Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: How to Develop your Child Socially

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They found that mothers experiencing COPE had less anxiety and depression and higher parent-child interaction scores compared with the control group. Segre and colleagues used the Listening Visits intervention, consisting of six to minute individual sessions provided by a trained neonatal nurse practitioner. Improvements were detected in primary outcomes of maternal depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as quality-of-life measures in a single group pre-post test trial Segre et al.

Much of the research in this area has focused on low-birth weight infants in the NICU, and there is a set of well-articulated programs that can be beneficial to these parents. Given the stress created by a premature birth, the psychological trauma associated with prolonged stays in the NICU, and the possible chronic health and developmental conditions that may emerge in these infants, these programs may produce ongoing benefits.

It is also important to note the long-standing finding that low-birth weight children born to families living in poverty often have poorer outcomes relative to those born to families not living in poverty Sameroff and Chandler, , even when interventions are implemented to support their early development Brooks-Gunn et al.

Parents with limited financial resources or social supports who have premature and low-birth weight children may well need more assistance than their better-off counterparts. This section reviews programs addressing the needs of parents facing special adversities related to mental illness, substance abuse disorders,. It is important to emphasize that approaches for intimate partner violence differ from those applied, for example, with parents with mental illness in that concerns about the safety of the child—even removing the child from the home—must be the priority rather than providing treatment for parents and supporting them in their parental role.

Certainly, concerns about the safety of the child are part of the evaluation in the latter cases, but they are not the central focus. It should also be noted that, because of the lack of definitive research on support for parents facing other adversities, such as homelessness or incarceration, the discussion does not address these adversities, even though they affect the lives of millions of children.

The fact that parents are experiencing one or more of these adversities does not necessarily mean that they need help with parenting. Many parents facing such problems are able to provide adequate parenting. As discussed below, it is well established that children living with parents facing these adversities are less likely to attain the desired outcomes identified in Chapter 2 relative to children whose parents are of similar socioeconomic status but do not face these adversities.

Providing effective interventions for these parents to support and strengthen their parenting is therefore critical for both them and their children. At present, the majority of parents experiencing one or more of these adversities are receiving no services for their condition. For higher-risk families most in need of effective treatment programs, engagement rates may be even lower Ingoldsby, Although not specific to parents, one study estimates the percentage of persons who needed but did not receive substance abuse treatment to be about 90 percent Batts et al.

With respect to mental health, a national study of low-income women found that just one-quarter of those with any mental health disorder had sought treatment in the past month Rosen et al. Again, even when individuals do receive services, the services generally focus on the presenting problem but do not address parenting issues; in fact, individuals receiving treatment for mental health or substance abuse disorders frequently are not asked whether they are parents. Three interrelated factors are particularly common barriers to seeking and receiving support among the parent populations discussed in this section: stigma e.

Parents facing adversities may have an internalized sense of stigma about their condition that affects their sense of self-worth and competence Borba et al. The widespread stigma associated with mental illness often increases parental and family stress and poses a barrier to seeking any parenting support, even basic health care Blegen et al. This appears to be particularly true for parents with severe mental illnesses. Similarly, societal stigma may increase the self-blame, remorse, and shame already felt by mothers with substance abuse disorders, pushing them further away from seeking help and contributing to the denial that is a hallmark of the disease of addiction.

Mothers report feeling significant vulnerability based on fear of not being perceived as a good mother. They recognize that as a result of their condition, they can be at risk for involvement of child protective services and loss of child custody, a perception that is based in fact Berger et al. For example, using Medicaid and child welfare system data, a large study of Medicaid-eligible mothers with severe mental illness found almost three times higher odds of being involved with child welfare services and a four-fold higher risk of losing custody at some point compared with mothers without psychiatric diagnoses Park et al.

In the case of mothers with substance abuse, caseworkers may be more likely to perceive that children have experienced severe risk and harm Berger et al. And the law in many states requires that reports of domestic violence be investigated by child welfare agencies Blegen et al. Ambivalent feelings about parenting support programs may come from past experiences, as well as familial or social histories or perceptions McCurdy and Daro, Some parents report stigmatizing remarks or comments from health care or social service providers.

