Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Parents’ Experiences of Early Parenthood – Preliminary Findings

  • Rachael Sanders (a1), Jennifer Lehmann (a1) and Fiona Gardner (a1)

Parents are instrumental in the healthy development of their children, and consequently future generations, and should therefore be supported in their parental role. Using a Grounded Theory framework, 24 parents of 0- to 10-year-olds were interviewed about their experiences and preparation for parenthood. Despite their overall satisfaction, many felt underprepared, unsure, alone and inadequate during their transition to parenthood. Most of them felt like they struggled unnecessarily during the first year of parenthood, commenting on changes that would help support new parents. This paper reports the preliminary findings of the study.

Corresponding author
address for correspondence: Rachael Sanders, PhD Candidate, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. P. Barth , T. M. Crea , K. John , J. Thoburn , & D. Quinton (2005). Beyond attachment theory and therapy: Towards sensitive and evidence-based interventions with foster and adoptive families in distress. Child & Family Social Work, 10 (4), 257268.

R. Borg Xuereb , A. Abela , & G. Spiteri (2012). Early parenting – portraits from the lives of first-time parents. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 30 (5), 468482.

C. Cronin , & G. McCarthy (2003). First-time mothers: Identifying their needs, perceptions and experiences. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 12 (2), 260267.

K. D. Deater-Deckard (2004). Parenting stress. Newhaven: Yale University Press.

T. Deave , D. Johnson , & J. Ingram (2008). Transition to parenthood: the needs of parents in pregnancy and early parenthood. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 8 (1), 3041.

J. Hill (2011). Endangered childhoods: how consumerism is impacting child and youth identity. Media Culture Society, 33 (3), 347362.

D. M. Hoffman , (2003). Childhood ideology in the United States: a comparative cultural view. International Review of Education, 49 (1–2), 191211.

D. C. Kerr , D. M. Capaldi , K. C. Pears , & L. D. Owen (2009). A prospective three generational study of fathers’ constructive parenting: influences from family of origin, adolescent adjustment, and offspring temperament. Developmental Psychology, 45 (5), 12571275.

K. Khoo , P. Bolt , F. E. Babl , S. Jury , & R. D. Goldman (2008). Health information seeking by parents in the Internet age. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 44 (7–8), 419423.

L. V. McKellar , J. I. Pincombe , & A. M. Henderson (2006). Insights from Australian parents into educational experiences in the early postnatal period. Midwifery, 22, 356364.

J. Milgrom , C. Schembri , J. Ericksen , J. Ross , & A. W. Gemmill (2011). Towards parenthood: An antenatal intervention to reduce depression, anxiety and parenting difficulties. Journal of Affective Disorders, 130, 385394.

K. L. Moseley , G. L. Freed , & S. D. Goold (2012). Which sources of child health advice do parents follow? Clinical Paediatrics, 50 (1), 5056.

M. Nolan (1997). Antenatal education failing to educate for parenthood. British Journal of Midwifery, 5 (1), 2126.

J. Ong , M. Temple-Smith , W. C. W. Wong , K. McNamee , & C. Fairley (2012). Contraception matters: indicators of poor usage of contraception in sexually active women attending family planning clinics in Victoria, Australia. BMC Public Health, 12, 11081118.

Y. Parfitt , & S. Ayers (2012). Postnatal mental health and parenting: the importance of parental anger. Infant Mental Health Journal, 33 (4), 400410.

Y. Parfitt , A. Pike , & S. Ayers (2013). The impact of parents’ mental health on parent–baby interaction: a prospective study. Infant Behavior and Development, 36 (4), 599608.

R. D. Parke , S. Coltrane , S. Duffy , R. Buriel , J. Dennis , J. Powers , S. French , & K. F. Widaman (2004). Economic stress, parenting, and child adjustment in Mexican American and European American families. Child Development, 75 (6), 16321656.

M. Parr (1998). A new approach to parent education. British Journal of Midwifery, 6 (3), 160165.

M. Sanders , & J. Kirby (2012). Consumer engagement and the development, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based parenting programs. Behavior Therapy, 43 (2), 236250.

M. R. Sanders , & T. G. Mazzucchelli (2013). The promotion of self-regulation through parenting interventions. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 16 (1), 117.

G. Spiteria , R. Borg Xuereba , D. Carrick-Senb , E. Kanerc , & C. R. Martinde (2014). Preparation for parenthood: a concept analysis. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 32 (2), 148162.

R. Spoth , C. Goldberg , & C. Redmond (1999). Engaging families in longitudinal preventive intervention research: discrete-time survival analysis of socioeconomic and social–emotional risk factors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67 (1), 157163.

P. Stable (2008). What is adult attachment? Journal of Clinical Social Work, 36, 2130.

A. G. Tuckett (2005). Part II. Rigour in qualitative research: complexities and solutions. Nurse Researcher, 13 (1), 2942.

A. Weiner , & C. Rogers (2008). Antenatal classes: Women can't think beyond labour. British Journal of Midwifery, 16 (2), 121124.

M. Wyness , L. Harrison , & I. Buchanan (2004). Childhood, politics and ambiguity: towards and agenda for children's political inclusion. Sociology, 38 (1), 8199.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Children Australia
  • ISSN: 1035-0772
  • EISSN: 2049-7776
  • URL: /core/journals/children-australia
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 12 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 309 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.