The aim of my study was to explore and describe the possible effects of family rituals as an asset during the process through which children give meaning to their experiences. I undertook an empirical study of limited extent. My study was qualitative by nature and conducted from the interpretivist paradigm. I used an instrumental case study as research design and employed educational psychological assessment, semi-structured interviews, informal conversations, reflective journals by the participants and myself, visual data (photographs), observation and field notes as data collection and documentation methods. I selected two Afrikaans-speaking primary school children and their parents from a nuclear family as participants in the study. The findings of my empirical study are supported by relevant literature with regard to the main concepts guiding the study, namely family, ritual, routine and family ritual, asset, meaning giving and children. The main findings were that the five dimensions of family rituals (structure, meaning, persistence and commitment, adaptability and gender relations), as identified in existing literature, were present in the family’s rituals with the possibility of adding other dimensions to these mentioned, such as task completion, communication, roles, affective management, affective involvement and behaviour management. Furthermore I found that the family’s rituals, with some exceptions, positively impacted on the children’s giving of meaning to themselves and the family rituals. Asset-based outcomes were also evident in the meaning the children gave to their experiences following the practicing of family rituals. Lastly I found that the family’s rituals served as an asset within the family.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.