Informations and abstract
Keywords: parenting practices, high conflict, joint custody, representations of parents, intensive parenting
In this article we present some reflections from a research exploring how mothers and fathers in situations of uncertainty and difficulty, such as highly conflictual divorces, represent the transformations of parenting practices. The approach of looking at families in terms of practices inspired by Morgan’s work paves the way for the study of relational experiences far from the dominant family stereotypes. Moreover, looking at the everyday experiences in these situations allows insights of common sense on «making and displaying family». Contrary to the descriptions of literature and common sense, from our study we can see in parents’ account the effort to show the paramountcy of children in daily practices. We discuss here three issues that emerged as central to the stories. The first one consists of the gender element, which qualifies as central due both to some clear differences in parenting narratives of mothers and fathers and to the complexities of reciprocal representations (also linked to the setting of Law 54/2006) on which to negotiate and build a new way of «family making». The second theme concerns time in everyday life, a central aspect for the construction of the parental relationship, which is perceived as fragmented and often as one of the main sources of conflict. The third theme concerns the perception of a change, sometimes forced, in one’s identity and parental role, which must be radically redefined after separation.