Unfolding Children’s Genius – Sadhguru @ Kendriya Vidyalaya Principals Meet

Parents with substance use problems, for example, frequently report that they experience anger and blame from medical and other treatment professionals instead of being viewed as suffering from an illness and treated as such Camp and Finkelstein, ; Nicholson et al. In the case of parents with mental illness, the distrust may be part of the general attitudes associated with paranoia or delusions Healy et al.

Although generating participation can be challenging, a wide range of programs are available that are designed to meet the needs of these populations, both by addressing the underlying problems and with respect to supporting and strengthening parenting. High-quality trials of such interventions are limited, however. Although there have been randomized controlled trials, many smaller studies, observational research, and case-control studies provide some guidance on best practices. This section reviews the available evidence on interventions designed specifically to support parents facing adversities related to mental illness, substance abuse disorders, intimate partner violence, and parental developmental disabilities, since each has unique needs that should be considered in offering services to strengthen and support parenting.

As noted, many parents face two or more of these challenges, and some face nearly all of them. There has been almost no rigorous evaluation of interventions for these very complex cases, and many of these families are referred to child welfare agencies. Later in this chapter, the committee assesses parenting interventions offered through the child welfare system.

Many parents struggle with mental illness at the same time they are trying to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their family. It is estimated that Research indicates that one-half of all lifetime cases of diagnosable mental illness occur by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, ; Kessler et al.

Determining the prevalence of mental illness specifically among parents is more challenging. Depression is the most common mental illness. But many parents who experience mental illness have not been formally diagnosed, and patients with a diagnosis of mental illness often are not identified as being parents. It is particularly challenging to estimate the number of parents with severe mental illness often defined as schizophrenia, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.

The relevant research typically has assessed individuals in community settings community service agencies, mental health clinics, child welfare agencies, prisons, or hospitals , who likely do not represent the broader population Nicholson et al. Analysis of data from the National Co-Morbidity Survey suggests that approximately one-half of mothers In another study, among adults identified with severe persistent mental illness, approximately two-thirds of women and three-quarters of men were also parents Gearing et al.

Mental health disorders encompass a wide spectrum of illnesses and levels of severity, and symptoms may wax and wane over time; thus their impact on parenting and the supports these parents need can be quite variable. As with prevalence, far more is known about the impact of depression on parenting Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, than about the impact of severe mental illness Bee et al. The IOM and NRC report describes research showing that parental depression is associated with more negative and withdrawn parenting and with worse physical health and well-being of children.

But the same report describes a number of promising two-generational programs focused on prevention and emphasizes the potential for helping parents with treatment and parenting programs. For individuals with mental illness, being a parent is not only a challenge but also often one of the most rewarding parts of their lives Dolman et al.

However, mental illness also can interfere with the quality of parenting.

Development Milestones for your Year-Old Child

A cross-sectional study using video observation of depressed mothers with their toddlers demonstrated that those with more severe depressive symptoms engaged in fewer positive interactions and more negative interactions with. Children of parents with mental illness also have a higher risk of developing their own mental health issues, developmental delays, and behavioral problems Beardslee et al. There have been few high-quality large-scale evaluations of interventions designed for parents with mental illness and even fewer of those for parents with severe mental illness.

However, many universal interventions have the potential to prevent or mitigate mental illness before it has serious impacts on parenting, and a number of smaller studies have shown positive or promising results of such interventions. For example, the MOMS Partnership, operated by Yale University, interviewed more than 1, low-income urban mothers of young children to create a set of developmental and community-based mental health and workforce supports Smith, Early results based on a participant questionnaire reveal an increase in positive parenting and reduction in depression Smith, A number of programs are designed to prevent adverse child outcomes among families with known parental mental illness.

The evidence for treating maternal depression for mothers of infants, however, is mixed. Several reviews found that while sustained interventions may improve the cognitive development of the child, additional research is needed to determine the success of these treatments over time, particularly with regard to the benefits for the child as well as the mother Nylen et al. Forman and colleagues. Nonetheless, most studies have demonstrated that interventions combining mental health treatment and parenting support, or at least including a component focused on parenting, often lead to better outcomes relative to programs that focus solely on the illness.

A systematic review of the impact of maternal-infant dyadic interventions on postpartum depression included 19 single group pre-post and randomized controlled studies. The author concluded that strategies focused on the dyad and maternal coaching were most effective at reducing psychiatric symptoms and demonstrated modest improvements in the mother-child relationship and maternal responsiveness Tsivos et al.

