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Dagmar Kutsar and Kairi Kasearu University of Tartu, Estonia ISCI 3rd International Conference, York 27-29 July, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Dagmar Kutsar and Kairi Kasearu University of Tartu, Estonia ISCI 3rd International Conference, York 27-29 July, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dagmar Kutsar and Kairi Kasearu University of Tartu, Estonia ISCI 3rd International Conference, York 27-29 July, 2011

2  Entrance to risk societies in early 1990s: ◦ Precarious labour market, commuting by work, children left behind, poverty ◦ Diffusion of norms and values, more distrust, intolerance, insecurity ◦ Increasing emphasis on personal career and success (Me-culture) ◦ Close relationships as a resource and a high social value  Diversification of family structures ◦ Instability of family relationships, high number of break-ups (increase from the 1960s) ◦ Diffusion of cohabitation unions (from pre-marriage towards the alterative to marriage) ◦ High number of lone parent families ◦ Increasing number of reconstituted families  Emerging child as a ‘ human being ’ in political rhetoric  “The best interest of the Child” ◦ EE ratified UN CRC in 1991 ◦ Child has a right to both parents (Marriage Law Act; Child Protection Act)

3 Source: Eurostat Diffusion of cohabitation unions

4  75% of all children live together with both parents ◦ of whom, 20% whose parents are cohabiting without being married  Another 20% of children live in lone-mother households ◦ of whom 20% are in an extended family arrangement  Cohabiting couples account for 22% of all couples and 19% of couples with children ◦ more than 60% of cohabiting couples in 26-35 years age group have children

5 Reconstituted families with children below 18 yrs (%) EE Civil Census, 2000 60% of the reconstituted families are cohabitation-based unions Total 1 child2 children3+ children Man + non-biological children49,995,033,013,9 Woman + non-biological children2,35,01,10,6 Couple with no common children2,3 3,14,4 Couple with common and non- common children 45,5 62,881,2 Total: 21068 families (over 10% of all families)100

6  “The best interest of the child”: new discourse of equal / shared parenting ◦ High value of children in a society preconditions good parenting skills  Two focuses: Child’s future career AND child’s wellbeing ‘here and now’  Coping with shared parenting after the break-up  In case of separation legal links may be privileged over informal ones  Mothers are gate-keepers vs fathers stress their parental rights (discourse of dangerous vs active father)  Coping with own and ‘obtained’ children

7  Probability of moving from a two-parent biological family type to a single-parent family type before a child reaches the adulthood is rather obvious ◦ number of children growing up in single-parent families increases as the age of the child rises ◦ number of children growing up in reconstituted families is increasing ◦ number of children whose biological parents form separate households after divorce or beak-up is increasing  Legal bond matters: likelihood of communicating with a parent who lives separately from the family and receiving support from grandparents on that parent’s side is greater if the parents have been married  If the parents have been living in cohabitation union the support networks tend to be less developed and remain ineffective in the case of a break-up - the ties between the parent living elsewhere and the child tend to be weaker (Hansson 2004, a study in EE)

8 WHO collaborative study “Health Behaviour in School-aged Children 2005/2006” (HBSC) ◦ 4477 respondents (11; 13; 15 years old – about 1500 respondents from each age group) ◦ Estonian data

9  Teenagers feel most comfortable discussing their problems with their mothers  Their least frequently preferred confidants include step-parents  Almost all respondents have friend(s) to confide ◦ appr one per cent of teenagers have no friends

10  Children are generally satisfied with their lives ◦ Subjective wellbeing is estimated lower among the older teenager group ◦ Girls are more critical  W-Eur and children from Nordic countries report higher wellbeing compared to chidren from CEE countries ◦ Self-reported wellbeing of children in Estonia is one of the highest among CEE countries

11  The notion of ‘two homes’ is broader than the ‘shared residence’ referring to the potential that the child could have as his or her additional social resource  According to law (Marriage Law Act and Child Protection Law Act of the Rep of Estonia) and the UN CRC a child has the right to both parents ◦ Is this right fulfilled if the parents form separate households? ◦ Can the family group with two separate households function as an expanded network in ‘the best interests of the child’, i.e. guarantee wellbeing of the child?  HBSC data: Variables in the focus:  Time spent in the second home  Presence of someone to talk about personal concerns  Estimate of family relationships in the main residence  Self-reported subjective wellbeing (estimate of having good/bad life)

12 First home ◦ 66 % live with two biological parents ◦ 19 % live in a single parent hh ◦ 15 % live in a reconstituted family type Second home ◦ 16% report the presence of ‘second home’  Incl 59% with a single parent and 41% as a reconstituted family  Almost 1/3 have sister/brother in the second home

13  About ¼ do not visit the second home and a half do it only sometimes  at least ¾ cannot use the potential resource of the second home  Time spent in the second home is not dependent on the child’s age, gender either family structure of the 2nd home

14  Presence of the ‘second home’ increases the probability that the person to confide is someone out of the expanded family group

15  Children with one home report better family relationships ◦ Presence of second home increases 3,3 times the probability that family relationships are estimated as bad compared to estimated as good; and two times higher to estimate life as medium than as good ◦ Gap between the estimates of respondents with one and two homes is widening with age

16 ◦ Children with one home (living with 2 biol parents) report better life than children with two (potential) homes. The gap is widening with age ◦ Presence of second home increases 1,7 times the probability that the subjective wellbeing is estimated as medium compared to estimated as good and two times higher the probability to estimate life rather bad than medium ◦ The estimate is not dependent on time spent in the second home

17  Children with two homes are not ‘richer’ than children with ‘one home’ ◦ The family network created around a child through variegated family structures does not provide them with more support or a higher wellbeing ◦ Other family structures are disadvantaged if compared to living with two biological parents in one home ◦ Wellbeing of children with one and two homes is mediated by a number of contextual and individual factors and are not highlighted here

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