Care for Child Development provides guidance to help caregivers build stronger relationships with young children and solve challenges in. relationships with adults and peers. They also learn ships with peers, family, community members, and service providers, they are Positive Parent-Child Relationships Boost Child Warm, sensitive, and responsive caregiving provides the. Rather, young children rely on parents and other primary caregivers, inside and maintain positive relationships with peers and adults (Semrud-Clikeman, ). . the types of parenting practices that promote children's achievement of these.
Parents' attitudes toward parenting are a product of their knowledge of parenting and the values and goals or expectations they have for their children's development, which in turn are informed by cultural, social, and societal images, as well as parents' experiences and their overall values and goals Cabrera et al.
People in the United States hold several universal, or near universal, beliefs about the types of parental behaviors that promote or impair child development. For example, there is general agreement that striking a child in a manner that can cause severe injury, engaging in sexual activity with a child, and failing to provide adequate food for and supervision of young children such as leaving toddlers unattended pose threats to children's health and safety and are unacceptable.
At the same time, some studies identify differences in parents' goals for child development, which may influence attitudes regarding the roles of parents and have implications for efforts to promote particular parenting practices. While there is variability within demographic groups in parenting attitudes and practices, some research shows differences in attitudes and practices among subpopulations. For example, qualitative research provides some evidence of variation by culture in parents' goals for their children's socialization.
In one interview study, mothers who were first-generation immigrants to the United States from Central America emphasized long-term socialization goals related to proper demeanor for their children, while European American mothers emphasized self-maximization Leyendecker et al. In another interview study, Anglo American mothers stressed the importance of their young children developing a balance between autonomy and relatedness, whereas Puerto Rican mothers focused on appropriate levels of relatedness, including courtesy and respectful attentiveness Harwood et al.
Other ethnographic and qualitative research shows that parents from different cultural groups select cultural values and norms from their country of origin as well as from their host country, and that their goal is for their children to adapt and succeed in the United States Rogoff, Similarly, whereas the larger U. The importance of intergenerational connections e. The values and traditions of cultural communities may be expressed as differences in parents' views regarding gender roles, in parents' goals for children, and in their attitudes related to childrearing.
Parent Voices [One parent described differences between men and women in parenting roles. Culturally men aren't that involved. The dad is the outer worker; the mother is the inner worker. If you are talking about the mom, they are the ones who care about the kids. They aren't typically working outside the home. But now, in the United States, the mothers are working outside the home. Research has shown that fathers of young children participate in child caregiving activities in increasing numbers Cabrera et al.
Parents' values and goals related to childrearing, both overall and for specific demographic groups, also may shift from one generation to the next in the United States based on changing norms and viewpoints within social networks and cultural communities, as well as parents' knowledge of and access to new research and information provided by educators, health care providers, and others who work with families. Relatively little research has been conducted on parents' attitudes toward specific parenting-related practices.
Much of the extant research focuses on practices related to promoting children's physical health and safety. Studies of varying designs indicate that parental attitudes and beliefs about the need for and safety of vaccination influence vaccination practices Mergler et al.
Maternal attitudes and beliefs about breastfeeding e. Other studies have found differences among parents e. Parental involvement in children's education has been linked to academic readiness Fan and Chen, However, parents differ in their attitudes about the role of parents in children's learning and education Hammer et al. Some see parents as having a central role, while others view the school as the primary facilitator of children's education and see parents as having less of a role Hammer et al.
These attitudinal differences may be related to cultural expectations or parents' own education or comfort with teaching their children certain skills. Some parents, for example, may have lower involvement in their children's education because of insecurity about their own skills and past negative experiences in school Lareau, ; Lawrence-Lightfoot, And as discussed above, some parents view math skills as less important for their children relative to other types of skills and therefore are less likely to teach them in the home.
Parents within and across different communities vary in their opinions and practices with respect to the role and significance of discipline. Some of the parenting literature notes that some parents use control to discipline children, while others aim to correct but not to control children Nieman and Shea, In a small cross-cultural ethnographic study, Mosier and Rogoff found that some parents regard rules and punishment as inappropriate for infants and toddlers.
The approach valued by these parents to help children understand what is expected of them is to cooperate with them, perhaps distracting them but not forcing their compliance. In contrast, many middle-class U. And ethnographic research provides some evidence of differences in African American and European American mothers' beliefs about spoiling and infant intentionality whether infants can intentionally misbehave related to the use of physical punishment with young children Burchinal et al.
