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NCJ Number: 156414 Find in a Library
Title: Need for a Paradigm Shift in Social Work: The Study of Parenting
Journal: Social Work and Social Sciences Review  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:(1994)  Pages:130-145
Author(s): M Mass
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 16
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the need for a paradigm shift in social work in terms of the incompatibility between the aspiration for bias-free objective explanations, embodied within logical positivism, and the humanistic nature of social work, with particular reference to parenting and child abuse.
Abstract: The search for personal attributes of parents as an explanation of child abuse reflects a quest for a mutation of a biological instinct. It is based on the view that the bearing of infants is identical with caring for them. This line of study defines child abuse as parental pathology, thus placing the study of child abuse under the influence of the medical ideology (Parton, 1979). Social work practice based on this form of explanatory theory ignores the situational context as well as the actual experience that evolves between the parent and the child. The proposed model (Mass, 1983) explains parenting as a function of the parent's adaptation to the parenting conditions: the organization of the parenting environment and the nature of the infant's communication. Parental adaptation is proposed to be the function of parental choices (Taylor, 1977) regarding the organization of the parenting environment and their beliefs regarding the nature of the infant's communication. It is assumed that parental choices and beliefs are influenced by societal norms and the cultural context of parenthood, by the infant's behavior and development, as well as by the parent's childhood memories and experiences. The model is being tested now for its ability to detect those parents whose evaluations of the parenting environment and attributions to the infant's behavior are likely to correlate with parental acts that are characterized by imposition and/or instrumentality. Thus, help can be offered to these parents before the infant has been hurt, and intervention can focus on the predicament of the parent. 56 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Parental attitudes; Social work; Social worker casework
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