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Public Health Parenting Skills and Capacity
by
Maria Isabel Loureiro, Ana Rita Goes

Introduction

Parenting has a strong impact on a child’s health and well-being. The rising incidence of developmental and behavioral problems among children attests to some children’s and families’ inability to cope appropriately with the increasing stresses in their lives and their need for assistance. Researchers and professionals from different areas are called to intervene for parenting support. Acknowledging the impacts of parenting on children’s health and well-being, the ways in which parenting affects children’s health and well-being, the determinants of parenting, and the characteristics of competent parenting are essential to develop and implement effective parenting programs. This bibliography provides references that will assist students, researchers, and practitioners in the understanding of these different topics and in the identification of effective interventions. In this bibliography the term “parents” is used to include all those who provide significant care for children in a home or family context, including biological parents and other important groups of primary caregivers. The term “parenting” involves the complex process of bidirectional relationships between parents and their offspring and includes the vast array of tasks, actions, and responsibilities that parents may undertake to answer to children’s needs and to contribute to their children’s health, development, and well-being (e.g., caring for physical needs and protection, playing, disciplining, teaching, establishing a pleasant and stimulating environment). The research and theorization on bonding and attachment is not specifically approached in this bibliography, as it is the single focus of another entry.

Textbooks

The role of parents in the development of their children has been widely discussed in child development manuals such as Damon and Lerner 2006. Child intervention textbooks, such as Shonkoff and Meisels 2000, also explore this issue. The specific domain of parenting is receiving a lot of attention from editors, originating textbooks, and whole collections under the broad issue of parenting, such as Bornstein 2002, Brooks 2008, and Hoghughi and Long 2004. Dwivedi 1997 provides practical information for professionals working with parenting issues.

  • Bornstein, M. H., ed. 2002. Handbook of parenting. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The handbook covers extensive literature about parenting, including parenting children at different developmental stages and from common and special groups; the biology and socioecology of parenting; parenting in different circumstances; individual and contextual factors affecting parenting; the impact of parenting on children; developments and challenges on parenting research; and practical issues.

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  • Brooks, Jane. 2008. The process of parenting. 7th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

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    This comprehensive introduction to parenting is suitable for students, instructors, and professionals working with parents. It takes a developmental perspective and combines attention to theory and research with their application to practical parenting issues. It explores general issues of parenting, approaches parenting across developmental stages, and discusses parenting challenges.

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  • Damon, W., and R. M. Lerner, eds. 2006. Handbook of child psychology. 6th ed. 4 vols. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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    Within this handbook, theoretical approaches considering the parental role in child development are reviewed (Vol. 1) as well as research about the contextual influences implied (Vol. 2 and Vol. 3). Volume 4 approaches applied development and addresses the way in which research can inform those working with children, their families, and caretakers.

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  • Dwivedi, K. N., ed., 1997. Enhancing parenting skills: A guide for professionals working with parents. Chichester and New York: Wiley.

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    This book is suitable for professionals dealing with parenting issues. It contextualizes parenting in historical, socioeconomic, , gender-related, and ethno-cultural terms. The process of parenting assessment is described. Practical aspects of setting up parenting programs are discussed. The final chapters approach helping parents in specific situations: hyperactivity, stepfamily, and gifted and disabled children.

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  • Hoghughi, M., and N. Long, eds. 2004. Handbook of parenting: theory and research for practice. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    The SAGE Handbook of Parenting is primarily concerned with considering theory and research evidence as a basis for practice rather than research, including fundamental topics on parenting research: parental influences on child development and adjustment; impact of parenting on child’s health, development, and behavior; determinants of parenting; parent support.

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  • Shonkoff, Jack P., and Samuel J. Meisels, eds. 2000. Handbook of early childhood intervention. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    This handbook brings together the current status and future directions of the field. It explores the contributions of parents for child development and well-being as well as theoretical frameworks for intervention. The importance of targeting families in early childhood interventions is extensively discussed.

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Journals

Since the late 20th century, the study of parenting has occupied a huge number of publications in an array of scientific journals. This section provides an overview of professional journals that systematically include parenting issues. Parenting: Science and Practice is exclusively devoted to parenting, caregiving, and child rearing. Journals from the field of developmental psychology, such as Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Child: Care, Health & Development, also provides a strong focus to parenting issues. General psychology journals, such as American Psychologist, may also include articles on parenting.

Databases

The most common databases, including PubMed or ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), provide rich searches on parenting but can be hard to manage. The websites in this section provide specific search features or target specific kinds of information. The Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown Univ compiles different types of information, making it possible to generate annotated bibliographies and to access knowledge paths with selected information. The Cochrane Library, through the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, provides systematic reviews in health care. The website Promising Practices Network summarizes effective and promising intervention programs. Some organizations provide their own databases and resources, giving access to publications developed or supported by them. This is the case with the Commonwealth Fund, the Center on the Developing Child, and the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning

Development

The discussion on the conditions that determine differences between children’s development and well-being has been marking different fields of research and guiding different theorizations, as seen in Cowan, et al. 2006. The broad forces of nature and nurture, and the interplay between them, have been central in this discussion, with some researchers awarding the seminal power to family factors and others minimizing the family. In recent decades, works like Harris 1998, Rowe 1994, and Scarr 1992, focusing on behavior genetics, questioned the power of the parenting role for children’s outcomes. Collins, et al. 2000 and Maccoby 2000 discuss the interpretations made about parenting research and present contemporary evidence for the significance of parenting. Maccoby 2000 and Rutter, et al. 1997 also state that children’s genetic predispositions and their parents’ child-rearing regimes are closely interwoven and jointly function to affect child development. Shonkoff and Phillips 2000 shows the role of family in child development, including neurological development.

  • Collins, W. A., E. E. Maccoby, L. Steinberg, E. M. Hetherington, and M. H. Bornstein. 2000. Contemporary research on parenting: The case for nature and nurture. American Psychologist 55.2: 218–232.

    DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.2.218Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors present and discuss the challenges faced by parenting research. They argue that most criticism on parenting research invokes outdated studies and present contemporary lines of research using robust methodological approaches that support the significance of parenting and the complexity of its effects.

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  • Cowan, P. A., D. Powell, and C. P. Cowan. 2006. Parenting interventions: A family systems perspective. In Handbook of child psychology. Vol. 4, Child psychology in practice. 6th ed. Edited by K. A. Renninger and I. E. Sigel, 3–72. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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    Authors describe nine sets of theories explaining how parents contribute to their children’s outcomes, considering the locus (child-focused, parent-focused, parent-child relationship–focused) and mechanisms (biological, psychological, social) regulating child development.

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  • Harris, J. R. 1998. The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: Free Press.

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    Harris recognizes some influences of parents on their children, but the major focus of her book is on downplaying such influences and on stressing the respects in which parents are not influential.

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  • Maccoby, E. E. 2000. Parenting and its effects on children: On reading and misreading behavior genetics. Annual Review of Psychology 51:1–27.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Maccoby describes a large body of robust research concerning the diverse genetic and environmental factors that influence how children grow and develop. She argues that there is clear evidence that parents influence their children and that genetics affects children’s behavioral characteristics. She calls for the interrelationship between these factors.

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  • Rowe, David C. 1994. The limits of family influence: Genes, experience, and behavior. New York: Guilford.

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    Rowe picks up and synthesizes findings from behavior genetics and discusses the weaknesses of the research on parenting effects. He states that the nurture debate draws from an assumption taken for granted and assumed to be right. He argues that parents may have little influence on their children’s traits.

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  • Rutter, M., J. Dunn, R. Plomin, E. Simonoff, A. Pickles, B. Maughan, J. Ormel, J. Meyer, and L. Eaves. 1997. Integrating nature and nurture: Implications of person–environment correlations and interactions for developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology 9.2: 335–364.

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    The authors describe key findings about genetic/environmental effects on development and systematize general principles drawn from this research. The interplay between nature and nurture and its effects on development, personality, and psychopathology are discussed. The need for integrated collaboration between genetic researchers and developmentalists is emphasized.

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  • Scarr, S. 1992. Developmental theories for the 1990s: Development and individual differences. Child Development 63.1: 1–19.

    DOI: 10.2307/1130897Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Scarr reviews the roles of genes and environments for development, emphasizing individual genotypes as crucial for individual differences. The author proposes that each child constructs a reality from the opportunities afforded by the rearing environment and reviews research on the direction of effects between parenting and children.

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  • Shonkoff, J. P., and D. A. Phillips, eds. 2000. From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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    The evidence about the nature of early development and the role of the family, child care, and community within which the child grows is presented. Authors draw conclusions for the nature–nurture debate, showing that early experiences, care-giving relationships, and environmental factors affect all aspects of development in a cumulative fashion.

