Foster girls' perceptions of respect within a South African Child and Youth Care Centre context
Traver-De Sousa, Laura Christina
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This research focuses on exploring foster girls’ perceptions of respect in relationships in a Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC) context. The study was undertaken within the paradigm of positive psychology. Relational well-being is of key importance for all adolescents from all cultures and contexts. Respect is viewed as a dynamic aspect of relational functioning. However, when adolescent foster girls do not experience respectful interactions with CYCC caregivers, health workers and with peers, their healthy development could be seriously affected. There is a scarcity of information available on foster girls’ perceptions of respect, with particular reference to the dynamics of respect within a CYCC context. Therefore, the study endeavours to highlight the importance of a bottom-up approach by investigating foster girls’ perceptions of respect. The qualitative study was conducted by using a phenomenological design. For the purpose, aim and coverage of this empirical study a homogenous sample was selected. Twenty female occupants from a South African CYCC were selected, with ages ranging from 12 to 16 years. The participants were all African adolescents, and the study was carried out on the CYCC premises. This homogenous sample allowed detailed investigation of social processes in this context. Data was collected by means of a world café technique where all twenty participants took part to tap into their collective wisdom. Individual interviews were also used and six participants were selected from the original group. All requirements regarding ethical concerns were followed in the research process. Thematic analyses were undertaken after the group and individual sessions. The findings are presented as four main themes, namely relating and respectful interacting (relationships), the role of emotions, resilience and the role of gender. It has been determined that respectful interacting promotes positive support and encouragement during bad times, as well as sharing concerns and ideas with peers and positive role-models. The role of fluctuating emotions – both positive and negative ─ emerged as being of major importance in the girls’ lives. These included pride, belonging, trust (or lack thereof), happiness, hopelessness, aggression / anger and a sense of shame and disappointment with failures. The theme of resilience covered effective coping and how the girls resist languishing and strive to better themselves despite their adverse circumstances. The final theme is that of gender role, which addresses the various forms of differentiation, especially in the treatment of girls and boys. Recommendations are given in order to ameliorate the girls’ lives and to shape future research that could explore the instruction of life skills in order to develop self-esteem, interpersonal relationships (showing respect for one another), a sense of worth and tolerance within a CYCC context purposefully. A possible limitation of this study could be the various Western models of well-being that were studied by the researcher while the participants came from various African cultural backgrounds with different perspectives on Ubuntu. The specific context of foster girls is, therefore, of crucial importance to their wellness, seeing that the context could harbour enabling or limiting conditions for these adolescents.
- Humanities