Sharing and Caring (Lesson 17) (I Can Do All Things Character Building Collection)
How times have changed since our late 80s college days. They still festoon their dorm rooms with posters—the actual paper article, affixed to the walls with blue putty, a carefully curated collection of taste and aspiration. Freshman, already scrambling to find and loudly articulate an identity, can leave the poster sale with two or three plastic tubes housing scrolls that represent the very essence of their new, parent-free, on-campus selves. Posters become an affordable, demonstrable expression of who they are as a person — or, in the tradition of people eager to leave behind their hometown selves, who they want to be.
Legions of style blogs have decreed that these posters should be given the heave-ho along with the plastic milk crate shelving, come graduation. As the Poster House writes:. For a poster to succeed, it must communicate. By combining the power of images and words, posters speak to audiences quickly and persuasively. Blending design, advertising, and art, posters clearly reflect the place and time in which they were made. What did it say about American values and gender norms in that Bicentennial year? Why no posters of Betsy Ross? How does the official poster for Jurassic Park, above, compare to the hand-painted, presumably unauthorized image used to market it to audiences in Ghana?
Some posters have remarkable staying power, reappearing in a number of guises. Laughter is good medicine, but I've found little genuine humor in satire of the election and subsequent events. Political reality defies parody. But aside from whether or not the report has comic potential, the exercise raises a more serious question: Should ordinary citizens read the report?
Given the snowjob summary offered by the Attorney General—and certain press outfits who repeated claims that it exonerated the president—probably. Especially good luck if they can score an unredacted copy. Yet, this raises yet another question: Does anyone actually want to read it? The answer appears to be a resounding yes. Even though it's free, the [redacted] report is a bestseller. One wonders how many people dutifully downloading it have stayed up late by the light of their tablets compelled to read it all. But of course, one does not approach any government document with the hopes of being entertained, though unintentional hilarity can leap from the page at any time.
Bill Moyers serves as emcee. Can this darkly comic production deliver some comic balm for having lived through the sordid reality of the events in question? It has its moments. Can it offer us something resembling truth?
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You be the judge. Or you be the producer, director, actor, etcetera. If you find value—civic, entertainment, or otherwise—in the exercise, Schenkkan encourages you to put on your own version of The Investigation. Or the most grimly humorous, moronic, pathetic, and surreal parts of it, anyway. Huedepohl, via Wikimedia Commons. But its guitarist, despite the film's surface treatment of his character, is in his own way an equally implausible figure. Not only did he show musical promise early, forming his first group while still at school, he also got his A Levels in physics, mathematics, and applied mathematics, going on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Physics with honors at Imperial College London.
Naturally, May then went for his PhD, continuing at Imperial College where he studied the velocity of, and light reflected by, interplanetary dust in the Solar System. He began the program in , but "in , when Queen was but a princess in its infancy, May chose to abandon his doctorate studies to focus on the band in their quest to conquer the world.
The Education Authority EA can also help if you are struggling to make sure that your child goes to school. If your child is missing school without good reason, schools and the EA can use their legal powers to find out why. The EWS also works with other agencies e.
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Social Services to identify and deal with any complex needs that a family has. The EWS can apply to the courts to fine parents of children who aren't attending school regularly. An Education Supervision Order is usually granted if the only problem is a child's non-school attendance. In Northern Ireland children normally start school in the September of the school year after their fourth birthday.
If your child's birthday is between 2 July and 31 August, they don't start school until the following September. If your child turns 16 between 1 September and 1 July, they can leave school on 30 June of that year. If your child becomes 16 between 2 July and 31 August, they can't leave school until 30 June of the following year. If you think your child would need support to help them settle in at primary school, contact the school principal in the primary school that you want your child to attend. Share this page. Google Tag Manager.
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School attendance, absence and the law Going to school regularly is important for your child's future. Choosing a school Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they go regularly. Even in young children, physical activity is essential for proper energy balance and prevention of childhood obesity Institute of Medicine, ; Kohl and Hobbs, It also supports normal physical growth.
Parents may encourage activity in young children through play e. Children who spend more time outdoors may be more active e. For many parents living in high-crime neighborhoods, however, most of whom are racial and ethnic minorities, the importance of safety overrides the significance of physical activity. In some neighborhoods, safety issues and lack of access to parks and other places for safe recreation make it difficult for families to spend time outdoors, leading parents to keep their children at home Dias and Whitaker, ; Gable et al.
