Children Who Care: A Violation of Childhood?


Richards, Karen 1998. Children Who Care: A Violation of Childhood? Thesis University of East London
AuthorsRichards, Karen

The vast majority of the research literature on the issue of children caring for their
parents (Young Carers) has reflected a social policy standpoint and has consistently
focused on the negative consequences of caring responsibilities during childhood. To
date the psychological literature has failed to address the needs and experiences of
children who act as care providers. Through the use of qualitative methodology, this
paper explores the ways in which children conceptualise their role as carers and how
this may be more or less informed by the in social constructions of childhood. It also
examines how traditional psychological theories on child and adolescent development
have both informed and limited our understanding of the issue. While the results of
this study demonstrate that the demands of the caring role has many emotional,
educational and social costs for young carers it also discusses the ways in which
young carers perceive the caring role to be a positive and enriching experience which
facilitated a closer parent-child relationship, instilled discipline and prepared them for
independent adult living. The clinical implications of these findings are addressed
and recommendations made for supportive professional imput.

KeywordsYoung Carers; secrecy; parent-child relationship; children
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Deposited26 Mar 2010
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