Challenges of Mothering in Extended Families: The Case of Palestinian Women in Israel

Ghadir Zreik, Deborah Golden, David Oppenheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Historical and cross-cultural records show that childrearing is generally situated within a community of significant others, particularly kin. These others not only shape children’s behavior, but also shape that of mothers. The purpose of this paper is to explore this phenomenon from the point of view of Palestinian mothers in Israel. This is an instructive case study because the Arab society in Israel is undergoing fundamental changes, many of which shape—and are shaped by—changes in women’s lives, including shifts in perceptions and practices of mothering. Based on short, semi-structured interviews with 51 Palestinian mothers, the paper explores the challenges of mothering in the context of the extended family, with a focus on intergenerational relations. The interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis, supported by descriptive statistics. Findings revealed experiences of persistent “interference” in their mothering on the part of the older generation, exacerbated in circumstances of close residential proximity. These experiences did not lead to open conflict but rather served to bolster the women’s resolve to carve out their own ways of mothering.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)626-642
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Israel
  • Palestinian
  • extended families
  • mothering
  • mothers

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


Dive into the research topics of 'Challenges of Mothering in Extended Families: The Case of Palestinian Women in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this