Not all such approaches are successful, however. A Cochrane review assessing the impact specifically of parent-infant psychotherapy versus control or an alternative intervention found no significant effects of the psychotherapy on maternal depression or the mother-child dyad Barlow et al. With the advent of primary care medical homes and the resultant integration of physical, mental, and behavioral health care, there has been growing interest in incorporating parenting interventions and support into primary care settings.

This may be a particularly effective way of diagnosing and addressing parental mental health issues. Parents may be more willing to seek health care for their children than for themselves, but during pediatric visits, health care providers may identify a parent who would benefit from mental health treatment Nicholson and Clayfield, Screening adults for depression in primary care settings with the capacity to provide accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up is endorsed by the U.

Preventive Services Task Force Models of stepped collaborative care entail screening for and identifying depression in primary care settings and providing straightforward care in those locations while referring patients with more severe or resistant illness to mental health specialists Dennis, Additional primary prevention programs for parental depression have focused on the period from conception through age 5, although most address parents with infants rather than those with toddlers Bee et al.

Selective primary prevention of depression among parents has been tested most frequently in the perinatal period, with most programs targeting high-risk groups, such as mothers with preterm infants or those at increased risk for postpartum depression Ammerman et al. The perinatal period appears to be an effective time to reach a broad population of parents.

Home visiting programs discussed in detail in Chapter 4 serve parents with high rates of depression, interpersonal trauma, and PTSD, yet less than. Early studies examining the mental health benefits of home visiting interventions for parents had mixed results, but the results of more recent studies have been positive. In recent studies, for example, home visiting that includes psychotherapy for mothers has been found to improve depression, and as depression improves, so do many measures of parenting Ammerman et al.

A randomized controlled trial enrolled women in home visiting programs who were identified as being at risk for perinatal depression Tandon et al. The intervention consisted of six 2-hour group sessions focused on cognitive-behavioral therapy, with skills being reinforced during regular home visits. At 6-month follow-up, 15 percent of mothers in the intervention group versus 32 percent of the control mothers had experienced an episode of major depression Tandon et al.

In a randomized trial of the Building Healthy Children Collaborative, there was no difference in rate of referral to child protective services for mothers who received mental health services as part of home visits and women in a comparison group who did not receive such services; in both groups, almost all mothers avoided referral to child protective services Paradis et al.

There also have been efforts to help parents with children in center-based care. In a randomized controlled trial of depressed mothers who had infants and toddlers in Early Head Start, investigators tested interpersonal therapy combined with parenting enhancement training versus just treatment for the depression Beeber et al. Both groups had a significant improvement in depression scores, but only the group with parent training showed enhanced parent-child interaction skills.

Beardslee and colleagues describe a nonrandomized, multiyear, multicomponent pilot intervention with parents, staff, and administration in an Early Head Start program serving up to children a year. The intervention, Family Connections, was intended to help staff with strategies for addressing mental health problems in the families they served.

The program, which was provided to all the families, not just those identified as suffering from depression, utilized widespread education of staff and parents and a parent support group. It resulted in improved parent self-reported parenting knowledge and social support and increased parent engagement with the center.

Other approaches have been tried in public health settings. Both interventions improved child mental health symptoms and behaviors. Family Talk utilizes manual-based psychoeducation prevention strategies. One study of 93 families with. While parents with brief or time-limited mental health problems can benefit from brief interventions, those with severe mental illness or more complex mental health disorders are likely to need ongoing support and crisis intervention services.

Unfortunately, interventions to support and strengthen parenting for parents with severe mental illness have typically not been rigorously evaluated using the types of well-designed randomized controlled trials used to test other parenting interventions described in this report, and this is an identified area of need Schrank et al. Shrank and colleagues conducted a systematic review of parenting studies involving parents who had severe mental illness psychosis or bipolar disorder and at least one child between the ages of The review included a heterogeneous range of interventions, and child outcomes were evaluated.

Four of six randomized controlled trials included in the review showed significant benefits from the interventions, which included intensive home visits, parenting lectures, clinician counseling, and Online Triple P; the lower-quality studies showed mixed results. A 3-year observational study of mothers with severe mental illness with children ages demonstrated that over time, as serious symptoms remitted, parents became more nurturing, raising the hope that treatment could lead to improved child outcomes Kahng et al.