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Influences

Within the study of the impact of environmental factors on children’s outcomes, family factors have received a great deal of attention. Drawing from an ecological model of development, extensive research has been done regarding distal and proximal family predictors of developmental outcomes. Feinstein, et al. 2004 and Masten and Shaffer 2006 discuss several family factors, such as poverty, low levels of maternal education, minority ethnic status, large household size, maternal depression, and harsh and coercive parenting practices. Duncan and Brooks-Gunn 2000 discuss how parental education and income are the most important distal influences on children’s outcomes. Parenting has been shown to be one of the strongest predictors of children’s outcomes, as seen in Bradley, et al. 2001. Given the diversity of family factors affecting child development, several works have focused on the development of multiple-risk indexes and on the identification of promotive and protective factors, as seen in Multiple-Risk, Promotive, and Protective Effects. Pathways includes references to works devoted to the processes through which family factors impact on child outcomes.

  • Bradley, R. H., R. F. Corwyn, M. Burchinal, H. P. McAdoo, and C. G. Garcia Coll. 2001. The home environments of children in the United States. Part II: Relations with behavioral development through age thirteen. Child Development 72.6: 1868–1886.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.t01-1-00383Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bradley and colleagues examined relations between aspects of the home environment and developmental outcomes. The most consistent relations found were between learning stimulation and children’s developmental status, with relations for parental responsiveness and spanking varying as a function of outcome, age, ethnicity, and poverty status.

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  • Duncan, G. J., and J. Brooks-Gunn. 2000. Family poverty, welfare reform, and child development. Child Development 71.1: 188–196.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.00133Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors present a review of research about the selective effects of family poverty on child outcomes. The time, depth, and persistence of poverty seem to be important. They summarize pathways through which income may influence children. Authors make suggestions for policies targeted to preventing economic deprivation or its effects.

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  • Feinstein, L., K. Duckworth, and R. Sabates. 2004. A model of the inter-generational transmission of educational success. London: Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning.

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    The authors examine the evidence on the family factors that impact on children’s development and ascertain which factors are most important and how different factors interact. Drawing from the ecological model of development, they provide a framework for the role of different factors and interactions between them.

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  • Masten, A. S., and A. Shaffer. 2006. How families matter in child development: reflections from research on risk and resilience. In Families count: Effects on child and adolescent development. Edited by A. Clarke-Stewart and J. Dunn, 5–25. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511616259Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors discuss theory and research about family processes and child development. Frameworks that emphasize the family and the ways families matter are addressed. Research on risk and resilience frame the importance of families for child development and adjustment.

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Multiple-Risk, Promotive, and Protective Effects

Several works, such as Sameroff, et al. 1993, considered the high level of correlation among risk variables and created multiple-risk indexes, showing that children who experience multiple risk factors are more likely to have negative developmental and behavioral outcomes. Given that not all children who experience multiple risk factors experience negative outcomes, researchers have also devoted attention to the identification of protective and promotive factors of development and adjustment. Bradley, et al. 1994 shows the protective effect of positive parenting practices. Brody and Flor 1998 test a family process model and also identify a protective effect of different parenting practices. Gutman, et al. 2002 study the effect of multiple-risk, promotive, and protective factors on different adolescent outcomes, supporting the importance of these factors.

  • Bradley, R. H., L. Whiteside, D. J. Mundfrom, P. H. Casey, K. J. Kelleher, and S. K. Pope. 1994. Early indications of resilience and their relation to experience in the home environments of low birth weight and premature children living in poverty. Child Development 65.2: 346–360.

    DOI: 10.2307/1131388Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine the moderating effect of the caregiving environment on the relation between biological and socioeconomic risk and children’s outcomes. Results show the protective effect of responsive, stimulating, and organized care for development and adjustment in high-risk children. Results also support a cumulative protection effect.

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  • Brody, G. H., and D. L. Flor. 1998. Maternal resources, parenting practices, and child competence in rural, single-parent African American families. Child Development 69.3: 803–816.

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    A hypothetical family process model linking distal and proximal family factors and children’s outcomes in dangerous surroundings was tested. Distal variables were linked with parenting practices and mother–child relationship quality, and these were indirectly linked with children’s outcomes through children’s self-regulation. A combination of parenting practices exerted a protective effect.

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  • Gutman, L. M., A. J. Sameroff, and J. S. Eccles. 2002. The academic achievement of African American students during early adolescence: An examination of multiple risk, promotive, and protective factors. American Journal of Community Psychology 30.3: 367–400.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1015389103911Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines the effects of multiple-risk, promotive, and protective effects on adolescent outcomes. Adolescents had more negative outcomes as their exposure to risks increased. The promotive effects of family processes and social support factors differed according to the outcome. Protective effects of parenting and social support were evidenced.

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  • Sameroff, A. J., R. Seifer, A. Baldwin, and C. Baldwin. 1993. Stability of intelligence from preschool to adolescence: The influence of social and family risk factors. Child Development 64.1: 80–97.

    DOI: 10.2307/1131438Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sameroff and colleagues used a risk index consisting of family structural, maternal mental health, and behavioral factors. Multiple-risk scores explained one-third to one-half of IQ variance. Cumulative risks predicted more variance in outcome than any single risk alone.

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Pathways

Some studies try to identify the processes through which exposure to risk impacts child outcomes. McLoyd 1998 hypothesizes different pathways to explain the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage and emphasizes the role of parenting processes. Linver, et al. 2002 identifies specific parenting processes mediating the impact of family income. Klebanov, et al. 1998 studies the mediating role of parenting for the effect of a diverse set of family risk factors. Bornstein and Bradley 2003 addresses the mediating role of parenting in the relation between socioeconomic status and child development. Grant, et al. 2003 proposes a conceptual model including these mediating and moderating processes.

  • Bornstein, M. H., and R. H. Bradley, eds. 2003. Socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The contributing authors address several questions regarding the relations among socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development, with particular emphasis on how parenting mediates the relation between socioeconomic status and child development.

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  • Grant, K. E., B. E. Compas, A. F. Stuhlmacher, A. E. Thurm, S. D. McMahon, and J. A. Halpert. 2003. Stressors and child and adolescent psychopathology: Moving from markers to mechanisms of risk. Psychological Bulletin 129.3: 447–466.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.3.447Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors propose a general conceptual model of the relation between risks and children’s outcomes, including moderating and mediating processes and specificity effects. They examine the model testing a specific model of mediating processes, finding support for them. The authors provide suggestions for future research within the model.

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  • Klebanov, P. K., J. Brooks-Gunn, C. McCarton, and M. C. McCormick. 1998. The contribution of neighborhood and family income to developmental test scores over the first three years of life. Child Development 69.5: 1420–1436.

    DOI: 10.2307/1132275Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors found significant effects of neighborhood poverty, family income, and family risk factors on children’s cognitive development, each controlling for the effects of others. The effects of family income, neighborhood income, and family risk on the cognitive development of children were mediated by the home environment.

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  • Linver, M. R., J. Brooks-Gunn, and D. E. Kohen. 2002. Family processes in pathways from income to young children’s development. Developmental Psychology 38.5: 719–734.

    DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.38.5.719Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors examined the mediator effects of family processes on the association between income and children’s outcomes. Family income was associated with child outcomes. The provision of stimulating experiences mediated the effects of income on children’s outcomes. Maternal emotional distress and parenting practices mediated the effects of income on behavior problems.

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  • McLoyd, V. 1998. Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist 53.2: 185–204.

    DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.53.2.185Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    McLoyd reviews the advances of research on the effects of poverty on children’s outcomes and the processes by which these outcomes emerge. The author suggests that the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage on children appear to be mediated partly by harsh, inconsistent parenting and elevated exposure to acute and chronic stressors.

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Theories

Despite extensive investigation on parenting over many years, there is currently no unifying theory of parenting that explains why and how parental behavior influences children’s health, development, and well-being. Classic works about the importance of within-family childhood socialization are extremely deterministic and guided by unilateral models of parent-child relations. Maccoby 1992 reviews the contributions of behaviorism and psychoanalytic theory to the history of research on childhood socialization in the context of the family and the challenges they faced. More recent works, like Bronfenbrenner and Morris 2006, consider the active role of children and tend to conceive parenting and its impacts in the interrelationship with children and the overall environment, involving bidirectional and interactive processes. The field also turned to more domain-specific theories, examining pathways through which parents can influence their children. As described in Grusec 2002, theories that have the strongest scientific support focus on particular facets of parenting and particular child outcomes. The reviews in Parke 2004 and Patterson and Fisher 2002 show the need for a more unified approach to the study of parenting.

  • Bronfenbrenner, U., and P. A. Morris. 2006. The bioecological model of human development. In Handbook of child psychology. 6th ed. Vol. 1, Theoretical models of human development. Edited by R. M. Lerner, 793–828. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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    Authors expose the defining properties—proximal processes, people, contexts, time periods—of the bioecological model of development and the dynamic, interactive relationships among them.

