Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Jeanne Connors


Approximately 150,000 First Nation, Metis, and Inuit children attended Canadian residential schools from the 1840s to 1996. Most residential school children had negative experiences of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse that led to parenting repercussions once these children became parents. These repercussions of residential schools led to a rate of neglect for First Nation children 12 times higher than non-First Nation children. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological descriptive study was to explore the lived experiences of second generation parents, who were schooled in residential schools as children and their current parenting styles. The conceptual frameworks of trauma theory and family systems theory were used to understand the parenting styles of second-generation parents. Data were collected through one-on-one interviews with 20 second generation parents living within 10 Treaty 8 territory Woodland Cree reserves of Alberta, Canada. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded using NVivo10 software to determine common themes. The themes were little affection, too much alcohol and substance abuse, lack of positive reinforcement, an abundance of household chores, coparenting with extended family and friends, and spanking, revolving privileges, and yelling as forms of discipline. Social change may occur through better understanding of the parenting styles of second-generation parents. Recommendations include making levels of government aware of the need for a program to aid second-generation parents in healing from their past trauma. Another recommendation is that First Nation curricula should include the history and legacy of residential schools to allow children and their parents to acknowledge the effects of colonialism on their lives today and, hopefully, to overcome them.