Although more of the research on screen time and sedentary behavior has focused on adolescents than on young children, several cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on younger children show an association between television viewing and overweight and inactivity Ariza et al.
An analysis of data on 8, children participating in a longitudinal cohort study showed that those who watched more television during kindergarten and first grade were significantly more likely to be clinically overweight by the spring semester of third grade Gable et al. Although television, computers, and other screen media often are used for educational purposes with young children, these findings suggest that balancing screen time with other activities may be one way parents can promote their children's overall health. As with diet, children's sedentary behavior can be influenced by parents' own behaviors.
For example, De Lepeleere and colleagues found an association between parents' screen time and that of their children ages in a cross-sectional study. Vaccination Parents protect their own and other children from potentially serious diseases by making sure they receive recommended vaccines. Among children born in a given year in the United States, childhood vaccination is estimated to prevent about 42, deaths and 20 million cases of disease Zhou et al. In , 82 percent of children ages months received combined-series vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis [DTP]; polio; measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR]; and Haemophilus influenzae type b [Hib] , up from 69 percent in Child Trends Databank, b.
Vaccination rates are lower among low-income children; 71 percent of children ages months living below the poverty level received the combined-series vaccines listed above in Child Trends Databank, b. Although much of the media coverage on this subject has focused on middle-income parents averse to having their children vaccinated, it is in fact poverty that is thought to account for much of the disparity in vaccination rates by race and ethnicity Hill et al. As discussed earlier in this chapter, parental practices around vaccination may be influenced by parents' knowledge and interpretation of information on and their attitudes about vaccination.
Preconception and prenatal care The steps women take with their health care providers before becoming pregnant can promote healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes for both mothers and babies. These include initiating certain supplements e. During pregnancy, receipt of recommended prenatal care can help parents reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and poor birth outcomes by promoting healthy behaviors e.
Prior to the birth of a child, health care providers also can educate parents on the importance of breastfeeding, infant injury and illness prevention, and other practices. Infants born to mothers who do not receive prenatal care or who do not receive it until late in their pregnancy are more likely than those born to mothers who receive such care early in pregnancy to be born premature and at a low birth weight and are more likely to die.
Since the s, there has been a decline in the number of women in the United States receiving late or no prenatal care, with the majority of pregnant women now receiving recommended prenatal care Child Trends Databank, a. Yet disparities among subgroups persist. The proportion of women receiving timely prenatal care increases with age: in , 25 percent of births to females under age 15 and 10 percent of births to females ages were to mothers receiving late or no prenatal care, compared with 7.
Women whose pregnancies are unintended also are less likely to receive timely prenatal care. Despite the importance of timely and quality prenatal care, moreover, many parents experience barriers to receiving such care, including poor access and rural residence, limited knowledge of its importance, and mental illness Heaman et al. Injury prevention Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, c and a leading cause of disability for both younger and older children in the United States.
In addition to motor vehicle-related injuries, children sustain unintentional injuries due, for example, to suffocation, falls, poisoning, and drowning in the home environment. About 1, children under age 9 in the United States die each year from injuries in the home Mack et al. Parents can protect their children from injury through various measures, such as ensuring proper use of automobile passenger restraints, insisting that children wear helmets while bike riding and playing sports, and creating a safe home environment e.
Yet the limited available research on parents' use of safety measures suggests there is room for improvement in some areas. For instance, appropriate use of child restraint systems is known to reduce the risk of child motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths Arbogast et al. Likewise, using data from a national survey conducted during , Dellinger and Kresnow show that less than one-half of children ages always wore bicycle helmets while riding, and 29 percent never did so.
More recent data on parents' home safety practices and on helmet usage among young children are lacking. Evidence that families' home safety practices affect child safety comes from intervention research. A large meta-analysis of randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials of home safety education interventions for families Kendrick et al. There was also some evidence for reduced injury rates among children. As discussed in Chapter 4 , helping parents reduce hazards in the home is a component of some home visiting programs. Parents also protect their children's safety by monitoring their whereabouts and activities to prevent them from both physical and psychological harm.
The type of supervision may vary based on a child's needs and age as well as parents' values and economic circumstances. For all young children, monitoring for the purposes of preventing exposure to hazards is an important practice. As children grow older, knowing their friends and where the children are when they are not at home or in school also becomes important.
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As noted previously, research suggests the importance of monitoring screen time to children's well-being. And monitoring of children's Internet usage may prevent them from being exposed to online predators Finkelhor et al. Fundamental to children's positive development is the opportunity to grow up in an environment that responds to their emotional needs Bretherton, and that enables them to develop skills needed to cope with basic anxieties, fears, and environmental challenges.