A meta-analysis of a variety of parenting interventions found a medium to large effect size in improving short-term parent mental health but noted that these benefits may wane over time, again emphasizing the need for longer and more enduring programs Bee et al. One approach for parents with severe mental illness that appears to be promising is to provide parenting interventions during intensive outpatient treatment or inpatient treatment for mental health crises Krumm et al.

A few hospitals in the United States many more in Europe and Australia have mother-baby mental health units where the baby can stay with the mother while she is hospitalized. A newer observational study in the United Kingdom using a video feedback intervention found that between the time of admission and discharge, mothers with schizophrenia, severe depression, and mania became more sensitive and less unresponsive, and their infants became more cooperative and less passive Kenny et al.

Notably, mothers at discharge had better outcomes on all parenting measures than both a comparison group of nonhospitalized mothers with mental illness of comparable severity and a group of mothers without mental illness in the community. Interventions and treatment for parents with mental illness have been found to significantly reduce the risk of children developing the same mental health problems as well as behavior challenges. A meta-analysis included 1, children in 13 randomized controlled trials of interventions with cognitive, behavioral, or psychoeducational elements for parents with a variety of mental illnesses and substance use problems Siegenthaler et al.

Given the enormous complexity of comorbidities and varieties of presentation in mental illness, sorting out which risks to children derive from parental mental illness and which should be attributed to other stressors is challenging. Doing so is critical, however, for identifying the best strategies for helping families and in considering interventions at both the micro and macro levels. For example, many parents living with severe mental illness will need support in learning parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices, specifically in understanding normal child development and milestones and how to provide emotional support for their children.

They, like all parents, may also benefit from training in such skills as getting children to have a consistent bedtime routine, feeding them, administering nonphysical discipline, and providing emotional support Nicholson and Henry, ; Stepp et al. Mothers living with severe mental illness themselves have identified generic parenting issues for which they may need help—both in accessing essential resources and in developing critical parenting skills Nicholson and Henry, Mental illnesses include a wide range of conditions.

One mother may have severe depression and struggle with lifelong, recurrent episodes, while another may have a single episode of mild postpartum depression. One disorder may cause symptoms that make it difficult to recognize the emo-. Even a single diagnosis can manifest with different symptoms and severity at different stages of the illness, and the illness itself can lead to complications. Parents with severe or recurrent illness also may face separation from their children due to hospitalization or temporary or permanent loss of custody, which can impact parental self-efficacy as well as attachment Gearing et al.

Thus it is important for programs to tailor services to the individual needs of parents. Programs that offer service coordination are likely to be effective for parents with mental illness who face other adversities as well, such as poverty, family violence, housing instability, and substance abuse.

Providers and policy makers also need to be mindful of the multiple layers of risk these co-occurring conditions pose to families, since childhood outcomes will be affected by far more than the parenting behaviors or knowledge targeted by many programs. Like mental health conditions, substance use and abuse can affect parenting attitudes and practices, as well as engagement and retention in parenting programs.

It has been estimated that nearly 22 million Americans have a substance use disorder Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Yet in , only 4. Moreover, both research and clinical practice have seen little integration of child development and parenting with addiction prevention and treatment.

Most studies on substance abuse to date have measured mainly retention in treatment and reduction in maternal substance use as the primary outcomes, with less attention to parenting and work with children Finkelstein, , ; Nicholson et al. Abuse of alcohol and drugs can impact parenting in multiple ways.

Potential neonatal effects include prematurity and low birth weight; greater reactivity to stress; increased arousal; higher irritability and restlessness; disordered sleep and feeding; tremulousness, high-pitched cry, and startled response; difficulties with sensory integration, such as abnormal responses to light, visual stimuli, and sounds; and hyperactivity Iqbal et al. Department of Health and Human Services, a. An infant who cannot regulate sleep, wakefulness, or stress is therefore often partnered with a mother who has. Research has recently combined the neurobiology of addiction with the neurobiology of parenting, and has examined how the disregulation of the stress-reward neural circuits in addiction may impact the capacity to parent Rutherford et al.

It is well documented that increases in stress result in increases in cravings and substance use Sinha, More specifically, the rewarding value of drugs for a substance-dependent individual comes from ameliorating withdrawal and other stressful situations, and this value may diminish biochemically the rewarding and pleasurable aspects of parenting Rutherford et al.

Oxytocin motivates social behavior by stimulating a reward response to proximity and social interaction and has been shown to increase significantly in both mother and infant during periods of close contact and breastfeeding Strathearn et al. Substance abuse interferes with this process. For example, cocaine specifically coopts this neuropathway by decreasing the production of oxytocin and thereby making maternal care less rewarding for a cocaine user Elliott et al.

Dopamine operates similarly: it rewards social behavior and regulates the production of stress-response chemicals. From a neurobiological perspective, therefore, the motivation to engage with and respond to infants may be compromised in the presence of addiction, and this diminished motivation may result in part from infant signals holding less reward value Rutherford et al.

In addition, the increased stress inherent in the parenting role may increase cravings, drug-seeking behaviors, and relapse to substance use Rutherford et al. From this limited sample, studies have described a range of parenting deficits and consequences, sometimes associated with specific drugs including alcohol , as well as the amount, frequency and duration of use. Parents may become preoccupied by drug cravings and drug-seeking behaviors, which in turn may lead to physical absences and multiple disruptions in parenting.

Further complicating this picture is that all too frequently, the substance-dependent mother has herself been a victim of violence and abuse. High levels of trauma history and moderate to high levels of PTSD diagnosis co-occur among both men and women with substance abuse disorders Back et al.

Emotional Maturity

Women whose childhood history includes sexual abuse are significantly more likely than women without such a history to report substance use and abuse, as well as depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems Camp and Finkelstein, Although prenatal substance exposure and early mother-child interactions characterized by intoxication and withdrawal have independent affects, it is the cumulative risk of chemical, psychological, and environmental disturbances related to substance abuse disorders that interferes with parenting and child development Huxley and Foulger, ; Mayes and Truman, These secondary risk factors are amenable to early intervention, identification, and comprehensive treatment modalities, offering an avenue for improved outcomes for both mother and child Barnard and McKeganey, Indeed, childrearing conditions appear to greatly outweigh substance abuse in predicting adolescent outcomes for drug-exposed children Fisher et al.

The result too often is that individuals suffering from addiction are excluded from community programs, as well as research and evaluation studies Camp and Finkelstein, ; U. Department of Health and Human Services, This exclusion includes home visiting programs, which may screen out parents who use alcohol and drugs. Department of Health and Human Services, b. Substance abuse can be successfully treated. However, while there is good reason to believe that decreased substance use should lead to improved parenting, there have been no experimental evaluations of whether successful treatment of substance abuse disorders, in and of itself, leads to better parenting.

Described below are interventions for substance abuse that include a specific focus on parenting. The literature describes a number of specific residential treatment programs for mothers with their children. The majority of studies report positive parent and child outcomes using pre-post evaluation designs Allen and Larson, ; Conners et al. Data on 1, women showed positive results, including an infant mortality rate 57 percent lower than that in the general population. Seventy-five percent of 97 mothers at one site reported improved relationships with their children and learned better stress coping skills Clark, In response to high rates of nonviolent drug-related arrests in the early s, the United States began utilizing drug courts as an alternative to traditional sentencing procedures.

These courts often mandate treatment for substance abuse disorders, frequent drug testing, and periodic court appearances for status hearings Mitchell et al. As of , nearly 3, drug courts were operating in the United States National Institute of Justice, An expansion of the adult drug court model, family treatment drug courts FTDCs were created as an alternative pathway to reunification in child protective cases.

Parental substance abuse is one of five recognized risk factors for involvement in the child welfare system; once child protective services are involved, children of parents with substance abuse disorders tend to stay in the system longer and spend more time out of their home of origin Child Welfare Information Gateway, The aim of FTDCs is to combat these trends by giving parents with these disorders access to treatment, accountability, support, and a system of structured rewards and sanctions aimed at their ultimately regaining full custody of their children.

One large-scale outcome study compared families served through three FTDCs with a matched control group of more than 1, families with substance abuse issues who received traditional child welfare services. This study found that the FTDC mothers were more likely to enter treatment, entered treatment more quickly, and were twice as likely to complete at least one treatment relative to the control group. Also, children of mothers who participated in FTDCs were more likely than children in the control group to be reunited with their mothers Worcel et al.

