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Family troubles?Exploring changes and challenges in the family lives of children and young people$
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Jane Ribbens McCarthy, Carol-Ann Hooper, and Val Gillies

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447304432

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447304432.001.0001

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date: 20 August 2017

Disabled parents and normative family life: the obscuring of lived experiences of parents and children within policy and research accounts

Disabled parents and normative family life: the obscuring of lived experiences of parents and children within policy and research accounts

Chapter:
(p.74) (p.75) Chapter Six Disabled parents and normative family life: the obscuring of lived experiences of parents and children within policy and research accounts
Source:
Family troubles?
Author(s):

Harriet Clarke

Lindsay O’Dell

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447304432.003.0006

This chapter examines understandings of family life where a parent has an impairment or experiences chronic health difficulties, drawing on the authors’ separate research on the experiences of disabled parents (Clarke) and of young carers (O’Dell), which illustrates the politics of definition of family troubles. The authors argue that research, policy and practice shaped by administrative categories and/or a preoccupation with risk can overlook the everyday concerns of family life and the ways adults and young people experience, understand, change and maintain their family contexts. Where “ordinary" experience is ‘troubled’ in public discourse, these contested definitions may result in services being viewed as a potential threat to families, rather than a support to maintain everyday normality. For example, disabled parents’ support needs are sometimes overshadowed by a policy and practice concern to protect young carers from the damaging consequences of their responsibilities. A more normalized experience of care is highlighted in the context of the family, while underlining how access to resources plays a central role in mediating all family troubles.

Keywords:   Disabled parents, Young carers, Family troubles, Politics of definition, Care

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