Parents' attitudes not only toward parenting but also toward providers in societal agencies—such as educators, social service personnel, health care providers, and police—which can be shaped by a variety of factors, including discrimination, are important determinants of parents' access to and ability to obtain support. Studies show a relationship between parents' distrust of agencies and their likelihood of rejecting participation in an intervention.
For example, in systematic reviews of studies of various types, parents who distrust the medical community and government health agencies are less likely to have their children vaccinated Brown et al. Racial and ethnic minority parents whose attitudes about appropriate remedies for young children vary from those of the Western medical establishment often distrust and avoid treatment by Western medical practitioners Hannan, While not specific to parents, studies using various methodologies show that individuals who have experienced racial and other forms of discrimination, both within and outside of health care settings, are less likely to utilize various health services or to engage in other health-promoting behaviors Gonzales et al.
In a survey study, African American parents' racism awareness was negatively associated with involvement in activities at their children's school McKay et al.
Longitudinal studies, mostly involving families with older children, indicate that, like other sources of stress, parents' experience of discrimination can have a detrimental effect on parenting and the quality of the parent-child relationship Murray et al.
As noted earlier, attitudes are shaped in part by parenting self-efficacy—a parent's perceived ability to influence the development of his or her child. Parenting self-efficacy has been found to influence parenting competence including engagement in some parenting practices as well as child functioning Jones and Prinz, Studies show associations between maternal self-efficacy and children's self-regulation, social, and cognitive skills Murry and Brody, ; Swick and Hassell, Self-efficacy also may apply to parents' confidence in their capacity to carry out specific parenting practices.
For example, parents who reported a sense of efficacy in influencing their elementary school-age children's school outcomes were more likely to help their children with school activities at home Anderson and Minke, A multimethod study of African American families found that maternal self-efficacy was related to children's regulatory skills through its association with competence-promoting parenting practices, which included family routines, quality of mother-child interactions based on observer ratings, and teachers' reports of mothers' involvement with their children's schools Brody et al.
Henshaw and colleagues found in a longitudinal study that higher breastfeeding self-efficacy predicted exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum, as well as better emotional adjustment of mothers in the weeks after giving birth.
Parenting Practices Parenting practices have been studied extensively, with some research showing strong associations between certain practices and positive child outcomes. This section describes parenting practices that research indicates are central to helping children achieve basic outcomes in the areas discussed at the beginning of the chapter: While these outcomes are used as a partial organizing framework for this section, several specific practices—contingent responsiveness of parents, organization of the home environment and the importance of routines, and behavioral discipline practices—that have been found to influence child well-being in more than one of these four outcome areas are discussed separately.
Practices to Promote Physical Health and Safety Parents influence the health and safety of their children in many ways. However, the difficulty of using random assignment designs to examine parenting practices that promote children's health and safety has resulted in a largely observational literature. This section reviews the available evidence on a range of practices in which parents engage to ensure the health and safety of their children. It begins with breastfeeding—a subject about which there has historically been considerable discussion in light of generational shifts and commercial practices that have affected children in poor families.
Breastfeeding Breastfeeding has myriad well-established short- and long-term benefits for both babies and mothers.
Breast milk bolsters babies' immunity to infectious disease, regulates healthy bacteria in the intestines, and overall is the best source of nutrients to help babies grow and develop. Breastfeeding also supports bonding between mothers and their babies.Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: Strengthening parent-child relationships
Breastfeeding may benefit mothers' health as well by lowering risk for postpartum depression, certain cancers, and chronic diseases such as diabetes U. Department of Health and Human Services, Current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the WHO recommend mothers breastfeed exclusively until infants are 6 months old.
Thereafter and until the child is either age 1 year American Academy of Pediatrics, or 2 years World Health Organization,it is recommended that children continue to be breastfed while slowly being introduced to other foods. According to data from the CDC aabout 80 percent of babies born in the United States are breastfed including fed breast milk for some duration, and about 50 percent and 27 percent are breastfed to any extent with or without the addition of complementary liquids or solids at 6 and 12 months, respectively.
Forty percent and 19 percent are exclusively breastfed through 3 and 6 months, respectively. Mothers in the United States often cite a number of reasons for not initiating or continuing breastfeeding, including lack of knowledge about how to breastfeed, difficulty or pain during breastfeeding, embarrassment, perceived inconvenience, and return to work Hurley et al. Low-income women with less education are less likely than women of higher socioeconomic status to breastfeed Heck et al.