Another, smaller, quasi-experimental study showed that parents participating in FTDCs were significantly more likely than those not participating to enter treatment, entered treatment more quickly, received more treatment, and were more likely to complete treatment successfully. The FTDC-group children spent less time placed out of home, their involvement with child welfare services ended sooner, and they were more likely to return to parental care upon discharge Bruns et al.

Other nonexperimental research has found FTDCs to be one of the most effective ways to increase initiation and completion of treatment for substance abuse disorders among those involved in the child welfare system Marlowe and Carey, Reviews of FTDCs have found some evidence of positive findings related to reunification, completion of treatment episodes, fewer parental criminal arrests, and significant cost savings for the child welfare system Brook et al.

However, the lack of rigorous, randomized, intent-to-treat studies leaves unaddressed the possibility that those women who elect to participate in FTDCs are different from those who do not. While research has demonstrated that family and parenting skills can be improved when specific parenting programs are integrated into treatment for substance abuse Camp and Finkelstein, ; Kerwin, ; Suchman.

A study published in sampled addiction programs in the United States with respect to the extent and nature of parenting skills interventions offered. Only 43 percent of addiction programs surveyed reported offering formal classes on parenting.


Of programs that did offer such classes, only 19 percent stated that they had a standardized curriculum. In general, programs did not rate parenting as a high priority relative to other issues addressed in treatment Arria et al. Both of these curriculums are widely used in substance abuse treatment programs nationally, often within residential, day treatment, or FTDC settings.

Strengthening Families is one of the first structured group parenting programs developed within an addiction framework reviewed by NREPP in National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, d. Developed by a university-based research team, the program has been able to gather higher-quality data relative to most other parenting programs that address parental substance abuse.

A family-skills training program targeting parents of children ages , Strengthening Families consists of three courses—parenting skills for parents; life skills for children; and family life skills for the entire family, consisting of structured family activities. All three courses have a strong emphasis on communication skills, effective discipline, reinforcing positive behaviors, and planning family activities together.

The goal is to reduce risk factors for behavioral and emotional problems such as substance use. Improvements also have been found in family cohe-. The NPP was developed specifically for families involved with child welfare services. The emphasis is on participants learning how to nurture themselves while developing nurturing families and parenting skills.

The five core domains of the intervention are age-appropriate expectations; empathy, bonding, and attachment; nonviolent nurturing discipline; self-awareness and self-worth; and empowerment, autonomy, and healthy independence.

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Multiple adaptations, focused on the same core domains, include the NPP for Families in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery, which integrates recovery from substance abuse disorders with improved parenting and nurturing relationships with children.

Correlational evidence relevant to parenting practices indicates improvements in such parenting outcomes as parental empathy, reduced child abuse and neglect recidivism, decreased family conflict, and decreased support for corporal punishment Bavolek et al. Other well-supported programs—adult-focused family behavioral therapy and behavioral couples therapy for alcoholism and drug abuse—utilize individual therapy for addressing co-occurring problems so as to improve family relationships and parenting skills.

Children may be mature in one area and immature in another. For example, children may understand the importance of giving to others in need moral maturity but still not be willing to share with their friends a toy they just purchased social and emotional maturity.

For example, if a toddler is large for his age and physically very coordinated, people might expect him to be advanced verbally and in his interactions with other children. Similarly, a child who able to read early intellectual maturity may also be expected to handle frustration and disappointment emotional maturity with greater maturity than one would otherwise expect of child of his age.

These unrealistic expectations can lead to frustrations on the part of the adults and lowered self-esteem and frustration for the children. Consider each area of growth. When considering whether your children are mature or not, think about to what extent or degree each of your children has developed in each area. True maturity occurs when children have the ability and the motivation to complete the task on their own.

Things go smoothest when your children are both capable of and willing to complete a task. For example, if they are able to tie their shoes capable , and they are enthusiastic about wanting to do that for themselves motivated , they may eagerly put their shoes on each morning so that they can tie their own shoes.

With potty learning, for example, sometimes very young children go through a short period when they are motivated to use the potty, but they are physiologically not capable of doing so. In other situations, children may be physically capable of using the toilet but they are not interested in doing so.

