Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Parents ARE Important : Part 2

Here are some more quotes and ideas that continue to expand the "parents matter" debate:
(For Part 1 of this post, see the previous post)

Here is another important quote on the "against parents side":
“. . . Neither mothers nor fathers are essential to child development . . . children need at least one responsible, caretaking adult who has a positive emotional connection to them and with whom they have a consistent relationship.” (Silverstein & Auerbach, 1999).
But I also want to point out that research almost always has some sort of agenda...
“. . . science is always structured by values, both in the research questions that are generated and in the interpretation of data. . . . We acknowledge that our reading of the scientific literature supports our political agenda” (Silverstein & Auerbach, 1998).
Here is another one on the "for side":
“Contrary to criticisms of socialization research, the difficulty today is not that the evidence is inadequate to show parenting effects but that the evidence has revealed a reality that is far more complex than critics expected or that writers can convey in most popular media outlets.” (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington, and Bornstein, 2000)
And there are many studies that we could go out and find that show that parents have very real effects on their children, such as (this is not an exhaustive list):
  • Controlling for economics, fatherless homes still result in twice as much adolescent delinquency
  • Fathers’ playfulness and responsiveness is uniquely associated with positive social and emotional adjustment in children
  • Father presence is linked to less precocious sexual activity in daughters
  • Mothers’ reasoning is uniquely associated with better social adjustment in children
  • More warm and responsive parenting is linked to sociable child behavior with peers
  • Numerous intervention studies show that positive changes in parenting are associated with corresponding changes in how children behave inside and outside of the home
  • Peers matter, but a substantial amount of overlooked research shows how parents have direct influence on peer group selection and child interactions with peers
  • The quality of the parent-child relationship is associated with the type of peers children choose, which is, in turn, linked to more or less antisocial and delinquent behavior with peers
  • Genetics matter, but genetic predispositions do not automatically determine child behavior and only account for a small proportion of the variance in child behaviors
Also, we know that parents matter in these ways...
  • They teach morals and values
  • They proactively help children overcome less desirable inborn characteristics
  • They enhance positive inborn capabilities by providing reinforcement and opportunities for further development



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