Some research with immigrant mothers shows that rates of breastfeeding decrease with each generation in the United States, possibly because of differences in acceptance of bottle feeding here as compared with other countries e. Nutrition and physical activity Parents play an important role in shaping their young children's nutrition and physical activity levels Institute of Medicine, ; Sussner et al.
Among toddlers and preschool-age children, parents' feeding practices are associated with their children's ability to regulate food intake, which can affect weight status Faith et al. Parents' modeling of healthful eating habits for their children and offering of healthful foods, particularly during toddlerhood, when children are often reluctant to try new foods, may result in children being more apt to like and eat such foods Hill, ; Natale et al.
The extant observational research generally shows that children's dietary intake particularly fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with food options available in the home and at school, and that parents are important role models for their children's dietary behaviors Cullen et al.
Conversely, the presence of less nutritious food and beverage items in the home may increase children's risk of becoming overweight. For example, Dennison and colleagues and Welsh and colleagues found positive associations between overweight in children and their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. On the other hand, there are some indications that overly strict diets may increase children's preferences for high-fat, energy-dense foods, perhaps causing an imbalance in children's self-regulation of hunger and satiety and increasing the risk that they will become overweight Birch and Fisher, ; Farrow et al.
A few cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, coupled with conventional wisdom, suggest that eating dinner together as a family is associated with increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and reduced consumption of fats and soda Gillman et al. However, these studies involved primarily older children and adolescents. Physical activity is a complement to good nutrition.
Even in young children, physical activity is essential for proper energy balance and prevention of childhood obesity Institute of Medicine, ; Kohl and Hobbs, It also supports normal physical growth. Parents may encourage activity in young children through play e. Children who spend more time outdoors may be more active e. For many parents living in high-crime neighborhoods, however, most of whom are racial and ethnic minorities, the importance of safety overrides the significance of physical activity.
In some neighborhoods, safety issues and lack of access to parks and other places for safe recreation make it difficult for families to spend time outdoors, leading parents to keep their children at home Dias and Whitaker, ; Gable et al. Although more of the research on screen time and sedentary behavior has focused on adolescents than on young children, several cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on younger children show an association between television viewing and overweight and inactivity Ariza et al.
An analysis of data on 8, children participating in a longitudinal cohort study showed that those who watched more television during kindergarten and first grade were significantly more likely to be clinically overweight by the spring semester of third grade Gable et al. Although television, computers, and other screen media often are used for educational purposes with young children, these findings suggest that balancing screen time with other activities may be one way parents can promote their children's overall health.
As with diet, children's sedentary behavior can be influenced by parents' own behaviors. For example, De Lepeleere and colleagues found an association between parents' screen time and that of their children ages in a cross-sectional study. Vaccination Parents protect their own and other children from potentially serious diseases by making sure they receive recommended vaccines.
Among children born in a given year in the United States, childhood vaccination is estimated to prevent about 42, deaths and 20 million cases of disease Zhou et al. In82 percent of children ages months received combined-series vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis [DTP]; polio; measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR]; and Haemophilus influenzae type b [Hib]up from 69 percent in Child Trends Databank, b.
Vaccination rates are lower among low-income children; 71 percent of children ages months living below the poverty level received the combined-series vaccines listed above in Child Trends Databank, b. Although much of the media coverage on this subject has focused on middle-income parents averse to having their children vaccinated, it is in fact poverty that is thought to account for much of the disparity in vaccination rates by race and ethnicity Hill et al. As discussed earlier in this chapter, parental practices around vaccination may be influenced by parents' knowledge and interpretation of information on and their attitudes about vaccination.
Preconception and prenatal care The steps women take with their health care providers before becoming pregnant can promote healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes for both mothers and babies. These include initiating certain supplements e. During pregnancy, receipt of recommended prenatal care can help parents reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and poor birth outcomes by promoting healthy behaviors e.
Prior to the birth of a child, health care providers also can educate parents on the importance of breastfeeding, infant injury and illness prevention, and other practices. Infants born to mothers who do not receive prenatal care or who do not receive it until late in their pregnancy are more likely than those born to mothers who receive such care early in pregnancy to be born premature and at a low birth weight and are more likely to die.
Since the s, there has been a decline in the number of women in the United States receiving late or no prenatal care, with the majority of pregnant women now receiving recommended prenatal care Child Trends Databank, a. Yet disparities among subgroups persist. The proportion of women receiving timely prenatal care increases with age: Women whose pregnancies are unintended also are less likely to receive timely prenatal care.
