Parenting in a new environment: implications for raising sub-Saharan African children within the Australian child protection context

Hilda Tafadzwa Mugadza*, Vera Williams Tetteh, Brian Stout, Andre M. N. Renzaho

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    International migration shapes parenting styles for migrant groups, but in Australia very little is known about the interplay between sub-Saharan African migrant parenting practices and beliefs concerning child protection expectations in the host society. This study explores how sub-Saharan African migrant parents and caregivers navigate parenting between the cultures that have shaped their lives and parenting expectations within the new environment. Data were gathered from focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews. Major themes to emerge from the analysis included the importance of culture and a sense of the collectivity; of parenting styles in moulding good children; of family functioning and relationships; and of perceptions of parenting in the Australian context. Findings show how the participants introduce new dimensions and/or try to maintain a balance in childrearing practices framed by traditional collectivist cultures when they adopt, incorporate, resist, or reject individualist dimensions as they deem necessary. The study demonstrates how participants navigate stressors when the dictates of social and school environments are different from those of their traditional family norms. It provides evidence for the implementation of culturally appropriate strategies for sub-Saharan African migrant families who come to the attention of the child protection system while settling in Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)166-194
    Number of pages29
    JournalThe Australasian Review of African Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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