Rozana Petani, Ivana Macuka, Ivana Tucak Junaković (2022). Parenthood: A thematic analysis of parent's experiences. Virtual presentation at INTED2022 (16th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference), 7th-9th of March, 2022
Parenting is a very demanding and responsibility driven role in the life of any person who decides to become a parent. Quality parenting is aimed at protecting the best interests of the child. In this sense, the parent should behave with care, provide the child with structure and guidance, respect the child as an individual and empower them at every opportunity. Today, however, parents do not have much time to raise their child. The employment of both parents necessarily includes other adults in the upbringing of children. So, parents become coordinators of educational factors by choosing "other educators" for children in an out-of-home environment. Thus, the parent becomes responsible for the upbringing in their family as well as for choosing extra-family influences. A modern parent is faced with many expectations: from knowing the characteristics of the child's psychophysical development to recognizing the needs and abilities of the child, and knowing the ways to satisfy and encourage them. Therefore, it is necessary that the parent is competent, skilled, and knows how to successfully educate. That they are well informed about the opportunities offered by society, be it legal, social, health, educational, and other related resources. That they know how to choose the best for their child, and to cooperate with those who care for their child. Thus, modern parenting has become very demanding, influenced by a number of societal changes, different from those faced by the parents of previous generations. Therefore, a successful parent should constantly learn, check their actions, and strive to improve their parenting skills. In this paper, parenting is considered as a dynamic process that has its developmental stages depending on the age of the child. With this in mind, research has been conducted with the aim of understanding the challenges of modern parenting during the process of growing up children at different stages of development. For data collection and analysis, the focus group method was applied as a qualitative form of research that includes a group discussion on the experiences and challenges of parents. The aim of this approach was to capture the subjective feelings and perceptions of parental role in parents of children of different ages and to encourage discussion about values and attitudes related to parenting, but also personal challenges and experiences. The focus group method was implemented in various cities of the Republic of Croatia (in Zadar, Split, Varaždin, Benkovac, and Biograd n/m). The paper will present an analysis of qualitative results and will consider specific topics for groups of parents of children of different ages with the categorization of experiences and challenges. The results of this research will help professionals in preparing and organizing programms aimed at strengthening parenting competencies and developing quality parenting.
Keywords: contemporary parenting, focus groups, parental competence, parents experience.