WISERD Civil Society research on family arguments presented at childhood studies conference

Professor Sally Power, Director of WISERD Education, will today present new research on family arguments at an international childhood studies conference. This research is from the ESRC Civil Society centre research project ‘The intergenerational transmission of ‘civic virtues’: the role of the family in civil society engagement’.

Professor Power’s presentation, entitled ‘Family Arguments: about what and with whom?’ explores arguments within families – their causes, frequency and consequences. The findings stem from a survey of 976 13-14 year olds in Wales which was carried out between October 2016 – March 2017.

The survey covers the causes of arguments and examines who is involved and how often. The responses show that for both boys and girls two of the main causes of arguments within the family were the use of mobile phones or technology and household chores. They also showed that girls were nearly twice as likely to have arguments with both their mother and father over their clothes while boys were twice as likely to argue with their mothers (not their fathers) about politics.

The survey highlights that those who have more arguments are more likely to be active in civil society. Findings show that those who argued ‘a lot’ compared to those who never argued were more likely to have been involved with a humanitarian aid or human rights organisation in the last 12 months, to have often given time to help a charity or cause, to have contacted a politician or the media or to have signed a petition. The research suggests that arguing may be the route through which young people acquire skills of debate and argumentation that enable them to have higher levels of civic engagement and therefore questions whether a more simplistic view of arguments as negative is accurate.

Professor Sally Power is presenting the research findings at the international childhood studies conference, A Child’s World Conference 2018 which is taking place at Aberystwyth University. The conference has been devised to bring together academics and practitioners to frame new concepts in collaborative practice in childhood studies in the context of social, legislative and organisational changes.