Traditional views regarding families are being challenged by new family arrangements. In this study I have explored the experiences of children growing up in same-gendered families, in order to inform our current understanding of how children experience the social constructedness of same-gendered families. I have utilised a narrative research design in order to present and re-present the children’s own meaning-making about being a child in a same-gendered family. I also inquired into the ways in which they negotiate the heteronormativity of society. In order to situate the broader contextual factors of heteronormativity I constructed a narrative tale, which was then developed throughout the thesis as part of the presentation to create a multivoiced, dialogical and reflexive text. From a holistic analysis of the created data, narratives were written which gives a unique and individual account of the experiences of each child that I had engaged with. Grounded in these narratives five concepts emerged, that formed my conceptualisation of the experiences of children growing up in same-gendered families. The main findings suggest that the experiences of children growing up in same-gendered families in this study are (1) that they experience different levels (or ways) of okayness, namely a level of okayness regarding having same-gender parents and a level of okayness to disclose or not to disclose their family structure, (2) children in same-gendered families are aware of others’ okayness or open-mindedness regarding same-gendered families, (3) children in same-gendered families at times show the need for openness in their relationships with others and (4), children in same-gendered families receive support from their parents, siblings, significant others, friends, class mates and other children also growing up in same-gendered families. Finally, I have also explored the interconnectedness between okayness, disclosure, awareness, openness and support and constructed a conceptual framework that serve as a theoretical forestructure against which the findings, interpretations and narratives can be viewed.
Thesis (PhD (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.