An article in the Washington Post caught my eye last week. It’s titled Americans are obsessed with parenting advice. So why are our kids so miserable? and written by Diana Divecha, a Developmental Psychologist at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Divecha claims, “Americans are obsessed with parenting advice. Bloggers, magazines, whole Web sites urge us to do more. Or less. Be more Chinese they implore. Or more French.” She’s referring to recently published books and accompanying media campaigns that highlighted the variety of parenting approaches for raising children: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. Another article, Thank You to My Dolphin (Not Tiger) Mom, describes a more adaptive approach of parenting. The so-called Dolphin Mom uses an authoritarian style of warmth and affection, accompanied by rules, expectations, learning through consequences, and flexibility.
KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research
MOVE is an innovative 13-week program serving court-entangled families that have experienced domestic violence. This guest post describes how parenting assessment is being used to document MOVE outcomes by a team at the University of North Carolina School of Social Work.
I started my career doing nutrition research in the laboratory of Dr. Lucille Hurley, who was famous for her work on the impact of nutritional deficiencies on development. While working with her I came to not only know the literature on how nutrient deficiencies can impair development, but saw the dramatic impact with my own eyes. Thus, the overwhelming literature showing that breastfeeding results in improved cognitive development came as no surprise. Yet, I have to admit to being surprised again by the power of parenting. A recent report concludes that the well-documented impact of breastfeeding on cognitive development is actually a proxy for parenting.
You often hear parents bemoaning the fact that children don't come with instructions. Many people become parents without the skills needed to be effective parents in their children's lives. It is important to support these parents in developing the skills and strategies they need to nurture their children. As we have discussed in prior posts, research consistently shows that parenting quality is the strongest factor contributing to children’s success (for examples see theses prior posts 1, 2, 3, & 4). In a recent post, we explored the role of parenting quality in language learning. A longitudinal study showed that while many things impact a child’s learning of language, such as word counts, environment, income, education, and social status, none of these affected a child more than parenting quality. Parenting quality can include feedback tone, responsiveness, symbolic emphasis, and guidance style. Improving parenting increases the likelihood that children will succeed educationally, socially, and economically.
Those of us who work in early childhood frequently hear reference to the “30 Million Word Gap.” This phrase derives from a longitudinal study of 42 families by Hart and Risley from the University of Kansas on language acquisition and socioeconomic status (SES).
I have just completed reading Paul Tough’s, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and Hidden Power of Character. I highly recommend this book for anyone working with families. One of the main themes of thebook is that personal traits, which he refers to as character, are more important than intelligence or academic skills for a person’s success. Much of the book focuses on how to build character traits during middle and high school, because fully developing these traits requires metacognition. Though it concentrates on middle and high school, this book provides considerable food for thought for those of us focusing on the early years of child development. With gratitude to Paul Tough, in the next few posts we explore parenting and the development of character.