There are few groups more stereotyped and demonized than "welfare mothers," particularly low-income, African American women raising children in the inner city. But what are the day-to-day stories behind the stereotypes? How do African American mothers (both single women and those living with a partner) in poor families handle their roles as parents? What support networks do they rely on to help raise their children? How do their personal histories affect their parenting styles?
Sociologist Katherine Brown Rosier spent three years interviewing and observing Indianapolis mothers as their children made the transition from a Head Start program to kindergarten and through second grade, analyzing the families in their homes, schools, and other social settings. She brings forth the voices of the mothers, children, and their teachers, providing a multifaceted picture of how low-income African American families cope with the daily pressures and responsibilities of child rearing.
Rosier also examines how larger socio-economic factors influence these families' specific circumstances and histories. What child-rearing strategies do these mothers employ, she asks, to promote a smooth transition into school despite complex discontinuities among their homes, schools, and communities? How are these strategies viewed and supported or impeded by teachers, family, friends, and neighbors?
Until now, most research on poor African American families has focused so intently on the problems confronted by this seemingly homogenous group that the routine practices of every day life have been ignored. In this unique project, Rosier allows the families' individual experiences and thoughts to contribute to and complicate current research.