My Father Works with Carpet, My Mother Works with Emotion: Understanding the Lived Experiences of Children of Student Affairs Professionals

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© 2018, Copyright © NASPA 2018. This interpretative phenomenological analysis study focused on the way that children of student affairs professionals make meaning of their parents’ work. A purposive sample of 11 children at two institutions, ages 8 to 15, was interviewed using a semi-structured interview format. Data were analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological approach, inductively looking for themes to emerge. Results demonstrated that (a) children acknowledge the “learning” moments, (b) children perceive the parent as a caring helper, (c) children value the importance of relationships, and (d) children internalize the bad days of the parent. The results of this study launch a new body of research on the intersection between student affairs work and parenting. Through listening to the voices of children, both professional student affairs practice and work/life coexistence can improve.

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NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education