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Parenting Black Children in Western contexts

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Time: 11.00am - 1.00pm
Price: free
Speaker(s): Dr Cynthia Okpokiri

Parenting Black Children in Western contexts

Parenting Black Children in Western contexts


This session will draw on findings from qualitative research with Nigerian parents in Greater London (Okpokiri, 2017, 2021, 2024), which highlight that the realities of child-rearing in Black families are not sufficiently understood and/or acknowledged by largely white European public, child welfare related professionals, and policymakers. Black parents and families therefore experience childrearing through the prism of social disrespect and denied rights, which propels them towards resisting racial-assimilationist child welfare theories of knowledge. Through 25 individual interviews and two focus group discussions, parents shared their childhood experiences and their own practices of raising children in Europe, with dominant themes of dis-respect and mis-recognition.

Dr Okpokiri's recent research evaluating requisite parenting – a model that speaks to an optimal Black parenting style across families of diverse Black heritages – points to good Black parenting as being distinct from universalised Eurocentric parenting styles. Requisite parenting embodies concerns about sheer survival of their children that parents of Black children contend with, in the face of situated structural challenges such as racism and poverty. Whether and how requisite parenting style is received by Eurocentric systems is relevant to further understanding Black parenting as a contested social reality.

This lecture should provide further opportunity to share not only the fears of Black parents, but their aspirations. The session will be a vessel for extending these insights to professionals and members of the public who are concerned about how to improve engagement with, and thus outcomes for, Black children and their families.

Bio of Dr Cynthia Okpokiri

Dr Cynthia Okpokiri is a social work Lecturer at University of East Anglia. Cynthia's research and pedagogy have focused on Black and Black African childrearing and family dynamics in Western and African contexts. Cynthia is a registered social worker who continues to engage with frontline social work practice by providing independent research-informed child protection and parenting expertise to professionals, academics and organisations involved with Black children and families. Cynthia has recently undertaken an evaluation of an optimal Black parenting style, requisite parenting (Okpokiri, 2024), funded by Barnardo's Children's Charity, which she theorised from a previous study. 

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Contact: Nathalie Leung