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Parenting Functions. EDCP 665 Fall 2005. Theoretical Grounding. Most of the theories associated with parenting are embedded in family systems theories (e.g., structural family model, psychodynamic model, strategic family model)

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Parenting Functions

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parenting functions

Parenting Functions

EDCP 665

Fall 2005

theoretical grounding
Theoretical Grounding
  • Most of the theories associated with parenting are embedded in family systems theories (e.g., structural family model, psychodynamic model, strategic family model)
  • The core assumption is that parenting is an outcome-driven enterprise wherein the adult members of the family attempt to help children socialize to the broader societal expectations and develop in a manner that maximizes positive mental health.
parental outcomes
Parental Outcomes
  • Outcome 1: Promoting Positive Mental Health: parents want their children to be well-adjusted. No parent has ever said “I want my child to be depressed, miserable and suicidal.” Elements of parenting include:
    • Developing a positive self-concept
    • Achieving happiness
    • Developing negative mood regulation
    • Developing a tolerance for anxiety and uncertainty
    • Developing a tolerance for differences
parental outcomes1
Parental Outcomes
  • Outcome 2: Instilling Child Limits: parents help the child adjust his behavior to achieve harmonious coexistence with other people. No parents have stated that they want their child to be in prison when he/she grows up. Parenting elements:
    • Curbing violent tendencies
    • Balancing self-rights with the rights of others
    • Achieving social appropriateness
    • Developing contractual skills
    • Developing success promotion skills
parental functions child outcomes are achieved through 4 functions bross 1982
Parental Functions:Child Outcomes are Achieved Through 4 Functions (Bross, 1982)
  • Discipline
  • Guidance
  • Nurturance
  • Accessibility
discipline parental actions designed to increase a child s motivation to comply with limits
Discipline:parental actions designed to increase a child’s motivation to comply with limits
  • Discipline helps children internalize limits to their behavior. Such conformity is necessary for social adaptation. Children who fail to adhere to limits often become increasingly unmanageable. Two types of limits:
    • Safety: ensures that the child stays alive (not smoking, not doing drugs, playing in high traffic areas)
    • Success: focus on helping child succeed in life (politeness, responsibility, punctuality, morality)
    • Limits can be cultural-specific and based on how parents were parented.
strategies of discipline
Strategies of Discipline
  • Triangulation: enlisting another person’s assistance in shaping the child’s response
  • Inscription: using family rituals or engaging in the same behavior as other family members at a given time
  • Withdrawal of Love/Attention: ignoring, time-out, removing a possession, withdrawing privileges
  • Reinforcement: rewarding of appropriate behaviors
  • Power Assertion: spanking, physically removing child, restraining a child
  • Strategic Approaches: responding purposefully to the child; preempting problems by providing warnings, prescribing the inescapable, reframing behavior
  • Induction: using reasoning, clear expectations, fitting consequences to the behavior; parent uses reinforcement, strategic, and inscription strategies
guidance function helping children understand the need for limits
Guidance Function: helping children understand the need for limits
  • Guidance Function includes activities such as: helping with homework, processing social problems, verbally discussing limits and expectations with child
  • Five areas of guidance function:
    • Expanding the child’s perspective
    • Dealing with differences and tension (problem solving)
    • Developing personal boundaries
    • Developing social roles
    • Internalizing limits
nurturing function developing a child s sense of self worth
Nurturing Function:developing a child’s sense of self-worth
  • Four Types of Activity in Nurturing:
    • Physical contact between parent and child
    • Care-giving acts: feeding, grooming, health care, etc.
    • Verbalizations: things parents say about their children, and the manner of presentation of children
    • Support: supporting their children’s tasks without taking control over the tasks
access function availability and responsiveness of parents to their children
Access Function:Availability and Responsiveness of Parents to their Children
  • Two types of Access a Child Needs
    • Geographic Access: parents remain in sufficient proximity to monitor child well-being and respond to child’s needs. Doesn’t mean parent has to be present at all times but children know where parent is and parents know where children are!
    • Emotional Availability: parents’ openness to hearing what their child is trying to communicate. Emotional availability requires parents to listen carefully, understand the child as an individual, and avoid reacting or dismissing the child’s concerns.
support focused intervention
  • Works well with multi-problem and high risk families
  • Principles for Interventions
    • Maintain family focus
    • Maximize support and mutual aid
    • Avoid traditional interventions
maintaining family focus
Maintaining Family Focus
  • Counselor must consider not only the individual but also the adaptations of the family. Interventions may include:

Focus on listening to the parental story

Highlight behavior and interaction patterns

Restructure cognitive processes

Build and/or develop life skills

Coaching on alternate behavior

maximizing support and mutual aid
Maximizing Support and Mutual Aid
  • Children need support or supportive relationships
  • Parents need social support and help with mental health needs.
avoid traditional responses
Avoid Traditional Responses
  • Traditional Interventions: Clinical family work (therapy); psycho-educational groups; parent skills training
  • Non-Traditional Interventions: Group Work, In-Home Work, Community-Based Programming
group work
Group Work
  • Groups for children and parents in multi-problem homes are effective. Ideal group provides not only information but also time for informal sharing around practical issues
  • Common problems with groups: scheduling time, travel, childcare, language barriers, distrust of providers
tips for parent groups
Tips for Parent Groups
  • Consider the title, “Surviving Your Adolescent” rather than “Parent Skills Training.”
  • Avoid teaching and promoting complex concepts
  • Ensure materials are culturally sensitive
  • Build discussions from the issues that parents bring to group
  • Maximize support and mutual aid among the group members.
classroom assignment
Classroom assignment
  • You are contracted with child protective services to work with high risk families. These families are all living in a local housing project and have been identified by workers as possibly abusive and severe in their discipline. The past worker prepared a program that teaches parents about normal development of children and what can be expected at the different stages of child development. The program also instructs parents in positive ways to shape behavior at these different stages of development.
    • What do you see as the problems inherent in the program that is provided for you.
    • Before you meet with these parents, what will you arrange to make it easier for them to attend the group?
    • What kind of programming will you try to set up for these families?
    • When you approach the individual family members to invite them into the group, what will you say to them to entice them into joining as you introduce the group?
    • Write down what you will say to these parents as your opening statement.