"When Elephants fight it is the grass that suffer?" Children's Agency in shaping Inter-parental relationship
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For longtime, the relationship between inter-parental relationship and children was studied from unidirectional perspective and hence children were viewed as passive victims of inter-parental conflicts. This also seems to fit with the widely spoken proverb called “when elephants fight it is the grass that suffers” (elephants represent the parents and the grass for children). However, since recent time, the bidirectional approach has been in use and accordingly children are viewed as active social actors. Hence, this research was conducted within this context. Based on a qualitative study with children between 11 and 15 years from Ethiopia this study explores their role in shaping inter-parental relationship. Informal talk, semi-structured interviews and story writings were used to generate data. The major findings of the study indicate that children are active participants influencing inter-parental relationship. However, as there are multiple factors that shape and reshape children’s role in inter-parental relationship, children’s agency varies with context. Regardless of the types and nature of strategies, children are active in shaping inter-parental relationship. They however are not recognized and given the opportunity to participate in family mediation process, which would have been important in peace making process among parents. Instead, children are still considered as the grass in the proverb above, while parents are the elephants.