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'I'm a Good Mother Really!' Gendered Parenting Roles and Responses to the Disclosure of Incest

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Patricia Bell


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The disclosure of incestuous abuse of a child constitutes such a departure from normative expectations of mothering that it necessitates a complete reappraisal and reconstruction of the mother's identity. This article draws on interview material with women in this situation in order to demonstrate how very traditional gendered parenting models were employed in repairing damaged identities. The ways in which such reliance on the protective and selfless aspects of mothering could contribute to the failure to recognise the abuse of their child are also discussed. In conclusion, motherhood as a source of power for women within the family is critically examined. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bell P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Children and Society

Year: 2003

Volume: 17

Issue: 2

Pages: 126-136

Print publication date: 01/04/2003

ISSN (print): 0951-0605

ISSN (electronic): 1099-0860

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/chi.744


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