Zoe's Story: Exploring the Complexity of “Help-providing” and “Help-receiving” Relationships on the “Front-line” of Family Support

Maggie Leese

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The subject of engaging mothers in appropriate family support continues to be debated and this paper explores the complex factors that influenced one mother's willingness to accept support. In addition, it captures how her family support worker built and sustained a “help-providing” and “help-receiving” relationship despite the mother's resistance. This paper reports on data that were gathered as part of a larger research study based in two Sure Start Children's Centres and draws on one case study as an exemplar that illustrates the nature of family support. By presenting Zoe's story, this paper draws on personal construct theory to examine the reasons why one mother refused to engage in support services based on her negative self-construct. The findings identify that the building and sustaining of relationships with vulnerable and excluded mothers is complex and requires workers to manage and negotiate their everyday interactions and adapt the support offered. In addition, they identify how these “help-providing” and “help-receiving” relationships enable mothers to access the support that they need and refine their negative self-constructs and predict more positive outcomes for their family.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)340
    Number of pages354
    JournalChild Care in Practice
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2013


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