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  • Grusec, J. E. 2002. Parental socialization and children’s acquisition of values. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 143–167. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Grusec describes three categories of parenting theories according to socialization goals and parental behaviors: internal control theories, emphasizing internalization and reasoning as a discipline practice; external control theories, emphasizing antisocial behavior and reinforcement contingencies; and relationship theories, emphasizing the role of the emotional link between parent and child.

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  • Maccoby, E. E. 1992. The role of parents in the socialization of children: An historical overview. Developmental Psychology 28.6: 1006–1017.

    DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.28.6.1006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The history of research on childhood socialization in the context of the family is traced. Behaviorism and psychoanalytic theory and the challenges that led to their fall are described. Subsequent focus of research in the field of socialization and reconceptualizations of the role of parents are presented.

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  • Parke, R. 2004. Development in the family. Annual Review in Psychology 55:365–399.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141528Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Parke reviews theoretical conceptual and empirical advances in family research and the implications for children’s development. New directions and challenges for family research are highlighted. The author discusses future trends in family research.

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  • Patterson, G. R., and P. A. Fisher. 2002. Recent developments in our understanding of parenting: Bidirectional effects, causal models, and the search for parsimony. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 59–88. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Studies and theories on parenting are overviewed and their adequacy evaluated according to the demonstration of parsimony, correlational evidence, and experimental manipulations. The authors review new experimental manipulation studies and examine their relevance for theories of parenting.

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Impact

The relationship between parental behaviors and parent-child relationships and child health and development, adjustment, and general well-being has been extensively examined, as summarized in the reviews Baumrind 1993, Eshel, et al. 2006, and Richter 2004. O’Connor 2002 and Gutman and Feinstein 2007 discuss the complexity of this relationship: different parental behaviors impact on different children’s outcomes in different moments of their development and in a different manner considering diverse moderators. O’Connor, et al. 1998 examines the bidirectionality of interactions between parents and children. Parke 2004 discusses different pathways through which parents influence their children’s development, including the impact of child rearing practices and the broader roles of parents as managers of the child’s social environment. Extensive research has been developed regarding the impact of parenting on specific child outcomes, as discussed in Health and Development and Behavior Problems.

  • Baumrind, D. 1993. The average expectable environment is not good enough: A response to Scarr. Child Development 64.5: 1299–1317.

    DOI: 10.2307/1131536Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Answering to Scarr’s presidential address, Baumrind summarizes the evidence about the impact of the details of socialization patterns on normal and deviant development. She reviews research about the influence of parents’ behaviors on children’s cognitive, social, and personality development.

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  • Eshel, N., B. Daelmans, M. Cabral de Mello, and J. Martines. 2006. Responsive parenting: Interventions and outcomes. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 84.12: 991–998.

    DOI: 10.2471/BLT.06.030163Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This review integrates maternal responsiveness studies from both developed and developing countries and defines responsiveness, discusses its effects on child health and development as well as the success of interventions meant to enhance it.

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  • Gutman, L. M., and L. Feinstein. 2007. Parenting behaviours and children’s development from infancy to early childhood: Changes, continuities, and contributions. London: Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning, Institute of Education.

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    Authors examined concurrent, future, and bidirectional relationships between parenting behaviors and children’s development. The frequency of mother–child interactions had a positive impact on future child development, while a more stimulating home environment had a positive impact on children’s concurrent development. Parenting behavior was responsive to child development.

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  • O’Connor, T. G. 2002. Annotation: The “effects” of parenting reconsidered: Findings, challenges and applications. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 43.5: 555–572.

    DOI: 10.1111/1469-7610.00046Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    O’Connor presents evidence for the impact of parenting on behavioral problems from different research strands: animal studies, intervention studies, longitudinal studies, studies on the mechanisms of parental influence, and studies on the specific role of the caregiver. Current findings concerning the mediators, moderators, and bidirectionality of parenting effects are discussed.

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  • O’Connor, T. G., K. Deater-Deckard, D. Fulker, M. Rutter, and R. Plomin. 1998. Genotype–environment correlations in late childhood and early adolescence: Antisocial behavioral problems and coercive parenting. Developmental Psychology 34.5: 970–981.

    DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.34.5.970Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors review child-driven effects in parent–child relationships and test the evocative genotype–environment correlations hypotheses. Results showed that children at genetic risk for antisocial behavior were more likely to receive negative parenting than children without risk. Results also pointed to an additional environmentally mediated parental effect on children’s behavior.

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  • Parke, R. 2004. Development in the family. Annual Review in Psychology 55:365–399.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141528Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Parke reviews different pathways through which parents influence their children’s development: the parent–child relationship, parents as advisers, parents as providers of social opportunities. The author summarizes evidence about the impact of parenting on child development through each of the proposed pathways.

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  • Richter, L. 2004. The importance of caregiver–child interactions for the survival and healthy development of young children: A review. Geneva, Switzerland: Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, World Health Organization.

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    Drawing from the work of John Bowlby, the review focuses on theory and evidence about the nature of the interactions between the caregiver and the child, identifying fundamental qualities of the caregiver. The research on the impact of positive and negative caregiving on child health and development is summarized.

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Health and Development

The positive impact of parenting on children’s health and acquisition of healthy attitudes and behaviors has been examined. Soliday 2004 reviews the relationship between parental factors and children’s health outcomes. Tinsley, et al. 2002 focuses and synthesizes the evidence regarding the ways by which parents promote children’s health. DeVore and Ginsburg 2005 explores the literature regarding parenting behaviors and adolescents’ outcomes. Grolnick and Farkas 2002, Eisenberg and Valiente 2002, Ladd and Pettit 2002, Wade 2004, and Meadows 1996 each explores the impact of parenting on particular developmental areas: self-regulation, pro-social and moral development, peer relationships, intellectual development and educational achievement, and cognitive development.

  • DeVore, E. R., and K. R. Ginsburg. 2005. The protective effects of good parenting on adolescents. Current Opinion on Pediatrics 17.4: 460–465.

    DOI: 10.1097/01.mop.0000170514.27649.c9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors explore developments in the literature regarding parenting behaviors and adolescent development. Recent studies demonstrate the significant, enduring, and protective influence of positive parenting behaviors on adolescent development. The role of parental monitoring, open parent–child communication, supervision, and quality of parent–child relationship is highlighted.

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  • Eisenberg, N., and C. Valiente. 2002. Parenting and children’s prosocial and moral development. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 111–142. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors explore theories and empirical data about the role of parents for children’s moral development, including positive and negative aspects of morality, such as guilt and antisocial behaviors. Authors draw some conclusions about the behaviors that appear to foster the development of moral behavior and reasoning. Research needs are summarized.

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  • Grolnick, W. S., and M. Farkas. 2002. Parenting and the development of children’s self-regulation. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 89–110. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors explore the effects of parenting styles and strategies on the development of self-regulation in children. The underlying needs and the environments that support the development of self-regulation are discussed, emphasizing the kinds of parenting associated with the development of emotional and behavioral self-regulation and susceptibility to peer influence.

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  • Ladd, G. W., and G. S. Pettit. 2002. Parenting and the development of children’s peer relationships. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 269–309. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors review the evidence on the indirect and direct parental influences on children’s peer competence and relationships. The interrelations between parental influences, mediating processes, and moderated associations are discussed.

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  • Meadows, S. 1996. Parenting behaviour and children’s cognitive development. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

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    This essay considers the theoretical and metatheoretical issues in the field of cognitive development and parenting. Evidence on the field is discussed.

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  • Soliday, E. 2004. Parenting and children’s physical health. In Handbook of parenting: Theory and research for practice. Edited by M. Hoghugi and N. Long, 161–180. London: SAGE.

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    Soliday synthesizes available literature documenting relationships between parental factors and children’s health variables, including contextual factors, cognitive-behavioral factors, parenting processes, and relational variables.

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  • Tinsley, B. J., C. Markey, A. J. Ericksen, A. Kwasman, and R. V. Ortiz. 2002. Health promotion for parents. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 311–328. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors review and integrate research focused on how parents promote children’s health. Research suggests that children’s health attitudes and behaviors are influenced by parents’ modeling of health attitudes and behaviors and by particular parenting behaviors. Parenting also plays an important role in helping children cope with illness and medical treatments.

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  • Wade, S. W. 2004. Parenting influences on intellectual development and educational achievement. In Handbook of parenting: Theory and research for practice. Edited by M. Hoghugi and N. Long, 198–212. London: SAGE.

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    This chapter provides an overview of research on the impact of parenting on intellectual development, educational achievement, and vocational choices. Children’s outcomes are organized according to specific parenting practices: emotional and verbal responsiveness, cognitive stimulation, control, and discipline. Research-based recommendations for parents and educators are included.

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Behavior Problems

The role of parenting in the development, maintenance, and treatment of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in children has been examined often. Rothbaum and Weisz 1994 presents a meta-analysis on the association between parental caregiving and externalizing behavior. McLeod, et al. 2007b conducts a meta-analysis on the association between parenting behavior and childhood anxiety. McLeod, et al. 2007a examines the association between parenting and childhood depression. Deault 2010 reviews the family factors associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Smith, et al. 2004 reviews the role of the family in the development, maintenance, and treatment of antisocial behavior.

