years Behaviour Checklist with Naomi Richman, a widely used measure of the behavioural problems of young children in group settings. She also worked at Harvard in the USA, returning afterwards to London University. Her current research interests are: evaluation of early intervention programmes related to children’s health and development and parenting; community characteristics and the environment as they relate to family functioning and children; and the use of child care in the early years, particularly factors associated with mothers of returning to work after having a new baby.
The postcode lottery applies to more than the NHS; there are geographic disparities in a range of economic, health, social and academic outcomes. Where you live has relevance to the services available and to how well children do. This book presents the findings of the Families and Neighbourhoods study, conducted in four contrasting locations in England, three of which are highly disadvantaged but one of which is affluent. It includes the views of a large number of parents who were asked about their neighbourhoods and how these influenced their lives and those of their children. The study gives an understanding of the extent and range of local friendships and other activities, membership in local groups, and what is valued or disliked in their neighbourhoods. More detailed interviews, with a smaller group of mothers, explore social networks and the type of support received (contrasting family and neighbours). They discuss in detail what the neighbourhood means to them, their fears for their children as they helped them to explore and use neighbourhood facilities, and the strategies used to allow children to become independent and establish their own neighbourhood boundaries. Down Our Way gives a unique evidence-based insight into neighbourhoods and parenting and effectively illustrates the influence of community on children and the family.
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