New Understandings of Mothering: Mothers in an Abstinence-Based Drug Treatment Program

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 2015, 13 (2), pp. 173 - 184
Issue Date:
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© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. This paper addresses the impact of substance dependence on women and their children. It examines a small innovative program that integrates parenting support with other rehabilitation for substance-dependent mothers. It uses a thematic descriptive approach to explore how four participants perceive their parental role.The mothers report substantial changes in their understanding of motherhood and their relationship with their children. The paper addresses four specific themes: rethinking mothering; enhancing maternal capacity and competence; providing mother- and child-centred care; and managing child behaviour. The mothers reflect on the multidisciplinary program’s role in facilitating a more accepting and realistic view of themselves as mothers, and developing appropriate skills and confidence. Their experiences highlight the value of intervention that acknowledges the parenting role and its complex inter-relationship with substance dependence. The program nurtures maternal insight; it supports them to address other aspects of their treatment and to develop sound, sensitive attachment to their children.
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