  • Deault, L. 2010. A systematic review of parenting in relation to the development of comorbities and functional impairments in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Child Psychiatry and Human Development 41:168–192.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10578-009-0159-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The review synthesizes research evidence regarding the family factors associated with ADHD, with particular focus on the development of externalizing and internalizing comorbities and functional impairments. The studies reviewed show the association of family factors with ADHD. Oppositional and conduct problems are associated with negative parenting practices.

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  • McLeod, B. D., J. R. Weisz, and J. J. Wood. 2007a. Examining the association between parenting and childhood depression: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review 27:986–1003.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.03.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors conducted a meta-analysis of studies testing the association between parenting and childhood depression. Parenting accounted for 8 percent of the variance in child depression. Various dimensions and subdimensions of parenting were differentially associated with child depression. The modest association between parenting and childhood depression indicates the role of other factors.

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  • McLeod, B. D., J. J. Wood, and J. R. Weisz. 2007b. Examining the association between parenting and childhood anxiety: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review 27:155–172.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2006.09.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors conducted a meta-analysis of forty-seven studies testing the association between parenting and child anxiety. Parenting accounted for only 4 percent of the variance in child anxiety. Specific dimensions and subdimensions of parental behavior differed in their association with child anxiety.

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  • Rothbaum, F., and J. R. Weisz. 1994. Parental caregiving and child externalizing behavior in nonclinical samples: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin 116.1: 55–74.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.116.1.55Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors present a meta-analysis supporting the moderate association between parental caregiving and child externalizing behavior. Stronger associations were found for older children, for boys, and for mothers. Associations were also stronger when the measure of caregiving relied on observations or interviews, rather than questionnaires, and when it tapped combinations of parent behaviors.

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  • Smith, D. K., P. G. Sprengelmeyer, and K. J. Moore. 2004. Parenting antisocial behavior. In Handbook of parenting: Theory and research for practice. Edited by M. Hoghugi and N. Long, 237–255. London: SAGE.

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    Authors provide an overview of the role of family in the development, maintenance, and treatment of antisocial behavior. The role of multiple factors in parenting practices during early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence is discussed. Implications for intervention are addressed.

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Effective Parenting

The study of parenting and socialization has been driven by an effort to identify parenting variables that have desirable outcomes for children. The definition of what constitutes good parenting grows from the evidence of parenting behaviors that have a positive impact on children’s outcomes. Teti and Candelaria 2002 provides a comprehensive review of research on parenting competence. Grusec 2002 reviews successful parenting strategies, styles and claims for a contextual approach to examine effective parenting. Researchers have also examined combinations of parenting behaviors, in order to describe and understand the parenting styles that have the strongest impact on children’s and families’ outcomes, including parenting dimensions and parenting typologies, as described in the subsections below. Context presents evidence regarding the need to examine successful parenting in context.

  • Grusec, J. E. 2002. Parental socialization and children’s acquisition of values. In Handbook of parenting Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 143–167. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors focus on parents as agents of socialization. Scientific perspectives on parenting and empirical data about successful parenting strategies and styles are discussed. They conclude that arguments about the most effective ways to assist children in socialization must be viewed in the context of a wide variety of variables.

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  • Teti, D. M., and M. A. Candelaria. 2002. Parenting competence. In Handbook of parenting. Vol 4, Social conditions and applied parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 149–180. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors present a comprehensive review of research on parenting competence, finding areas of agreement in the scientific literature about successful parenting. However, conceptualizations of competent parenting depend on the specific child outcomes of interest and children’s needs. The role and outcomes of warm, sensitive, acceptant, harsh, and coercive parenting, parental involvement, and disciplinary strategies are summarized.

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Parenting Dimensions

The dimensions of parent–child relationships most consistently assessed and associated with children’s outcomes include warmth/support or sensitivity/responsiveness, behavior and psychological control, and conflict or hostility/rejection. Barber 1996 discusses the construct of control and presents data about its impact on child outcomes. Caron, et al. 2006 examines the specificity of relations between control and children’s behavior problems. Galambos, et al. 2003 studies the relative influence of different parenting dimensions on adolescent outcomes. Patterson 1982 examines the role of coercion and presents a theorization of coercive interaction cycles. Buschgens, et al. 2010 studies the effects of emotional warmth, rejection, and overprotection on behavior problems. Hoeve, et al. 2009 presents a meta-analysis on the effects of parental monitoring, psychological control, rejection, and hostility on delinquency. Aunola and Nurmi 2005 examines a combination of parenting dimensions that may better predict children’s behavior problems. Gray and Steinberg 1999 examines the specific contributions of three dimensions of authoritative parenting. McGroder 2000 proposes a different set of dimensions and empirically driven patterns of parenting.

  • Aunola, K., and J.-E. Nurmi. 2005. The role of parenting styles in children’s problem behavior. Child Development 76.6: 1144–1159.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00840.x-i1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined a combination of parenting dimensions that would better predict children’s externalizing and internalizing problems. A high level of psychological control combined with high affection predicted increases in the levels of internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors. Behavioral control combined with low psychological control decreased externalizing problems.

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  • Barber, B. K. 1996. Parental psychological control: Revisiting a neglected construct. Child Development 67.6: 3296–3319.

    DOI: 10.2307/1131780Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Barber traces the history of the construct of control and distinguishes psychological control and behavior control both theoretically and empirically. Data from three studies are presented. Psychological control is consistently predictive of youth internalizing problems and, in some cases, externalizing problems. Behavioral control is related primarily to externalizing problems.

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  • Buschgens, C. J., M. A. van Aken, S. H. Swinkels, J. Ormel, F. C. Verhulst, and J. K. Buitelaar. 2010. Externalizing behaviors in preadolescents: Familial risk to externalizing behaviors and perceived parenting styles. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 19.7: 567–575.

    DOI: 10.1007/s00787-009-0086-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using a prospective study, authors found main effects of familial risk of externalizing behaviors to be emotional warmth, rejection, and overprotection. Emotional warmth was the most consistent predictor of outcome measures. Rejection was a stronger predictor of aggression and delinquency.

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  • Caron, A., B. Weiss, V. Harris, and T. Catron. 2006. Parenting behavior dimensions and child psychopathology: Specificity, task dependency, and interactive relations. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 35.1: 34–45.

    DOI: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3501_4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined the specificity of relations between parent behaviors and childhood internalizing and externalizing problems. Specificity was found for behavior control: higher levels of behavior control were uniquely related to lower levels of externalizing problems and higher levels of internalizing problems.

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  • Galambos, N. L., E. T. Barker, and D. M. Almeida. 2003. Parents do matter: Trajectories of change in externalizing and internalizing problems in early adolescence. Child Development 74.2: 578–594.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.7402017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined the relative influence of parenting support, behavioral control, psychological control, and deviant peers on trajectories of externalizing and internalizing problems in early adolescence. Parents’ firm behavioral control seemed to slow down the upward trajectory in externalizing problems.

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  • Gray, M. R., and L. Steinberg. 1999. Unpacking authoritative parenting: Reassessing a multidimensional construct. Journal of Marriage and the Family 61.3: 574–587.

    DOI: 10.2307/353561Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines the contributions of three dimensions of authoritative parenting. Behavior problems were related more strongly to behavioral control. Psychosocial development and internal distress were more strongly associated with both psychological autonomy granting and acceptance-involvement. Academic competence demonstrated significant relations with behavioral control, psychological autonomy granting, and acceptance-involvement.

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  • Hoeve, M., J. S. Dubas, V. I. Eichelsheim, P. H. van der Laan, W. Smeenk, and J. R. Gerris. 2009. The relationship between parenting and delinquency: A meta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 37.6: 749–775.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10802-009-9310-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors conducted a meta-analysis of studies about parenting and delinquency. Parental monitoring, psychological control, rejection, and hostility showed the strongest links, accounting for up to 11 percent of the variance. Several effect sizes were moderated by child and parent characteristics.

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  • McGroder, S. M. 2000. Parenting among low-income, African American single mothers with preschool-age children: Patterns, predictors, and developmental correlates. Child Development 71.3: 752–771.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.00183Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Dimensions and patterns of parenting were examined. Factor analysis yielded three dimensions: aggravation, nurturance, and cognitive stimulation. Cluster analysis yielded four patterns of parenting: aggravated but nurturing, cognitively stimulating, patient and nurturing, low nurturance. Maternal well-being and sociodemographic characteristics predicted parenting patterns. Children’s outcomes were related to parenting pattern.

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  • Patterson, G. R. 1982. A social learning approach. Vol. 3, Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castalia.

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    Patterson shows that the interaction between parents and children was quite different in the households of aggressive children. There were long chains of coercive behaviors: parents used more punishment with aggressive boys and punishment was less effective with these boys. The author presents a theorization of coercive cycles of parent-child interaction.

