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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912

Abstract

JANSEN VAN VUUREN, Renée; VAN WYK, Carlien  and  DE KLERK, Werner. The management of ordinary daily worries by primary school learners. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2014, vol.54, n.3, pp. 542-560. ISSN 2224-7912.

Ordinary daily worries and how these worries are managed by primary school learners were explored and described in this study by making use of a descriptive qualitative research design. Worries form part of most children 's everyday development and can influence their functioning and development if they are not supported properly. It is therefore important that parents and teachers should be aware of these worries, in order to help their children to manage them effectively. The goal of this study was to determine the ordinary daily worries of primary school learners in a specific school and to determine how these primary school learners cope with these worries. Data obtained will be used to help parents and teachers cultivate awareness so that children can be better supported in managing their worries. Thirty primary school learners in their late middle childhood (ten to eleven years old) in a specific school were selected by a simple random sample. Data were obtained until saturation of data occurred by making use of semi-structured one-on-one interviews. Data were analysed by means of Braun and Clarke 's thematic analysing method after which themes and subthemes were identified. The findings of the study were verified with reference to relevant literature. The findings showed that all the participants experience daily worries, and that they manage these worries in different ways. The two research questions, namely (1) What are the ordinary daily worries of primary school learners? and (2) How do primary school learners manage these everyday worries? were used to identify the themes and subthemes from the interview data. Worries and ways of managing worries were divided into two categories, namely on an intrapersonal level (focusing on personal thoughts, reflections, beliefs and values about the self), and on an interpersonal level (interaction between individuals, including relationships, groups or the public). On an intrapersonal level worries about certain emotions experienced (sadness, anger and uncertainty) were identified. The ways of coping with worries on an intrapersonal level were: the preference of participants to being alone; trying not to think about worries; crying; writing or drawing in diaries; praying; eating or sleeping. On an interpersonal level worries were identified with regard to school (strict teachers, punishment that can follow, and possible low achievement); family (conflict in the family, safety in the family, finance and unemployment in the family as well as the consequences of divorce); friends (conflict with friends, acceptance of a peer group as well as bullying behaviour); and lastly, the worry of loss (the death of self or family members, as well as the death of a loved pet). Ways of managing worries on this level were to spend time with family members, friends, pets, interaction with various types of media or to ask for support from the school. Themes were written in a narrative form and are supported with appropriate quotes from the interviews. It was recommended that schools need to consider certain aspects regarding school climate as well as relational well-being to help school learners to cope with everyday worries with the possibility to ensure healthy development. It is therefore necessary that parents and teachers should be made aware of children 's (primary school learners) worries and how they manage these worries, so that this specific age group of children can be better supported and assisted.

Keywords : Daily worries; psychosocial development; coping; primary school learners; late middle childhood; descriptive qualitative research design; intrapersonal; interpersonal; awareness; support; school climate; relational well-being.

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