By using food consumption as a kaleidoscope, the aim of this paper is to illustrate the bidirectional and dialectical interactions among caregivers and between single children and their multiple caregivers in Xiamen.
This paper reports findings from in‐depth interviews with grandparents and parents (n=33) from ten three‐generational families and parents (n=20) from ten nuclear families with single children between six and nine years old.
Grandparents unequivocally accorded supreme importance to ensuring a child finishes his/her meals while parents tended to hold slightly more liberal views. These differences created higher conflict and tensions between the caregivers in three‐generational families as compared to nuclear households. Children in multigenerational families were more frequently force‐fed by adult‐caregivers whereas their counterparts were more capable of feeding themselves during meal times.
This exploratory study provides in‐depth insights but carries the limitation of generalisability. Future research can apply similar methodology on bigger samples so as to ascertain a better estimation of the extent of stress and tension across generations over meal times in urban China.
The initial finding reported in this paper is useful for public health workers and family life educators in China to help families with children of middle childhood to manage tension arising from meal times.
Diverging from most parenting research which tends to focus on parent‐child dynamics, this paper included three generations – grandparents, parents, grandchildren – in the research conceptualization. This is important as grandparents are integral parts of childrearing in China.
Goh, E.C.L. (2013), "“You must finish your dinner”: Meal time dynamics between grandparents, parents and grandchildren in urban China", British Food Journal, Vol. 115 No. 3, pp. 365-376. https://doi.org/10.1108/00070701311314192Download as .RIS
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