Participation of divorced single parents and their children in outdoor activities to improve attitudes and relationships
Divorce is one of the most stressful events a child or adult might ever experience. Enhancing family functioning is a key intended outcome in designing family leisure programmes aimed at developing life-enhancing attitudes and relationships. Nonetheless, the actual effects on families participating in such programmes, specifically single-parent families, have not yet been reported. Two divorced single-parent families headed by the mother with adolescent children participated in this small scale four-day adventure intervention programme including a high-ropes course, equine-assisted therapy, mountain-biking treasure hunt, hiking, abseiling and rock-climbing. Qualitative data collected from semi-structured one-on-one interviews, field notes and participant observation were analysed rendering two main themes, namely attitudes and relationships, each with its own set of subthemes: attitudes, comprising self-esteem and motivation; and relationships, comprising communication, problem solving, respect and trust. The leisure intervention programme played a positive role in improving attitudes and the relationships between the divorced single-parent mothers and their children.
Key words: Leisure; Outdoor activities; Relationships; Attitude; Divorce; Single parenting; Adolescent children.