Parents’ role in adolescents’ leisure time use: From goals to parenting practices

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Parenting practices, Adolescents, Leisure activities, Resources, Social class differences


Inspired by Ann Swidler’s toolkit theory, this qualitative study aims to achieve a better understanding of social class differences in parenting practices and, in turn, in young people’s leisure time use. To that end, 32 semi-structured face-to-face interviews with parents from middle- and working-class families were conducted in a small city in Belgium. An inductive thematic analysis revealed substantial social class differences with respect to three parenting practices: (1) setting an example, (2) resolving conflicts and (3) facilitating leisure activities. The interviews showed that these differences were mainly linked to social class differences in parents’ resources: working-class parents more often lacked flexible time, financial resources, an extensive social network on which they could rely and the institutionally required attitudes, skills and experience to engage in the above-mentioned parenting practices. We conclude that young people’s (continued) institutional leisure participation puts high requirements on parents and not all (working-class) parents are able to live up to such requirements. In that way, contemporary leisure settings reproduce rather than mitigate inequality in the use of leisure time.


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How to Cite

Van der Eecken, A., Spruyt, B., & Bradt, L. (2020). Parents’ role in adolescents’ leisure time use: From goals to parenting practices. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 1(1), 43–62.

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