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Parenting Typologies

In the scope of parenting typologies, Baumrind 1971 on authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and disengaged types of parenting has been fundamental research. Lamborn, et al. 1991 tests the effects of parenting types and finds support for the need to distinguish between two types of “permissive” families. García and Gracia 2009 tests the cross-cultural validation of Baumrind types in Spanish adolescents. Berge, et al. 2010 and Newman, et al. 2008 study the effects of parenting types on adolescents’ health behaviors and outcomes.

  • Baumrind, D. 1971. Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology, Monograph 4.1.2. Richmond, VA: American Psychology.

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    Baumrind attempted to differentiate further among patterns of parental authority and measure their effects upon the behavior of preschool children. Authoritative parental behavior was associated with independent, purposive behavior for girls but only associated with such behavior for boys when the parents were nonconforming. Authoritative parental control was associated with all indexes of social responsibility in boys and with high achievement in girls.

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  • Berge, J. M., M. Wall, K. Loth, and D. Neumark-Sztainer. 2010. Parenting style as a predictor of adolescent weight and weight-related behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health 46.4: 331–338.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.08.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors present longitudinal data regarding the associations between parenting style and adolescent weight, dietary intake, and physical activity. Maternal authoritative parenting in time 1 predicted lower body mass index in adolescents at time 2. Time 1 paternal permissive parenting predicted more fruits and vegetables intake in daughters at time 2.

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  • García, F., and E. Gracia. 2009. Is always authoritative the optimum parenting style? Evidence from Spanish families. Adolescence 44.173: 101–131.

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    This study examined which parenting style is associated with optimum youth outcomes among Spanish adolescents. Results showed that both indulgent and authoritative parenting styles were associated with better outcomes than authoritarian and neglectful parenting. Adolescents’ outcomes were equal or better when parents were classified as indulgent.

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  • Lamborn, S. D., N. S. Mounts, L. Steinberg, and S. M. Dornbush. 1991. Patterns of competence and adjustment among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and neglectful families. Child Development 62.5: 1049–1065.

    DOI: 10.2307/1131151Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors tested and found support for Maccoby and Martin’s revision of Baumrind’s conceptual framework, indicating the need to distinguish between two types of “permissive” families: indulgent and neglectful. Adolescents from authoritative parents had better adjustment outcomes. Adolescents from neglectful parents had the worst scores on adjustment measures. Positive and negative outcomes were found for adolescents from authoritarian and indulgent homes.

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  • Newman, K., L. Harrison, C. Dashiff, and S. Davies. 2008. Relationships between parenting styles and risk behaviors in adolescent health: An integrative literature review. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem 16.1: 142–150.

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    This review supports the relationship between parenting styles and six adolescent risk behaviors: use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco; intentional injury; unintentional injury; unhealthy sexual behaviors; unhealthy eating practices; and physical inactivity. The role of authoritative households and of parenting styles related to warmth, communication, and disciplinary practices is stressed.

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Context

The study of parenting practices and styles has changed over time, and results are now interpreted from a cultural and contextual perspective, giving more attention to the adaptive nature of parenting behavior to their children’s needs and the risks facing them, and to the variation of the impact of parenting behaviors across ecological niches. Brody and Flor 1998 and Gutman, et al. 2002 show the positive impact of higher levels of control in dangerous surroundings. Grusec, et al. 2000 presents an overview of the research on successful parenting and argues that defining a standard of competent parenting can only be achieved in general terms and that a diverse array of parenting behaviors is consistent with positive outcomes for children in specific circumstances.

  • Brody, G. H., and D. L. Flor. 1998. Maternal resources, parenting practices, and child competence in rural, single-parent African American families. Child Development 69.3: 803–816.

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    Authors evaluate the effect of a particular combination of parenting practices on children’s outcomes in dangerous surroundings. High levels of parental control, including the use of physical restraint and physical punishment, along with affectionate behaviors were linked indirectly to the child outcomes through their links with children’s development of self-regulation.

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  • Grusec, J. E., J. J. Goodnow, and L. Kuczyniski. 2000. New directions in analyses of parenting contributions to children’s acquisition of values. Child Development 71.1: 205–211.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.00135Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors examine traditional approaches to the role of parenting for child development and outline new directions for research. They consider a wider range of parenting strategies and emphasize that effective parenting consists of constant appraisal and flexible behavior in the face of constantly changing features of children and situations.

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  • Gutman, L. M., A. J. Sameroff, and J. S. Eccles. 2002. The academic achievement of African American students during early adolescence: An examination of multiple risk, promotive, and protective factors. American Journal of Community Psychology 30.3: 367–399.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1015389103911Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    On examining the promotive and protective effects of family processes, authors find out that disadvantaged children living in dangerous neighborhoods may benefit from a greater level of parental control compared to children from more privileged and secure backgrounds.

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Determinants

Understanding why parents parent the way they do may bring important cues for intervention, showing how we can best support parents and whom we should target for support. In the past decades, the ecological model mapping the determinants of parenting proposed in Belsky 1984 has been widely adopted and several studies examine differences in parenting according to the multiple variables assumed under that model. Gutman, et al. 2009, Parke 2004, and the Victorian Parenting Centre 2004 present major reviews on the determinants of parenting. Smith 2010 examines the need to include multiple determinants of parenting in the same work. Holden and Miller 1999 shows that child rearing can be both enduring and variable, reflecting adaptations to the proximal and distal contexts of parenting. The subsections below explore the specific characteristics of parents and children, family factors, and social, economic, and cultural factors that determine parenting.

  • Belsky, J. 1984. The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child Development 55:83–96.

    DOI: 10.2307/1129836Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Belsky proposes a process model of competent parental functioning based on the research on child maltreatment, identifying three domains of determinants: characteristics of the parent, characteristics of the child, and contextual sources of stress and support. The model presumes multiple determination and a complex and dynamic interplay between factors.

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  • Gutman, L. M., J. Brown, and R. Akerman. 2009. Nurturing parenting capability: The early years. London: Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning, Institute of Education.

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    Authors examine the importance and determinants of parenting in the early years and the characteristics of good parenting. They discuss modifiable determinants and implications for intervention.

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  • Holden, G. W., and P. C. Miller. 1999. Enduring and different: A meta-analysis of the similarity in parents’ child-rearing. Psychological Bulletin 125.2: 223–254.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.125.2.223Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors evaluate the evidence for similarity and differences of child rearing across time, children, and situations. Stability and differences were found for the three domains. Implications for research and intervention are discussed.

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  • Parke, R. 2004. Development in the family. Annual Review in Psychology 55: 365–399.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141528Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author reviews some of the work relevant to the three-domain model of the determinants of parenting proposed by Belsky 1984. More recent research on ethnic variations in parenting is also reviewed.

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  • Smith, C. 2010. Multiple determinants of parenting: Predicting individual differences in maternal parenting behavior with toddlers. Parenting: Science and Practice 10: 1–17.

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    Smith argues that few studies have included multiple determinants of parenting in the same work. She examined how multiple determinants of parenting predicted maternal parenting behaviors. The direct association between the determinants and parenting behavior differed when multiple determinants were considered, highlighting the need to examine the underlying processes.

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  • Victorian Parenting Centre. 2004. Part A: Parenting and the factors that influence it. In Parenting Information Project. Vol. 2, Literature review. Edited by Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), 2–67. Canberra, Australia: Department of Family and Community Services.

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    Summarizes the current state of knowledge about the factors that impinge upon parenting, including characteristics of the parent and child, and the social, familial, and environmental context. Recommendations for parenting support are made according to the determinants of parenting. Available online.

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Parental Characteristics

Numerous studies have examined the relationship between the quality of parenting and a diverse set of parental characteristics. Bornstein 2002a puts together several articles devoted to the importance of age, gender, sexuality, and grandparenting. Corter and Fleming 2002 discusses the role of parenting experience. In Bornstein 2002b, several authors discuss parenting in personal adversity, emphasizing the impact of ill health, disabilities, psychopathology, and substance abuse. In Bornstein 2002c, authors examine the role of diverse psychological and cognitive factors. Coleman and Karraker 1997 reviews the role of self-efficacy. The role of the history of being parented is widely discussed in Belsky, et al. 2009.

  • Belsky, J., R. Conger and D. M. Capaldi. 2009. The intergenerational transmission of parenting: Introduction to the special section. Developmental Psychology 45.5: 1201–1204.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0016245Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors open the special section on the intergenerational transmission of parenting, which documents continuity in parenting across generations and mediation pathways of transmission. They discuss previous works on these subjects, the additional contributions of the special section, and directions for future research, including works on moderation processes.

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  • Bornstein, M. H., ed. 2002a. Handbook of parentingVol. 3, Being and becoming a parent. Part I, The parent. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Chapters in part I of volume 3 of the Handbook of Parenting examine the impact of parents’ gender (chapters 1 and 2), grandparenting (chapter 5), adolescent parenting (chapter 6), and lesbian and gay parenting (chapter 10).

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  • Bornstein, M. H., ed. 2002b. Handbook of parenting. Vol. 4, Social conditions and applied parenting. Part II, Applied issues in parenting. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Several chapters in part II of volume 4 of the Handbook of Parenting explore parenting in personal adversity, including parenting with a sensory or physical disability (chapter 11), parenting with psychopathology (chapter 12), and parenting in substance-abusing parents (chapter 13).

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  • Bornstein, M. H., ed. 2002c. Handbook of parenting. Vol. 3, Being and becoming a parent. Part II, Becoming and being a parent. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Several chapters in part II of volume 3 of the Handbook of Parenting consider psychological and cognitive factors that influence parenting, including personality (chapter 14), knowledge (chapter 15), beliefs (chapter 17), attitudes (chapter 19), and attributions (chapter 18).

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  • Coleman, P. K., and K. H. Karraker. 1998. Self-efficacy and parenting quality: Findings and future applications. Developmental Review 18.1: 47–85.

    DOI: 10.1006/drev.1997.0448Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors conduct a comprehensive review on the parenting self-efficacy literature. They present foundations in self-efficacy theory and general self-efficacy research, empirical findings relevant to parenting self-efficacy, and the mechanisms through which self-efficacy beliefs are likely to develop and influence parenting. Implications for intervention and research are discussed.

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  • Corter, C. M., and A. S. Fleming. 2002. Psychobiology of maternal behavior in human beings. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 2, Biology and ecology of parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 141–181. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Corter and Fleming review the literature on the psychobiology of maternal behavior, identifying research that suggests that mothers’ and fathers’ previous experience has a positive impact on parenting. They propose that with experience parents may develop a repertoire of skills and responses to deal with difficulties.

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Child Characteristics

In Bornstein 2002, authors discuss the modification of parental behavior according to children’s age and developmental stage. Leaper 2002 discusses the literature on the impact of child gender. Putnam, et al. 2002 discusses the importance of temperament and the moderating factors. Rubin and Burgess 2002 examines the relationship between child problem behaviors and parental behaviors. Furman and Lanthier 2002 summarizes the literature about the importance of birth order and family size. Hodapp 2002 discusses the literature about the impact of child disabilities on parental behaviors. Melamed 2002 reviewes the effect of pediatric chronic illnesses on parenting.

  • Bornstein, M. H., ed. 2002. Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1, Children and parenting. Part I, Parenting children and older people. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The chapters in part I of volume 1 of the Handbook of Parenting examine how age and developmental stage influence parenting, discussing the rewards and demands of parenting infants (chapter 1), toddlers (chapter 2), youngsters in middle childhood (chapter 3), adolescents (chapter 4), and adults (chapter 5).

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  • Furman, W., and R. Lanthier. 2002. Parenting siblings. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1, Children and parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 165–187. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The authors summarize the literature about the influence of birth order and family size on parenting; the relationship changes with the birth of another child; the relation of the nature of the sibling relationship with parenting; and the consistency of parental treatment of two children.

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  • Hodapp, R. M. 2002. Parenting children with mental retardation. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1, Children and parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 355–381. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Hodapp describes conflicting findings from the literature comparing parent-child interactions with children with disabilities as opposed to nondisabled children. The studies reveal similarities and differences in parental behavior between parents of disabled and non-disabled children and a variation in maternal behaviors within groups of mothers who have children with disabilities.

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  • Leaper, C. 2002. Parenting girls and boys. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1, Children and parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 189–225. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Leaper discusses the research showing that in some important aspects parents interact with their sons and daughters differently.

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  • Melamed, B. 2002. Parenting the ill child. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 5, Practical issues in parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 329–348. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The author approaches pediatric chronic medical illnesses. She reviews the research and focuses theoretical models in order to contribute to an understanding of developmental aspects of chronic childhood illnesses and capabilities that parents and children need to develop to achieve resilience in family functioning.

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  • Putnam, S. P., A. Sanson, and M. K. Rothbart. 2002. Child temperament and parenting. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1, Children and parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 255–277. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The authors discuss the effect of child’s temperament observed in the literature and the factors shown to moderate it. Studies report the negative effect of difficult child temperament on parents’ behavior and suggest that it results from a poor match between parents and child.

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  • Rubin, K. H., and K. B. Burgess. 2002. Parents of aggressive and withdrawn children. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1, Children and parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 383-418. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Rubin and Burgess examine the relationship between child externalizing and internalizing behavior and parental behaviors. Children’s aggressive behavior was more likely to attract attention and parental intervention than withdrawn behavior. Mothers of shy toddlers used overly solicitous behaviors in situations that did not warrant it.

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Family Factors

Hetherington and Stanley-Hagan 2002 examines the impact of divorce and remarriage. Weinraub, et al. 2002 reviews the role of single-parenthood on parental behaviors. Brodzinsky and Pinderhughes 2002 examines the challenges posed by adoption to children and families. In the scope of family factors, another area of research has been devoted to the understanding of family processes. Grych 2002 reviews the effects of family relationships quality. Krishnakumar and Buehler 2000 specifically examines the impact of interparental conflict.

  • Brodzinsky, D. M., and E. Pinderhughes. 2002. Parenting and child development in adoptive families. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1, Children and parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 279–311. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors examine the unique challenges and child rearing tasks faced by adoptive parents in rearing their children, as well as the influence of adoption on children’s development and adjustment and moderation effects. They emphasize that there is more research about the effect of adoption on children than on parenting.

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  • Grych, J. H. 2002. Marital relationships and parenting. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 4, Social conditions and applied parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 203–225. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Grych reviews the research about the relation between the quality of the marital relationship and the quality of parent–child relationships. The author emphasizes that both marital quality and parenting are multifaceted constructs, and that little is known about which dimensions of marital functioning are related to which aspects of parenting.

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  • Hetherington, E. M., and M. Stanley-Hagan. 2002. Parenting in divorced and remarried families. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 3, Being and becoming a parent. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 287–315. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The challenges posed by divorce and remarriage are examined. Research on the impact of divorce and remarriage on parenting is reviewed, and the role of familial conflict and transition considered. Authors conclude that if divorce allows escape from conflict, then it may provide opportunities for positive outcomes.

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  • Krishnakuma, A., and C. Buehler. 2000. Interparental conflict and parenting behaviors: A meta-analytic review. Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies 49.1: 25–44.

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    The authors conducted a meta-analytic review regarding the association between interparental conflict and parenting. The overall average weighted effect size indicated a moderate association. The parenting behaviors most impacted by interparental conflict were harsh discipline and parental acceptance. Several moderating effects for subject and method characteristics were significant.

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  • Weinraub, M., D. Horvath, and M. B. Gringlas. 2002. Single parenthood. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 3, Being and becoming a parent. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 109–139. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    The challenges of single parenthood and their effects on parental stress and well-being are examined. The role of single parenthood on parenting behaviors is reviewed, emphasizing the role of other individual and contextual variables.

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Social, Cultural, and Economic Factors

Kotchick and Forehand 2002 discusses how diverse factors outside the family may shape parenting behaviours. García Coll and Pachter 2002 reviews the role of cultural beliefs and social factors associated with ethnicity. Hoff, et al. 2002 reviews the impact of family socioeconomic status and Magnuson and Duncan 2002 discusses the specific role of poverty on parenting. The evidence in Bradley, et al. 2001 goes beyond the impact of poverty or culture, suggesting that parents alter their parenting strategies to fit the more immediate environmental circumstances in which they are raising their children. Studies on resiliency among families exposed to socioeconomically deprived contexts show the importance of neighborhood quality and community resources for parenting behavior, as reviewed in Leventhal and Brooks-Gunn 2000. Social support and social networks have also been shown to influence parenting behaviors as discussed in Cochran and Niego 2002.

  • Bradley, R. H., R. F. Corwyn, M. Burchinal, H. P. McAdoo, and C. García-Coll. 2001. The home environments of children in the United States. Part II: Relations with behavioral development through age thirteen. Child Development 72.6: 1868–1886.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.t01-1-00383Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined children’s exposure to various aspects of the home environment, and how those exposures related to their well-being, considering different poverty status and ethnicities. While there was variation in parenting between cultures, there was also variation within cultures.

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  • Cochran, M., and S. Niego. 2002. Parenting and social networks. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 4, Social conditions and applied parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 123–147. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors provide a comprehensive review examining social, instrumental, and informational support that can have an impact on parenting. Data about the impact of different types of support on parental behaviors are examined. Factors restraining network building and access are described. An overall framework is presented.

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  • García Coll, C., and L. M. Pachter. 2002. Ethnic and minority parenting. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 4, Social conditions and applied parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 1–19. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors review contributions to the understanding of parenting in ethnic minority groups. Traditional perspectives that emphasize variations in parenting in diverse ethnic groups as being due to deficiencies are summarized. More recent approaches assuming that variations are legitimate adaptations of parenting to differing contexts are discussed.