Despite the importance of timely and quality prenatal care, moreover, many parents experience barriers to receiving such care, including poor access and rural residence, limited knowledge of its importance, and mental illness Heaman et al. Injury prevention Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, c and a leading cause of disability for both younger and older children in the United States. In addition to motor vehicle-related injuries, children sustain unintentional injuries due, for example, to suffocation, falls, poisoning, and drowning in the home environment.
About 1, children under age 9 in the United States die each year from injuries in the home Mack et al. Parents can protect their children from injury through various measures, such as ensuring proper use of automobile passenger restraints, insisting that children wear helmets while bike riding and playing sports, and creating a safe home environment e. Yet the limited available research on parents' use of safety measures suggests there is room for improvement in some areas.
For instance, appropriate use of child restraint systems is known to reduce the risk of child motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths Arbogast et al. Likewise, using data from a national survey conducted duringDellinger and Kresnow show that less than one-half of children ages always wore bicycle helmets while riding, and 29 percent never did so. More recent data on parents' home safety practices and on helmet usage among young children are lacking.
Evidence that families' home safety practices affect child safety comes from intervention research. A large meta-analysis of randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials of home safety education interventions for families Kendrick et al.
There was also some evidence for reduced injury rates among children. As discussed in Chapter 4helping parents reduce hazards in the home is a component of some home visiting programs. Parents also protect their children's safety by monitoring their whereabouts and activities to prevent them from both physical and psychological harm.
The type of supervision may vary based on a child's needs and age as well as parents' values and economic circumstances. For all young children, monitoring for the purposes of preventing exposure to hazards is an important practice. As children grow older, knowing their friends and where the children are when they are not at home or in school also becomes important.
As noted previously, research suggests the importance of monitoring screen time to children's well-being.
Tips on Helping Your Child Build Relationships • ZERO TO THREE
And monitoring of children's Internet usage may prevent them from being exposed to online predators Finkelhor et al. Practices to Promote Emotional and Behavioral Competence and Social Competence Fundamental to children's positive development is the opportunity to grow up in an environment that responds to their emotional needs Bretherton, and that enables them to develop skills needed to cope with basic anxieties, fears, and environmental challenges.
Parents' ability to foster a sense of belonging and self-worth in their children is vital to the children's early development. In much the same way, parents contribute to children's emerging social competence by teaching them skills—such as self-control, cooperation, and taking the perspective of others—that prepare them to develop and maintain positive relationships with peers and adults.
Parents can promote the learning and acquisition of social skills by establishing strong relationships with their children. The importance of early parent-child interactions for children's social competence is embedded in many theoretical frameworks, such as attachment Ainsworth and Bowlby,family system theories Cox and Paley,and ecocultural theories Weisner, Parents socialize their children to adopt culturally appropriate values and behaviors that enable them to be socially competent and act as members of a social group.
Research suggests that children who are socially competent are independent rather than suggestible, responsible rather than irresponsible, cooperative instead of resistive, purposeful rather than aimless, friendly rather than hostile, and self-controlled rather than impulsive Landy and Osofsky, In short, the socially competent child exhibits social skills e.
Parents help children develop these social skills through parenting practices that include fostering and modeling positive relationships and providing enriching and stimulating experiences and opportunities for children to exercise these skills Landy and Osofsky, Parents also help their children acquire these skills by having them participate in routine activities e.
These activities are shared with and initiated by parents, siblings, and other kin; unfold within the home; and are structured by cultural and linguistic practices, expectations, and behaviors Rogoff, ; Weisner, In this context, young children interact with their mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents who teach them implicitly or explicitly to acquire appropriate social behaviors, adapt to expected norms, and learn linguistic conventions and cognitive skills Sameroff and Fiese, Another important aspect of parent-supported social development pertains to parents aiding their children in acquiring executive function skills needed to adapt to changing needs of the environment and regulate their impulses and responses to distressing situations Blair and Raver, ; Malin et al.
Evidence, primarily from correlational research, suggests that parents who help their children regulate the difficulty of tasks and who model mature performance during joint participation in activities are likely to have socially competent children Eisenberg et al. Parents also facilitate their children's development of friendships by engaging in positive social interaction with them and by creating opportunities for them to be social with peers McCollum and Ostrosky, In one correlational study, children whose parents initiated peer contacts had more playmates and more consistent play companions in their preschool peer networks Ladd et al.
