KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research

How Do Smartphones Impact Children’s Language Development?

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Mon, Aug 07, 2017 @ 03:08 PM

For years, many of us have questioned whether too much television time hinders young children’s development. There’s ample research evidence showing that TV can adversely affect attention, sleep, language and social development.  Now, there’s a new wrinkle to this question. What’s the effect of handheld screen time (e.g., smartphones, tablets) on language development?  Parents don’t carry a TV in their pockets, but most parents do carry a smartphone.  When infants and toddlers start squirming on the bus, whimpering at a restaurant, or racing around the waiting room at the doctor’s office, what’s in your pocket?

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Tags: assessing parenting, parent-child interaction, language skills

Dads Matter Too! Engaging Fathers in Parenting Services

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Tue, Jul 07, 2015 @ 06:09 PM

When you hear the word Parent, who do you think of first? … At quick response, most people say Mom.  All too often Dads aren’t given the credit they deserve.  Despite decades of research supporting Dads’ valuable contributions to children’s development, they are often portrayed in the mass media (e.g., TV, radio, Internet, movies) as the goofy playmate, the incompetent caregiver, the uninterested bystander, or the stern disciplinarian who stands in for Mom every so often.

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Tags: parent-child interaction, assessing parenting, fathers, engagement-parent, family, community, family support-partnership-services

Capturing Teachable Parenting Moments Using Video

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Sun, Mar 08, 2015 @ 06:52 PM

You work hard to help parents be the best parents they can be in supporting their children's lifelong health, learning and well-being. Observational parenting assessment using video can be a powerful tool in helping parents see their strengths and find opportunities for growth.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much would you say a video is worth? 

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, video, assessing parenting, video equipment, parent coaching

Resilient Children in Foster/Adoptive Care? Parenting Is Key

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Sat, Feb 21, 2015 @ 02:57 PM

Have you ever wondered what happened to the children you’ve known who were in foster or adoptive care?  As these children were growing up, what did “being in care” mean to them?  As young adults, what are they doing now?  What did they learn from those early life lessons that makes them who they are today?  If you’re like me, you have a thousand questions.  From personal experience within my extended family, I am honored and in awe to have witnessed the growth, grit and perseverance of the foster children who have grown to thriving young adults because of the nurturing of loving families.  I’ve seen how the foster and adoptive parents’ efforts have been so vital to helping my nieces and nephews grow into successful adults.

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Tags: assessing parenting, attachment, protective factors, resilience, foster/adoption, child abuse/neglect prevention

Teaching What Works for Children at Parenting University

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 @ 01:25 PM


Importance of Parenting & Evidence-Based Intervention

Children don’t come with instructions.  Yet, parenting quality effects a child’s overall welfare and influences vital outcomes such as social behavior, educational success and emotional well-being (Olds, et al., 2007). Characteristics of effective parenting include (a) interaction style with their child; (b) warmth and affection towards their child; and (c) parenting strategies used (Johnson, et al., 2008). Cultivating positive parent/child interaction is a cornerstone of most parenting programs and parenting curricula. 


Guest blog by

Kyla Liggett-Creel
University of Maryland School of Social Work

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Tags: parent-child interaction, assessing parenting, parent leaders, coaching interactions, poverty

How Parenting Can Win the War on Poverty

Posted by Phil Gordon on Thu, Jan 09, 2014 @ 02:02 PM

Fifty years ago this week in his State of the Union address, the New President, Lyndon Johnson declared War on Poverty.  As I write this the press and politicians are abuzz debating “America’s Longest War.”  We can all agree that this long war has not been won.   For a timeline showing the many battles and skirmishes in this war on poverty follow this link.  

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, assessing parenting, achievement gap, poverty

How Assessing Parenting Helps Parents Help Children Succeed in School

Posted by Phil Gordon on Fri, Oct 11, 2013 @ 12:44 PM

Are you trying to help parents help children get ready for school success?  According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, traits such as self-control and grit can predict school success as well as IQ.  On September 27 the MacArthur Foundation released the names of the twenty-four 2013 recipients of its famous MacArthur Fellowships, sometimes called the Genius Grants.  These grants are given to honor and support individuals’ exceptional creativity in past work and the promise of more in the future.  Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania is among this year’s 24 creative individuals.  Her research demonstrates that character traits are equally good indicators of a child's future academic success as intelligence and standardized achievement tests.

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, assessing parenting, character development, school success

Parenting Assessment Promotes Partnership with Parents Seeking Help

Posted by Phil Gordon on Thu, Oct 03, 2013 @ 04:44 PM

From the Voices in the Field Series, Yolanda Beltran explains how assessing parenting helps her partner with parents in her services to families and provides an example.

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, parent improvement, assessing parenting, parent-child relationship

Is 23% of Parenting Really Due to Children’s Genes?

Posted by Phil Gordon on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 @ 01:05 PM

I just read an interesting article that warrants some discussion.  I found the article because the press was reporting that a study found 23% of parenting was attributable to the child’s genetics.  What concerned me was that some  were interpreting this to mean that one need not try to work with parents because their children’s genetics run the show.  This flies in the face of the voluminous research stating that parenting is a primary factor major in children’s health and development and that working to improve parenting benefits children (for earlier posts on this see 1, 2, 34 & 5).  The study conducted by Reut Avinun and Ariel Knafo, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, was a meta-analyses of 32 published twin studies of parental behavior.  Twin studies can be used to ascertain the degree to which something is heritable, because identical twins share 100% of the same genes, where fraternal twins share only half the same genes.  The meta-analyses employed studies that assessed parenting using parent self report, child self report and observational measures.  The authors state in their abstract, “ meta-analysis of 32 children-as-twins studies of parenting revealed a heritability estimate of 23%, thus indicating that genetically influenced behaviors of the child affect and shape parental behavior.”

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, assessing parenting, parenting and genetics

Assessing Parent-Child Relationships Through the Lens of Attachment

Posted by Phil Gordon on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 @ 11:09 AM

The quality of parent-child relationships is linked to a theoretical construct called attachment.  A child’s attachment influences his or her social-emotional development throughout life.  Examining parenting strategies that support healthy development and strong parent-child relationships can help family service providers support parents in reflecting on their own parenting strengths and parenting struggles.

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Tags: parent-child interaction, Parenting Assessment, assessing parenting, attachment, parent-child relationship