Parents' ability to foster a sense of belonging and self-worth in their children is vital to the children's early development. In much the same way, parents contribute to children's emerging social competence by teaching them skills—such as self-control, cooperation, and taking the perspective of others—that prepare them to develop and maintain positive relationships with peers and adults. Parents can promote the learning and acquisition of social skills by establishing strong relationships with their children.
The importance of early parent-child interactions for children's social competence is embedded in many theoretical frameworks, such as attachment Ainsworth and Bowlby, , family system theories Cox and Paley, , and ecocultural theories Weisner, Parents socialize their children to adopt culturally appropriate values and behaviors that enable them to be socially competent and act as members of a social group.
Research suggests that children who are socially competent are independent rather than suggestible, responsible rather than irresponsible, cooperative instead of resistive, purposeful rather than aimless, friendly rather than hostile, and self-controlled rather than impulsive Landy and Osofsky, In short, the socially competent child exhibits social skills e.
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Parents help children develop these social skills through parenting practices that include fostering and modeling positive relationships and providing enriching and stimulating experiences and opportunities for children to exercise these skills Landy and Osofsky, Parents also help their children acquire these skills by having them participate in routine activities e.
These activities are shared with and initiated by parents, siblings, and other kin; unfold within the home; and are structured by cultural and linguistic practices, expectations, and behaviors Rogoff, ; Weisner, In this context, young children interact with their mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents who teach them implicitly or explicitly to acquire appropriate social behaviors, adapt to expected norms, and learn linguistic conventions and cognitive skills Sameroff and Fiese, Another important aspect of parent-supported social development pertains to parents aiding their children in acquiring executive function skills needed to adapt to changing needs of the environment and regulate their impulses and responses to distressing situations Blair and Raver, ; Malin et al.
Evidence, primarily from correlational research, suggests that parents who help their children regulate the difficulty of tasks and who model mature performance during joint participation in activities are likely to have socially competent children Eisenberg et al. Parents also facilitate their children's development of friendships by engaging in positive social interaction with them and by creating opportunities for them to be social with peers McCollum and Ostrosky, In one correlational study, children whose parents initiated peer contacts had more playmates and more consistent play companions in their preschool peer networks Ladd et al.
Research also shows that children who have increased opportunities for playing or interacting with children from diverse backgrounds are likely to develop less prejudice and more empathy toward others Bernstein et al. Findings from experimental studies on parent training provide evidence of the types of parental practices that are associated with child emotional and behavioral health i.
In another randomized study, mothers who received parent training to improve their empathy toward their children became less permissive with their 2- to 3-year-olds, who became less aggressive Christopher et al. These relationships have been found to hold in experimental studies involving diverse samples. Brotman and colleagues found that a program designed to reduce parents' use of negative parenting and increase their provision of stimulation for child learning increased social competence with peers in young African American and Latino children who had a sibling who had been involved in the juvenile justice system.
In a European study, Berkovits and colleagues studied ethnically diverse parents participating in an abbreviated parent skills training delivered in pediatric primary care aimed at encouraging children's prosocial behavior. The findings show significant increases in effective parenting strategies and in parents' beliefs about personal controls, as well as declines in child behavior problems. Improvements in child behavior as a consequence of parent training have been found not only for programs emphasizing better and more consistent discipline and contingency management, but also for those providing training that led to parents' greater emotional support for their children McCarty et al.
In addition, Stormshak and colleagues found that punitive interactions between parents and children were associated with higher rates of child disruptive behavior problems, and that low levels of warm involvement were characteristic of parents of children who showed oppositional behaviors. Internalizing disorders in young children include depression withdrawal, persistent sadness and anxiety Tandon et al. Studies focusing exclusively on the causes of internalizing disorders in young children are relatively limited.
However, the results of the available studies lead to similar conclusions about the relationships among training, changes in parenting practices, and child internalizing problems. First, there is evidence that parental behaviors matter for child emotional functioning. Specifically, parents' sense of personal control and behaviors such as autonomy granting are inversely related to child anxiety in cross-sectional research McLeod et al.