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  • Hoff, E., B. Laursen, and T. Tardif. 2002. Socioeconomic status and parenting. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 2, Biology and ecology of parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 231–251. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    This comprehensive review shows that parents’ goals and expectations for children, the parent-child relationship, and the home environment provided vary as a function of socioeconomic status and describes potential sources of those differences. Authors distinguish the importance of external and internal factors and identify particular relevant variables, emphasizing educational factors.

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  • Kotchick, B. A., and R. Forehand. 2002. Putting parenting in perspective: A discussion of the contextual factors that shape parenting practices. Journal of Child and Family Studies 11.3: 255–269.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1016863921662Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Kotchick and Forehand discuss the impact of contextual factors on parenting beliefs and behaviors. They examine and summarize particularly research about the impact of ethnicity/culture, family socioeconomic status and poverty, and neighborhood/community context. Implications for future research, parenting interventions, and policies are discussed.

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  • Leventhal, T., and J. Brooks-Gunn. 2000. The neighborhoods they live in: The effects of neighborhood residence on child and adolescent outcomes. Psychological Bulletin 126.2: 309–337.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.126.2.309Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors provide a comprehensive review of research on the effects of neighborhood residence on child and adolescent well-being and on the pathways through which neighborhoods might influence development. The impact of neighborhood on children’s outcomes may be mediated by parental variables. Responsivity/warmth and harshness/control may be influenced by neighborhood.

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  • Magnuson, K. A., and G. J. Duncan. 2002. Parents in poverty. In Handbook of parenting. Vol. 4, Social conditions and applied parenting. 2d ed. Edited by M. H. Bornstein, 95–121. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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    Authors review the conceptual and empirical linkages between poverty and parenting, including the risks associated with poverty and the processes by which poverty affects outcomes. The association between poverty and parental behaviors such as warm, responsive, punitive parenting is reviewed. The complexity of these associations is discussed.

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Support

This section addresses formal support to parents. Interventions designed to help parents rear healthy, secure children come in an array of modalities (print and broadcast media, classes, psychotherapy), settings (homes, schools, health and mental health clinics, community institutions), and formats (individual parent counseling, family sessions, parenting group meetings) and vary in terms of goals, target populations, and impact and outcomes. Moran, et al. 2004 and Parrott and Glascoe 2004 provide extensive literature reviews on formal parenting support. The references in the subsections below examine specific types of family support: home visiting, parent education and training, well-child care, child care and education, online resources.

  • Moran, P., D. Ghate, and A. van der Merwe. 2004. What works in parenting support: A review of the international evidence. Nottingham, UK: Department for Education and Skills.

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    Authors summarize the international evidence regarding the effectiveness of parenting support programs, covering a wide range of services that go under the banner of parenting support. Programs were sorted in categories: what works, what is promising, what does not work, and those for which effectiveness is not known. Messages for research, policy, and practice are posed.

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  • Parrott, J., and F. P. Glascoe. 2004. Part B: Approaches to supporting optimal parenting. In Parenting Information Project. Vol. 2, Literature review. Edited by Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), 68–111. Canberra, Australia: Department of Family and Community Services.

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    The most effective ways to help families parent their children and acquire the parenting skills they need are summarized, including the provision of information, group and individual well-child care, home visiting, and parent training. Authors make recommendations for effective implementation of the different intervention strategies reviewed.

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Home Visiting

Home visiting has been widely researched, and its effectiveness is reviewed by Bull, et al. 2004, Elkan, et al. 2000, and Kendrick, et al. 2000. Gomby, et al. 1999 discusses the findings from six home visiting models. The Nurse–Family Partnership Program is one of the most implemented programs and provides extensive information to interested people. Olds 2006 examines the program and its results.

Parenting Education and Training

Several parent education and training programs are available, addressing different outcomes and targeting different populations. Barlow, et al. 2001, Barlow, et al. 2006, and Barlow, et al. 2010 review the effectiveness of parenting programs addressing maternal psychosocial health, child abuse and neglect, and child emotional and behavioral adjustment. Coren and Barlow 2001 reviews the effectiveness of parenting programs for teenage parents. Gagnon and Sandall 2007 reviews antenatal education programs. Triple P—Positive Parenting Program is one of the most officially recommended parent training programs. Sanders 1999 reviews the program foundations and major results. The Incredible Years Program has also received systematic empirical support.

  • Barlow, J., E. Coren, S. Stewart-Brown. 2001. Parent-training programmes for improving maternal psychosocial health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2.

    DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors review the literature about parenting programs to discover whether group-based parenting programs are effective in improving maternal psychosocial health, including anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. All of the programs reviewed produced positive change in maternal psychosocial health.

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  • Barlow, J., I. Johnston, D. Kendrick, L. Polnay, and S. Stewart-Brown. 2006. Individual and group-based parenting programmes for the treatment of physical child abuse and neglect. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 3.

    DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005463.pub2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors review the efficacy of group-based and individual parenting programs in addressing child physical abuse or neglect. They conclude that further research is needed, given that there is insufficient evidence to support parenting programs’ effectiveness in this area, but that there is some evidence supporting its effectiveness for mediating factors.

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  • Barlow, J., N. Smailagic, M. Ferriter, C. Bennett, and H. Jones. 2010. Group-based parent-training programmes for improving emotional and behavioural adjustment in children from birth to three years old. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 3.

    DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003680.pub2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors review the literature about group-based parenting programs to ascertain whether they are effective in improving the emotional and behavioral adjustment of infants and toddlers, finding some support for that.

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  • Coren, E., and J. Barlow. 2001. Individual and group-based parenting programmes for improving psychosocial outcomes for teenage parents and their children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 3.

    DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002964Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine the effectiveness of individual and group-based parenting programs in improving psychosocial and developmental outcomes in teenage mothers and their children, finding evidence of positive outcomes.

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  • Gagnon, A. J., and Sandall., J. 2007. Individual or group antenatal education for childbirth or parenthood, or both. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 3.

    DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002869.pub2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gagnon and Sandall reviews the effects of antenatal education on knowledge acquisition, anxiety, sense of control, pain, support, breastfeeding, infant care abilities, and psychological and social adjustment.

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  • Incredible Years Program.

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    The Incredible Years is a parent training, teacher training, and child social skills approach. The approach has been submitted to numerous randomized control evaluations and has shown excellent effectiveness. The website of the program provides extensive information and resources about the program and its evaluations.

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  • Sanders, M. R. 1999. Triple P—Positive Parenting Program: Towards an empirically validated multilevel parenting and family support strategy for the prevention of behaviour and emotional problems in children. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 2.2: 72–90.

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    Sanders outlines the theoretical and empirical foundations of Triple P. The different levels of the program and delivery modalities are described. The available empirical evidence supporting the efficacy of the program is discussed.

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  • Triple P Positive Parenting Program.

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    Triple P is a multilevel parenting and family support strategy, aiming to prevent behavioral, emotional, and developmental problems in children. The program focuses on parents’ knowledge, skills, and confidence. The Triple P website provides information for parents and practitioners and data about its effectiveness.

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Well-Child Care

The provision of parenting support through child health surveillance has been extensively examined. Regalado and Halfon 2001 and Nelson, et al. 2003 discuss the provision of family support through anticipatory guidance and counseling during child health supervision visits. Bauer and Webster-Stratton 2006 reviews the effectiveness of evidence-based parenting programs to inform pediatricians. Glascoe, et al. 1998 reviews methods for parent education in primary care. The Healthy Steps for Young Children program proposes a preventive practice-based model of pediatric care. Piotrowski, et al. 2009 examines the literature about the program. Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based program for literacy and school readiness promotion at well-child care.

  • Bauer, N. S., and C. Webster-Stratton. 2006. Prevention of behavioral disorders in primary care. Current Opinion in Pediatrics 18.6: 654–660.

    DOI: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e3280106239Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors review the effectiveness of evidence-based parenting programs to prevent behavioral disorders in children aged two to eight years old, in order to inform pediatricians about the options available. They identify key parenting principles that can be incorporated into developmental surveillance and anticipatory guidance during well-child visits.

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  • Glascoe, F. P., F. Oberklaid, P. Dworkin, and F. Trimm. 1998. Brief approaches to educating patients and parents in primary care. Pediatrics 101.6: e10.

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    The authors review effective and brief methods for patient and parent education, including media, videotapes, verbal suggestions, written information, modeling, and role-playing. They emphasize that parents appear to respond best to information focused on their specific areas of concern.

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  • Healthy Steps for Young Children.

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    Healthy Steps is an initiative focusing on the importance of the first three years of life and emphasizing the importance of parents for child development and adjustment. The program website provides extensive information about the program, implementation sites, evaluations, training for health professionals, and resources for families.

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  • Nelson, C. S., L. S. Wissow, and T. L. Cheng. 2003. Effectiveness of anticipatory guidance: Recent developments. Current Opinion in Pediatrics 15: 630–635.