Both components, capability and motivation, need to be in place for the achievement of potty learning. One of the most important things that parents can do for their children is to determine realistic expectations for them. If parents expect too little, less than what their children are capable of, children will not be challenged and will not meet their full potential. For more information about this topic, check out the following books.

Purchasing books from our website through Amazon. Facebook Linkedin. Tuning Into Kids is a commerically available program that follows a set structure according to a program manual. Although the program relies upon a manual, individual facilitators are able to "tweak" the program to meet the needs of specific client groups Parker, It has also been adapted for work with individual clients.

PUP was designed as a one-on-one intensive intervention offered primarily in the family home. Therapists liaise closely with providers of other services Dawe, Accredited PUP therapists use a manual that provides the theoretical overview behind the program and a Parent workbook that contains 12 modules. There are costs associated with becoming an accredited PUP therapist. While PUP is a structured program, the individual modules within the program can be delivered according the priorities decided in consultation with the family. The program is also adaptable to the specific needs of the parent involved.

The program plan is established in the first session and subsequently reviewed and revised to accommodate what is happening in the parent's life from week to week. These issues might include the stress associated with psychological problems, housing and financial strain, and enhancing the family's social engagement Dawe et al. The aim of the program is to improve parents' capacity to nurture their children and reduce aversive parenting through targeting relevant parental behaviours and cognitions, and to expand parents' range of emotional and behavioural responses to their children.

The program addresses parenting skills as well as areas identified in the research literature for which parents in high-risk families require assistance.

These include:. The program works across the individual, interpersonal and family levels, while also taking into account the social context and lifestyle of the family. As a program targeting high-risk families facing multiple problems the pool of families referred to or willing to participate in the program is small.

While group programs such as Triple-P and Tuning Into Kids are able to compile sizeable databases in relatively short timeframes, as an intensive program based on a case management approach it can take a considerable time for the PUP team to achieve a sufficiently large sample for detailed analysis. As such, large-scale evaluation studies of the program have not yet been undertaken. This Practice Sheet focuses on formal types of parenting support; that is, support provided by services.

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The factors that make parenting programs successful were identified by Holzer et al. However, the focus of Holzer et al. Engaging disadvantaged families in child and family services McDonald, Copyright information. Summarises lessons learned from services that are working effectively to reduce Indigenous disadvantage in Australia.

Summary of the results of the December review of the Clearinghouse; agency-based research on addressing client dropout; capacity challenges. An outline of the challenges child and family services face when collecting data directly from parents and children for evaluation.

Articles include using routine data collection at FRCs to examine the ways in which mothers and fathers utilise services. CFCA offers a free research and information helpdesk for child, family and community welfare practitioners, service providers, researchers and policy makers through the CFCA News. Google Tag Manager. Assessing and responding to parenting support needs in disadvantaged families: Lessons from parent education programs Assessing and responding to parenting support needs in disadvantaged families: Lessons from parent education programs Robyn Parker and Myfanwy McDonald CAFCA Practice Sheet— November Why is parenting support important?

Assessing a parent's needs Parents come to parent support services with varying needs. Questions to consider What is the parent specifically concerned about? For example, is their concern focused on the child's behaviour, the parent-child relationship or both? Are the parent's concerns grounded in the present or are they future-oriented? That is, do they need help with a specific problem now, or are they also concerned about the quality of their relationship with their child into the future?

Will the parent's needs be met by information alone e. What resources does the parent currently have to deal with the issues they are concerned about e. Do the parent's concerns relate just to themselves, or are there also problems at the couple and family levels? If the parent's concerns extend beyond the child and their behaviour, engage the parent in assessing which of these broader issues is the most pressing and explore with them the kinds of assistance that seem appropriate.

Take steps to reassure the parent that they are not alone in their experiences and that they are not a "bad" parent if their child displays challenging behaviours. What does the parent do well? What areas do they need support with? How does the parent feel about their parenting? What information and resources would be appropriate considering the parent's level of confidence in their parenting?

Are there obstacles to the parent engaging in emotion-focused parenting programs? For parents who might find emotion-focused programs confronting, how might you integrate various levels of emotion-focused strategies and techniques into existing services so that parents are introduced to the concepts gradually and are able to learn and adopt them at their own pace? Questions to consider What aspect of child development is the parent concerned about e.