Strengthening Family Connectedness: Experiences of Families with Children with Behavioural Problems




family connectedness, families, children with behavioural problems, attachment theory, social learning theory


Children’s behaviour is influenced by their family’s surroundings, interactions with their parents, and the connectedness that they experience within their family. Positive behaviour in children develops when they feel loved, supported, and safe in the presence of their parents. A weakened parent-child bond may lead to child behavioural problems and impact the ability of parents to create a positive social learning environment. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of families with children presenting with behavioural problems (FCBPs) in strengthening family connectedness. A qualitative research approach was used where semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 parents of children aged two to 18 reported to be presenting with behavioural problems. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data, giving rise to three themes: 1) understanding family connectedness; 2) parenting children with behavioural problems; and 3) family, community, and social work interventions. The findings of the study showed that FCBPs find it difficult to strengthen their relationships with their children. Their parenting capabilities are challenged when they have a strained relationship with their children presenting with behavioural problems (CBPs). The frustration of parents in the study was heightened by limited support received from family, community, and spouses, impacting their ability to strengthen the connectedness in the family. The study recommends that parents receive specialised social work intervention to learn new skills and strategies to strengthen their relationships and cope with the behaviour of their children. Furthermore, this study recommends that social workers receive training to deal with the risky behaviour of children and to support parents to strengthen their relationships with their CBPs.


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How to Cite

Danhouse, Merle, and Charlene J Erasmus. 2023. “Strengthening Family Connectedness: Experiences of Families With Children With Behavioural Problems”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 35 (2):20 pages.



Received 2022-08-28
Accepted 2023-05-10
Published 2023-07-04