A Phenomenological Analysis of the Experience of Security and Contentment for Latency Aged Children in Shared-time Parenting Arrangements

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
Christina Sadowski Federation University Australia

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Jennifer E. McIntosh Deakin University Australia

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This study explored the lived experience of security and contentment, and their absence, for latency-aged children (aged 8–12) living in shared-time parenting arrangements following their parents’ separation. A descriptive phenomenological methodology was utilized (Giorgi, , ; Giorgi & Giorgi, , ). Sixteen children living in shared-time were interviewed about their experiences of two phenomena: “feeling secure and content living in shared-time” and “not feeling secure and content living in shared-time.” The eight richest protocols were selected for analysis. The two resultant general structures and their core constituents are presented, and individual variations discussed. Central to each phenomenon is the parent/s’ capacity, or incapacity, to create and sustain a physical and emotional space in which the child feels secure and held in the mind, feels the arrangements are responsive to their needs, feels free to access the “absent” parent, and experiences integration between the two parental homes. Implications for phenomenological human science research are considered, including the use of descriptive phenomenology with children.

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