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Shamai (2001). Parents’ perceptions of their children in a context of shared political uncertainty

Bibliographic details:

Shamai, M. (2001). Parents’ perceptions of their children in a context of shared political uncertainty. Child & Family Social Work, 6(3), 249-260.‏


The study describes the differences and similarities between parents’ feelings and their perception of their children’s feelings in a politically uncertain situation. The study focuses on Israeli families living in Judaea and Samaria (the West Bank) during two periods: the Intifada and the post‐Oslo Agreements years during the first phase of the peace process with the Palestinians. The research combines qualitative and quantitative methods. The results show that most of the feelings evoked by the uncertainty are negative emotions, such as fear, anger, hate, the desire for revenge, and avoidance. These emotions are experienced by parents and, according to the parents’ perceptions, by their children as well. In addition to the correlation between parents’ own experiences and their appraisal of their children’s, the children were perceived as having more negative feelings than the parents. Systemic analysis of the results indicates that the children are often a channel for expression of their parents’ emotions. Based on this finding, suggestions are made regarding intervention with children that take family processes into account. Some directions for applying the findings of this specific study in other contexts of shared political uncertainty, such as Northern Ireland, are suggested.