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Children's Meaning-Conciliation of Their Fathers' Violence Related to Fathers and Violence in General

NCJ Number
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Dated: 2007 Pages: 41-55
Asa Kallstrom Cater
Date Published
15 pages
This study explored how children make sense of the contradictory aspects of a fathers’ violence against the mother.
The results revealed that the children used three approaches for understanding their fathers’ use of violence against their mother: (1) conceptualizing the violent father as one of several “kinds” of fathers; (2) conceptualizing father’s violence as a minor part of his overall personality; and (3) conceptualizing violence as distant from father’s relative goodness. The findings indicated that the children did not normalize violence and, in fact, exhibited features of resistance in terms of their acknowledgement of their father’s violence as unacceptable and unusual. At the same time, however, the children applied meanings to their fathers that promoted their normalcy. Thus, the findings suggest that the normalization of a father’s violent acts should be separated from the normalization of a father as a person. The findings call for the development and specification of the theoretical concept of normalization, which should thus be a central focus of future research. Participants were 10 children aged 8 to 12 years who were recruited from 4 Women’s Houses (shelters) in Sweden. Participants completed semi-structured interviews in which they discussed three main themes: their father, fathers in general, and violence. Interviews were analyzed for emerging themes. References