Parenting in Malawi: An ethnographic study of the parenting attitudes and behaviors of parents in Malawi
Haan, M. de
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Most parenting training programs are designed and implemented in Western countries. There is a need to adapt these training programs to the cultural context of developing countries and to measure their effectiveness with culturally appropriate instruments. In order to measure the effectiveness of the parenting training ‘The Parenting Challenge’ of Help a Child in Malawi, a culture-specific parenting questionnaire is designed that assesses the parenting attitudes and behaviors of parents before, during and after the training. In this study, the current parenting attitudes and behaviors of parents in Malawi have been assessed, before the start of the parenting training. For designing the questionnaire, an ethnographic research was conducted in which the main characteristics of Malawian parents and the key challenges they experience as parents were explored. The results showed that it is important for a Malawian parent to be a hard worker, to participate in the development of the community and to avoid differential treatment of children. Some key challenges that Malawian parents experience are drunkenness, risks for teenage girls and the disobedience of children. The results of this study are used by Help a Child to adjust the parenting training to the cultural context of Malawi. This study contributes to the few ethnographic studies on parenting in developing countries.