This study sought to better understand how to support parents throughout children's development in order to ultimately promote positive long-term outcomes; in particular, positive adolescent development and reductions in risky behavior. A major task of the project was a literature review that examined what is known about parenting across the developmental stages of childhood and adolescence, how different parenting dimensions or behaviors relate to outcomes for adolescence, and what is known about the strategies and effectiveness of interventions to improve parenting practices.
There are parent behaviors and interactions that are important for healthy development from early childhood and these seem to hold across socioeconomic and ethnic groups, although it is increasingly clear that they are individualized and responsive to children's temperament and environmental threats. The basis for effective parenting across developmental stages is a warm and supportive relationship that lays the foundation on which mutual trust and acceptance can be built. Effective communication between parents and their children is important, as is consistent, positive (missing word here) that is developmentally-appropriate. Additional elements include monitoring the child's behavior and activities and involvement in joint activities. The guidance offered by this research for interventions with parents is less clear. In the absence of clear evidence of the superiority of one strategy over another, programs fall back on theoretical models and test a variety of strategies.
Report Title: State of the Science and Practice in Parenting Interventions Across Childhood
Agency Sponsor: OASPE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Lisa Trivits, 202-205-5750
Performer: Abt Associates
Record ID: 9530 (December 14, 2012)