Experiences and challenges of different family structures in dealing with delinquent children in Botswana
Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the study of family structure and its impact on child well-being, growth, as well as development of delinquency behaviour. However, there is limited reliable literature on what experiences and challenges the different family structures encounter, in dealing with delinquent children in Botswana. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore and describe the experiences and challenges the different family structures face, in dealing with delinquent children in Botswana. The study utilised an explorative-descriptive qualitative methodological approach. Semistructured interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect data from five focus group discussions with learners at the Bana Ba Metsi School, individual interviews with staff members, working with learners, as well as individual interviews with families of some learners, making up a research sample of 47 participants for the entire study. The collected data was analysed using a thematic analysis method. The participants reported that their children’s delinquent activities led to mostly negative experiences, such as shame, embarrassment, psychological pain, discrimination, stress and depression. They also reported happiness, due to their children’s behaviour modification, as a result of attending the Bana Ba Metsi School. It is evident from the findings, though, that they encountered challenges, such as the long distance between their homes and the school, the lack of communication with their children, the lack of resources, as well as the lack of family support. However, they disclosed strategies that they employed to deal with the challenges, such as attending support groups, counselling, family discussions and prayer. In conclusion, the results of this study have practical implications for all personnel dealing with such families, including the social welfare departments, as well as schools coping with juveniles.