Children’s problems study needs families

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A University of Otago lecturer hopes her latest project will shed light on the differing viewpoints of parents and children when dealing with childhood challenges.
Emily Macleod’s research project is based on how 5- to 12-year-old children and their parents view a challenge the child is facing.
Dr Macleod, a clinical psychologist, said the aim of her project was to identify children’s ‘‘unique perspective on [a] situation’’.
‘‘The idea is that if we can find out more about how children view things . . .then that will help us to understand what type of information they can provide in clinical settings and legal settings when it is really important for children to be able to get their voice heard.’’
When parents identified an issue, the parent and child would be interviewed separately about it, she said.
Dr Macleod said parents and children were welcome to talk about anything challenging them.
‘‘There’s been a real range.
‘‘It has ranged between academic things to challenges with peers and bullying or general behavioural challenges or problems between the parent and child getting along.’’
Five to 12-year-olds would be the focus of the study because their viewpoints were often missed, she said.
‘‘A lot of research focuses on adolescents because their viewpoint is often obtained independent of their parent in clinical and legal settings.
‘‘There is less research looking at what younger children can contribute and particularly the very young ones between 5 and 8 or 9.’’
Dr Macleod said there were 10 families involved in the study and more were needed. – If you are interested in taking part in the study, contact Dr Macleod at emily.macleod@otago.ac.nz or (03) 474-0999 ext 57372.