Constructing everyday life at a help centre in Norway: services and practices in assisting struggling families in "good enough" childhoods, parents and families
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This master thesis interprets constructions of everyday life at a help centre in Norway to families struggling with psychological difficulties and/or drug problems from the perspectives of employees and voluntary helpers. The actor – oriented perspective and the constructivist perspective within the social studies of children and childhood are prominent in the analysis chapters 5, 6 and 7. Chapter 5 is a descriptive chapter and focuses on how everyday life is constructed at the centre from the views of employees and helpers. Chapter 6 explores the creation of “a nice time” and its various meanings in everyday life at the centre to visiting families. Chapter 7 analysis different perceptions on childhood, parents and families, and in which ways the families are assisted and guided in what the employees communicate as “good” enough childhoods, parents and families. To attain knowledge, insights and understanding of constructing everyday life at the help centre, and in which ways the families were assisted and guided; participant observations for two days in 4 weeks and 11 interviews were carried out. Employees and voluntary helpers were my informants. Findings suggest that to create “a nice time” at the centre, several elements are involved, such as “a home snuggly atmosphere” and “doing something positive together”. Various views on children and childhoods are found among my informants. A particular view was on children as vulnerable, fragile and in need of parents’ (adults’) protection, whereas a Romantic discourse is central. Another view highlighted the competent child, where dandelion children were frequently promoted by my informants in interviews. The employees assist and guide children and parents in “good enough” childhoods, parenting and families through various activities and services at the centre. Various needs are looked after, and the parental guidance course and the children’s group are two of many offers illustrating that. Other activities, such as meals and vacations may assist and guide these families to be “good enough” families and to let them experience how meals and vacations are organized, not only for such families, but for everyone.