    DOI: 10.1097/00008480-200312000-00015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors discuss the role of anticipatory guidance in the prevention of behavioral and developmental problems. The guidance usually provided by pediatricians is examined, allowing the identification of missed opportunities for addressing problems. The impact of anticipatory guidance on child and family outcomes is summarized. Recommendations for future models of child health surveillance and for research are made.

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  • Piotrowski, C. C., G. A. Talavera, and J. A. Mayer. 2009. Healthy Steps: A systematic review of a preventive practice-based model of pediatric care. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 30.1: 91–103.

    DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181976a95Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors systematically evaluate and summarize the literature about the Healthy Steps Program for Young Children, which includes screening, family-centered care, and anticipatory guidance. Results reveal that the program has been rigorously evaluated and shown to be effective in preventing negative child and parent outcomes and enhancing positive outcomes.

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  • Reach Out and Read.

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    Reach Out and Read is a literacy and school readiness promotion program implemented through pediatric visits. Families are encouraged to read aloud to their children and given support for that. The program website provides extensive information about the program, the implementation sites, the key findings from impact evaluations, and links to publications.

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  • Regalado, M., and N. Halfon. 2001. Primary care services promoting optimal child development from birth to age 3 years: Review of the literature. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 155:1311–1322.

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    Authors examine the evidence for the promotion of child development through health services. Results support the efficacy of primary care educational efforts toward promoting parent-child interaction, parents’ understanding of child temperament, healthy sleep habits, and early literacy. Counseling for the management of excessive crying and sleep problems also finds evidence support.

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Child Care and Education

For working parents, nonparental child care is an important source of support. Brooks 2008 discusses the role of child care on family support. Lamb and Ahnert 2006 examines the literature about child care and its effects. Dunn 1993 discusses distal and proximal quality in child care.

  • Brooks, Jane. 2008. Parenting and working. In The process of parenting. 7th ed. Edited by Jane Brooks, 434–460. Boston: McGraw Hill.

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    The author discusses how parents adapt to the challenge of being working parents. The role of day care for this adjustment is explored, as well as the impact of day care on children.

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  • Dunn, L. 1993. Proximal and distal features of day care quality and children’s development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 8.2: 167–192.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0885-2006(05)80089-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author examines proximal and distal quality of children’s day care experiences and their efficacy in predicting children’s development outcomes. Child care quality assessments are examined.

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  • Lamb, M. E., and L. Ahnert. 2006. Nonparental child care: Context, concepts, correlates and consequences. In Handbook of child psychology. Vol. 4, Child psychology in practice. 6th ed. Edited by K. A. Renninger and I. E. Sigel, 950-1016. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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    The authors extensively discuss nonparental child care, including the effects of child care on child development and the importance of the quality of care for assessing effects on children.

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Resources

The prominent role of parents and their need for support and information are supported by the amount of resources specifically developed for parents and available at bookstores and online. Some of the most cited online resources for parents are summarized here. This selection was also guided by the quality and recognition of the organizations responsible for the development of the resources. The Healthy Children website is the parenting site from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Parent Portal provides information from the prenatal period to adolescence. The Raising Children Network website provides extensive information and demonstration videos for parents of children from birth to age eight. Building Blocks for a Healthy Future was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Bright Futures for Families complements the Bright Futures initiative publications with materials specifically developed for families. Baby Center is an awarded interactive parenting network. KidsHealth is provided by the Nemours Foundation and includes sections for parents, kids, and teenagers.

  • Baby Center.

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    This interactive network provides parents with trusted information approved by an advisory board. It provides support for parents and prospective parents and covers pre-pregnancy through children age eight. Mothers can sign up to the website to get a personalized home page and receive regular e-mail newsletters targeted to their parenting stage.

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    • Bright Futures for Families.

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      Bright Futures for Families is an initiative for families and communities to promote and improve the health and well-being of children of all ages. It offers family-friendly child health and development information and materials based on the Bright Futures initiative and organized by developmental stages.

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      • Building Blocks for a Healthy Future.

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        Building Blocks for a Healthy Future is an early childhood substance abuse prevention program. It educates parents and caregivers of children aged three to six years old about the basics of prevention in order to promote a healthy lifestyle. It includes tips, materials, and ideas for spending time with children.

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        • Healthy Children.

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          The parenting site from the American Academy of Pediatrics provides parents with information from the prenatal period to young adulthood. For each developmental period, there is information about growth and development and about common parental concerns. There are also sections on healthy living, safety and prevention, family life, and health issues.

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          • KidsHealth.

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            KidsHealth is part of the Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media. It is one of the most visited sites for information about health, behavior, development, and parenting from before birth to adolescence. KidsHealth’s contents are reviewed by medical experts. Parents can sign up for the KidsHealth weekly newsletter.

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            • Parent Portal.

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              The CDC Parent Portal provides a wealth of information covering topics from safety at home and in the community to immunization schedules, diseases and conditions, developmental milestones, and parenting. Information goes from pregnancy to adolescence. It also includes links to other CDC resources and campaigns, like “Learn the Signs, Act Early.”

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              • Raising Children Network.

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                This Australian website arose from the Parenting Information Project, which identified parenting needs of information. The website provides centralized, Australia-focused, evidence-based information for parents of children from birth to eight years of age. For each developmental period, there is information about the developmental milestones and specific topics.

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                Policy and Practice Statements

                The awareness of the role of parents in the development and adjustment of children and in the increasing stresses and complexities facing families today has led to the organization of diverse policies, policy reports, and practice statements on the theme. National Scientific Council on the Developing Child 2004 makes evidence-based recommendations for family support policies. The New South Wales Government organized its overarching strategy for child development promotion through Families NSW. In the United Kingdom, the importance of parents to the well-being of children and young people is recognized in Every Child Matters. Specific strategies for parenting support are operationalized in Department of Education and Skills 2007. The American Academy of Pediatrics 2003 examines the role and needs of families and makes recommendations for family support. American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute for Family-Centered Care 2003 is a policy statement on family-centered care. Among the sources offering guidelines for health supervision of children and adolescents that consider the family role as central are Hagan, et al. 2008 and Comley and Mousmanis 2007.

                • American Academy of Pediatrics. 2003. Family pediatrics: Report of the Task Force on the Family. Pediatrics 111.6: 1541–1571.

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                  The influence of families in children’s lives is examined, including family factors that impact on children’s well-being and on parenting. Changes and needs of contemporary families are discussed. The role of pediatrics in supporting families is stressed, and recommendations for medical training, policy, pediatric practice, and research are made.

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                • American Academy of Pediatrics—Committee on Hospital Care and Institute for Family-Centered Care. 2003. Family-centered care and the pediatrician’s role. Pediatrics 112.3: 691–696.

                  DOI: 10.1542/peds.112.3.691Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  This policy statement stresses the core principles of family-centered care, summarizes the literature on its benefits, and makes recommendations for how pediatricians can integrate family-centered care in their practice.

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                • Comley, L., and P. Mousmanis. 2007. Improving the odds: Healthy child development. 4th ed. Toronto: Ontario College of Family Physicians.

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                  The program Improving the Odds: Healthy Child Development was developed with the purpose of highlighting recent research on early neurodevelopment and its impact on medical practice. The associated toolkit summarizes relevant information and compiles tools to assist health professionals in promoting child development.

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                • Department of Education and Skills. 2007. Every Parent Matters. Nottingham, UK: Department of Education and Skills.

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                  This document underscores the importance of parents and the need to provide more support to families. It explains ways in which practitioners can assist parents. It announces measures for support, including the provision of health care–led parenting projects in the form of Family-Nurse Partnerships and the expansion of the Bookstart program.

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                • Every Child Matters.

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                  Every Child Matters is a United Kingdom program aiming to improve outcomes for children and young people. It recognizes the importance of parents and aims to ensure that support for parents becomes routine. Support is provided at different levels, from universal information and advice to targeted education groups and services.

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                  • Families NSW.

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                    Families NSW is the New South Wales Government’s strategy to enhance the health and well-being of children up to eight years old. There is an investment in parenting programs and support, community strengthening, and effective interagency collaboration. It is the joint responsibility of five government agencies.

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                  • Hagan, J. F., J. S. Shaw, and P. M. Duncan, eds. 2008. Bright Futures: Guidelines for health supervision of infants, children, and adolescents. 3d. ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

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                    The Bright Futures Initiative aims to respond to the current and emerging preventive and health promotion needs of infants, children, and adolescents. The guidelines describe principles, strategies, and tools to assist health professionals on this job. One of the core themes for health promotion is family support.

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                  • National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. 2004. Young children develop in an environment of relationships: Working paper 1. Cambridge, MA: National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, Center on the Developing Child.

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                    This report summarizes the most current and reliable scientific research on the impact of early relationships on brain and child development and identifies ways to strengthen policies that affect those relationships in the early childhood years.

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                  LAST MODIFIED: 02/23/2011

                  DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756797-0053

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