Research also shows that children who have increased opportunities for playing or interacting with children from diverse backgrounds are likely to develop less prejudice and more empathy toward others Bernstein et al. Findings from experimental studies on parent training provide evidence of the types of parental practices that are associated with child emotional and behavioral health i.
In another randomized study, mothers who received parent training to improve their empathy toward their children became less permissive with their 2- to 3-year-olds, who became less aggressive Christopher et al.
These relationships have been found to hold in experimental studies involving diverse samples. Brotman and colleagues found that a program designed to reduce parents' use of negative parenting and increase their provision of stimulation for child learning increased social competence with peers in young African American and Latino children who had a sibling who had been involved in the juvenile justice system. In a European study, Berkovits and colleagues studied ethnically diverse parents participating in an abbreviated parent skills training delivered in pediatric primary care aimed at encouraging children's prosocial behavior.
The findings show significant increases in effective parenting strategies and in parents' beliefs about personal controls, as well as declines in child behavior problems. Improvements in child behavior as a consequence of parent training have been found not only for programs emphasizing better and more consistent discipline and contingency management, but also for those providing training that led to parents' greater emotional support for their children McCarty et al.
In addition, Stormshak and colleagues found that punitive interactions between parents and children were associated with higher rates of child disruptive behavior problems, and that low levels of warm involvement were characteristic of parents of children who showed oppositional behaviors.
Internalizing disorders in young children include depression withdrawal, persistent sadness and anxiety Tandon et al. Studies focusing exclusively on the causes of internalizing disorders in young children are relatively limited. However, the results of the available studies lead to similar conclusions about the relationships among training, changes in parenting practices, and child internalizing problems. First, there is evidence that parental behaviors matter for child emotional functioning.
Specifically, parents' sense of personal control and behaviors such as autonomy granting are inversely related to child anxiety in cross-sectional research McLeod et al. Similarly, in another nonexperimental study, Duncombe and colleagues show that inconsistent discipline, parents' negative emotion, and mental health are related to child problems with emotion regulation.
Second, there is evidence that parent training interventions can modify the parenting practices that matter. Third, some parent training interventions have positive effects on children's emotional functioning.
Tips on Helping Your Child Build Relationships
In a review of randomized controlled studies of the effects of group-based parenting programs on behavioral and emotional adjustment, Barlow and colleagues found significant effects of the programs on parent-reported outcomes of children under age 4.
Herbert and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial of parent training and emotion socialization for hyperactive preschool children in which the target outcome was emotion regulation. Not only did the intervention group mothers report lower hyperactivity, inattention, and emotional lability in their children, but also changes in children's functioning were correlated with more positive and less negative parenting and with less verbosity, greater support, and use of emotion socialization practices on the part of mothers.
With respect to social competence, a number of studies point to a relationship with parenting practices and suggest that parent training may have an impact on both parenting practices related to and children's development of social competence. An experimental evaluation of the Incredible Years Program discussed further in Chapter 5for instance, found that parent training contributed to improved parenting practices, defined as lower negative parenting and increased parental stimulation for learning Brotman et al.
He stamps his feet and sobs. His grandmother tells him she has an idea: She gives him a dull butter knife and guides his hand to help him cut some melon. This toddler is learning that his interests and needs are important and what it feels like to be understood by another person. Below are some ideas for nurturing relationship-building skills in infants and toddlers. She will feel loved and special with your full attention.
Your attention is what he desires and is thrilled to receive. You can show your interest by commenting on or describing what he is doing: This will also help him learn about the value and joy of back and forth play which is an important aspect of all successful relationships. Encourage Children to Express Their Feelings in Age-Appropriate Ways Forming positive, healthy relationships depends on the ability to show feelings appropriately and to recognize the feelings of others.
Teach children acceptable ways to vent anger, like drawing an angry picture, running in the yard, or tossing a pillow on the floor. Respect Your Child's Feelings This teaches your child to trust her instincts.
It can also help her work through powerful or difficult feelings and allow her to move on. Knowing you respect her feelings teaches your child empathy and respect for others, which are important elements in any relationship.
Accepting her feelings, without minimizing them or making fun, also increases the chances that she will share more with you as she grows. Make drawings or hats for different emotions, and talk about pictures in books that communicate feelings. You can help her think through these big ideas and feelings by playing along and perhaps reminding her that, while Teddy misses his mama, he knows his mama always comes back.
Provide Opportunities for Your Child to Develop Relationships With Peers Children need practice in order to learn to share, take turns, resolve conflict, and feel the joy of friendship.