Child Trends 5 issues a series of monthly e-newsletters summarizing current research about children and youth. The October 2015 newsletter, Child Trends: Five Things to Know about Mental Wellness in Early Childhood is brief, but packed with lots of links to solid research. The authors highlighted facts about the mental wellness of infants and toddlers, birth to 3 years old. Because parents and other significant caregivers are responsible for the early environments that young children experience, this newsletter focuses on what parents/caregivers need to understand and how they can promote children’s mental wellness during the first 3 years of life.
KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research
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.
Parents interact with children physically in many ways. Just because a parent isn't physically touching a child does not mean that the parent isn't physically interacting with their child. Physical interaction is an important factor in assessing parenting, and includes both touching and non-touching. Non-touching physical interaction is sometimes referred to as nonverbal interaction or body language. The quality of physical interaction is an important factor in child-parent attachment.
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.
I just read an article written by a friend and user of the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS), which got me to thinking about the connection of parent-child interaction and secure attachment. In the article by Robin Balbernie, titled The importance of secure attachment for infant mental health, I was particularly struck by how poetically he captured the role of parenting in attachment: