Tell Your Story: A Phenomenological Examination of the Experiences of Single, Latina Mothers Experiencing Poverty
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Community, Latina, Parenting, Parenting, Education, Poverty
Counseling | Counselor Education
Franz, Thaeda, "Tell Your Story: A Phenomenological Examination of the Experiences of Single, Latina Mothers Experiencing Poverty" (2016). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1171.
This transcendental phenomenological study involved an examination of the experiences, parenting practices, and utilization and perception of community supports among single Latina mothers experiencing poverty. Purposive sampling was used in requesting volunteers from local parenting education programs. Six Latina mothers living in Reading, PA, were interviewed. Participants reported experiencing neglect and abuse as children and struggling to meet their children’s needs. They also reported feeling as though they were the “black sheep” of their families of origin and having a lack of connection to their families. The mothers in the study described wanting to give their children a better experience than they had growing up, the effort required to balance the roles of nurturer and disciplinarian, the difficulties of co-parenting, and the need to make good choices to avoid putting their children at risk of harm. Themes pertaining to how the participants understood and utilized supports in their community included finding social programs unhelpful due to conflicting program requirements and a lack of trust of service providers. Participants reported the desire for help to come in the form of community. They also described the role of faith as a source of support and expressed maintaining an optimistic outlook as a method of coping. Findings revealed that the mothers often created a “family of choice” to gain the support not provided by their families. The role of context in making parenting decisions was also observed, as participants described using specific parenting strategies due to living in neighborhoods they perceived as being violent and dangerous. Implications for parent educators, social workers, and other human services workers are presented, as are suggestions for future research.