Publications

Gaps between literature portraying child rearing practices and young offenders’ views of their growing up experiences

Ayete-Nyampong, L.A.; Visser, L.E.

Summary

This paper discusses growing up experiences of juvenile and young offenders and advances the argument that literature characterized by essentialist views seeks to predominantly establish that child rearing practices are homogenous. In contrast, the narratives of youngsters collected do not only depict varied growing up encounters outside the family, but also show that youngsters construct diverse meanings from their differentiated experiences. Whereas this is a small-scale study and cannot lend itself to generalisations or constitute a basis for refuting such literature accounts, the empirical data of the study nevertheless establishes that there is seldom familial contact for the children who engage the attention of this study. This paper also highlights aspects of youngsters’ friendships feature prominently in the narratives of youngsters, yet remain underrepresented in Ghanaian scholarly work on children. Discussions draw on a sociological research conducted from 2009 to 2011 with children in correctional institutions.