Me and my befriender

Children’s views of having a befriender

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) gathered information from 26 children, aged 6-15 years attending 9 different befriending projects in Scotland and England.

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, ESRC and Befriending Networks.

Research aim
The aim of the research was to explore how children from lone mother households view the gender of the adult befriender with whom their children are matched. The children’s views were analysed in relation to:

  • a) how they see the befriender role, and
  • b) whether they consider that being matched with a male befriender might be of positive benefit (the idea of positive benefit is defined as a substitute, complementary or different form of adult-child relationship to a child’s existing relationships)

Understanding children’s views is of value to practitioners working with children but the research also informed theorisations of childhood, friendship and adult-child relations and the transmission of gender identities.

The specific objectives were to:

        1. Examine children’s expectations and experiences of their relationship with an adult befriender within the context of:
          a) the nature of their existing contacts and relationships with adults and
          b) the circumstances of their referral to a befriending project
        2. Contribute to academic theorising on the nature of gendered child-adult relations and the use of children’s perspectives to develop understandings of childhood.
        3. Aid befriending projects in using the perspectives of children to develop their services.

Research team
Sue Milne, Lynn Jamieson.


Time to man up

Discussion group notes from the seminar held in May 2012

CRFR briefing 60: ‘Me and My Befriender’

About my befriender: Children speak about their adult-child befriending relationships

More male befrienders wanted for children

Participating projects
A big thank you to all the children, parents and projects who took part in the research.

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