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Att få pengarna att räcka till som de brukar: Barns och ungas perspektiv på föräldrars arbetslöshet
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Social Pedagogy and Sociology.
2016 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)Alternative title
To make ends meet : Children´s perspective on parental unemployment (English)
Abstract [en]

This report is about the ways in which children in families with previous economic stability experience and adapt to substantially decreased household income as a consequence of a parent's/parents' unemployment. While much is known about children growing up in poor families, and how they understand and act in relation to the family's economic situation, little is known about children who suddenly find themselves living in economic adversity. In the context of post-financial crisis Sweden where in the late 2000s/early 2010s large numbers of families with previously stable incomes found themselves in economic adversity, the objective of the research is to investigate how children and young people experience substantial decreases in household income as a consequence of parental unemployment. In particular focus is directed to the ways in which they reason about and respond to the family's new economic circumstances. Interviews with children (N=45) whose parents had previously been in long-term employment but lost their jobs were carried out. Drawing on national data provided by the National Transition Fund for Blue-collar Workers (TSL) and (ii) the Local Transition fund for white-collar staff in the private sector (TRS), five municipalities in the west of Sweden with the highest numbers of transition grants were initially identified for recruitment of families subjected to unemployment during the years of 2010-2013.The interview data was analysed using thematic content analysis (Broun & Clark2006) with focus directed to children's agency (Kuczinski 2003). While the results are largely in line with previous research on children living in long-termpoor families, that is to say that parents put children´s needs first, children take responsibility for the family situation by not financial demands on the parentsone major difference emerged. None of the types of self-excluding behavior characteristic of avoidance-oriented strategies was found. Unlike children living in poverty where self-exclusion and the avoidance of exposure to stigmatizing situations where resource disparities are highlighted are common, the children in the current study did not regard parental unemployment and the family's loss of income as a source of shame. Rather, they expressed awareness of how macroeconomic forces had impacted on their lives and, as active agents, developedstrategies that enabled them to adjust to the family's new economic reality. The implications of this result indicate that social workers working with children insuch situations need to reconsider interpretations of behavior that are rooted inthe assumption that economic adversity generates shame and stigma.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trollhättan: Högskolan Väst , 2016. , 58 p.
Rapport Högskolan Väst, 2016:1
Keyword [en]
Children´s agency, parent´s unemployment, children’s voices, economical adversity
National Category
Social Work Social Psychology
Research subject
Child and Youth studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-9190OAI: diva2:909480
Available from: 2016-03-07 Created: 2016-03-07 Last updated: 2016-03-31

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Bolin, Anette
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