Edith Cowan University
Psychological literature suggests that parenting in an unfamiliar culture can be one of the more significant challenges experienced by refugee families (Lewig, Arney, & Salveron, 2010; Renzaho, & Vignjevic, 2011). Such parenting difficulties are often compounded by a perceived lack of social support. In response to this, emerging research has identified facilitated playgroup programs as instrumental tools for assisting families with resettlement in their new host context. However, the focused exploration of how such programs support parenting, particularly amongst refugee mothers from specific ethnic groups, has largely been overlooked. Through adopting a qualitative methodology, the proposed interpretive phenomenological study aims to further explore the experiences of parenting amongst a group of Burmese refugee mothers attending a facilitated playgroup. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were conducted on Burmese refugee mothers, and playgroup staff, currently involved in the It Takes a Village Program managed by Save the Children Organisation. Common themes noted throughout findings included challenges between traditional parenting orientations and practices, and the norms of the host country. Furthermore, facilitated playgroup was found to provide instrumental support for mothers in negotiating parenting in a new cultural context. Importantly, findings of the present study contribute to a greater understanding of the unique refugee parenting context, and how culturally appropriate supports for women can be established.