Family meals and parents’ challenges
Ann Mari Sellerberg
Summary, in English
The objective of this study was to evaluate how Swedish parents regard their children’s participation in meals. Taped interviews with 62 parents, responsible for meals at home, were transcribed and evaluated. This article is restricted to the 21 middle-class families in the group. Through analysis of the interviews, we evaluated how middle-class parents set out to mediate a certain approach to food and eating. Children were simultaneously expected to learn their own family’s eating habits and those of society in general. We found that the parents viewed their children’s participation in meals as an integration process. These data confirm that demarcation, a classic socialization impulse, is uesed to teach children their family’s eating habits. However, the socialization process also includes diversity, to broaden the child’s tastes outside the family, and experimentation, to encourage the child to try new dishes and flavors.