Friday, September 4, 2009

Parenting and Parenting Education: Why Both Are So Important

A recent report from Partnership for America's Economic Success clearly shows why parents are so important in how children develop and turnout, as well as showing that parenting education is the best way to help parents to be as effective as possible.

Authored by Drs. Sharon M. McGroder and Allison Hyra, the report is called Developmental and Economic Effects of Parenting Programs for Expectant Parents and Parents of Preschool-age Children.

They indicate that an extensive literature, generated by researchers from a variety of scholarly disciplines, addresses the ways in which parents affect children.

Children are influenced by...

1. Who parents are (e.g., with respect to gender, age, race/ethnicity, intelligence, education levels, temperament),

2. What parents know (e.g., about child development and normative child behavior),

3. What parents believe (e.g., attitudes toward child rearing),

4. What parents value (e.g., education, achievement, obedience, interpersonal relationships),

5. What parents expect of their children (e.g., age- developmentally-appropriate expectations for behavior, achievement expectations), and

6. What parents ultimately do (e.g., their parenting practices and overall parenting "styles").

The authors further indicate that "decades of research describe the implications of these multiple dimensions of 'parenting' for their children's cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.

For example, a solid base of research suggests that parenting characterized by both warmth and firm discipline ('authoritative") predicts better self-control, self-reliance, and exploration in children; parenting characterized by coercive and harsh discipline and lacking in warmth ('authoritarian') is associated with distrust and withdrawn behavior in children; and parenting characterized as 'permissive' or 'uninvolved' (lax discipline and low warmth) or 'indulgent' (lax discipline but warm) predicts worse self-control, self-reliance, and exploration in children."

On the basis of these realities and findings, the authors affirm that efforts to assist more parents to be more effective and to learn the actions and attitudes of an authoritative style of parenting are well worth the effort. They then go on to document findings from numerous studies that show how beneficial parenting education has been for those parents who were enrolled in high quality parenting programs.

This report and its resounding confirmation for parenting education is further reason to support the the National Effective Parenting Plan that is being advocated by such groups as the the National Effective Parenting Initiative and the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring (see my August 18, 2009 post on Parenting and the President - Part One - The National Effective Parenting Plan).

The entire report by Drs. McGroder and Hyra can be obtained by clicking here.

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