Similarly, in another nonexperimental study, Duncombe and colleagues show that inconsistent discipline, parents' negative emotion, and mental health are related to child problems with emotion regulation. Second, there is evidence that parent training interventions can modify the parenting practices that matter. Third, some parent training interventions have positive effects on children's emotional functioning. In a review of randomized controlled studies of the effects of group-based parenting programs on behavioral and emotional adjustment, Barlow and colleagues found significant effects of the programs on parent-reported outcomes of children under age 4.
Herbert and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial of parent training and emotion socialization for hyperactive preschool children in which the target outcome was emotion regulation. Not only did the intervention group mothers report lower hyperactivity, inattention, and emotional lability in their children, but also changes in children's functioning were correlated with more positive and less negative parenting and with less verbosity, greater support, and use of emotion socialization practices on the part of mothers.
With respect to social competence, a number of studies point to a relationship with parenting practices and suggest that parent training may have an impact on both parenting practices related to and children's development of social competence. An experimental evaluation of the Incredible Years Program discussed further in Chapter 5 , for instance, found that parent training contributed to improved parenting practices, defined as lower negative parenting and increased parental stimulation for learning Brotman et al.
Gagnon and colleagues found that preschool children with a combination of reactive temperament and authoritarian parents demonstrated low social competence high levels of disruptive play and low levels of interactive play. In a community trial by Havighurst and colleagues , training focused on helping parents tune in to their own and their children's emotions resulted in significant improvement in the parents' emotion awareness and regulation, as well as the practice of emotion coping.
The intervention decreased emotionally dismissive beliefs and behaviors among parents, who also used emotion labels and discussed the causes and consequences of emotions with their children more often than was the case prior to the training. The program improved parental beliefs and relationships with their children, and these improvements were related to reductions in child behavior problems Havighurst et al. As explained in the National Research Council report How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School , individuals learn by actively encountering events, objects, actions, and concepts in their environments.
For an individual to become an expert in any particular knowledge or skill area, he or she must have substantial experience in that area which is usually guided Dweck and Leggett, ; National Research Council, Enriching and stimulating sets of experiences for children can help develop these skills. Evidence of the potential importance of parenting for language development is found across studies of parent talk.
This research offers compelling correlational evidence that providing children with labels e. In addition to the frequency of talking with children, research is beginning to show that the quality of language used by parents when interacting with their children may matter for children's vocabulary development. Studies using various types of designs have shown that children whose fathers are more educated and use complex and diverse language when interacting with them develop stronger vocabulary skills relative to other children Malin et al.
Similar findings are provided by experimental research on dialogic reading, in which adults engage children in discussion about the reading material rather than simply reading to them Mol et al. A meta-analytic review of 16 interventions by Mol and colleagues showed that, relative to reading as usual, dialogic reading interventions, especially use of expressive language, were more effective at increasing children's vocabulary. The effect was stronger for children ages and more modest for those ages and those at risk for language and literacy impairment Mol et al.
Frequency of shared book reading by mothers and fathers is linked to young children's acquisition of skills and knowledge that affect their later success in reading, writing, and other areas Baker, ; Duursma et al. Studies demonstrate that through shared book reading, young children learn, among other skills, to recognize letters and words and develop understanding that print is a visual representation of spoken language, develop phonological awareness the ability to manipulate the sounds of spoken language , begin to understand syntax and grammar, and learn concepts and story structures Duursma et al.
Shared literacy activities such as book reading also expose children to new words and words they may not encounter in spoken language, stimulating vocabulary development beyond what might be obtained through toy-play or other parent-child interactions Isbell et al. Regular book reading also may play a role in establishing routines for children and shaping wake and sleep patterns, as well as provide them with knowledge about relationships and coping that can be applied in the real world Duursma et al.
Children of low socioeconomic status and minority children frequently have smaller vocabularies relative to children of higher socioeconomic status and white children, and these differences increase over time Markman and Brooks-Gunn, The middle- and upper-class primarily white speech culture is associated with more and more varied language and more conversation, which contributes to bigger vocabularies and improved school readiness among children in these homes Hart and Risley, Relative to their middle- and upper-class, mainly white, counterparts, low-income and immigrant parents are less likely to report that they read to their children on a regular basis and to have books and other learning materials in the home Markman and Brooks-Gunn, Besides culture, this difference may be due to such factors as access to books including those in parents' first language , parents' own reading and literacy skills, and erratic work schedules which could interfere with regular shared book reading before children go to bed, for example.
As discussed in Chapter 4 , limited experimental research suggests that interventions designed to promote parents' provision of stimulating learning experiences support children's cognitive development, primarily on measures of language and literacy Chang et al. In one study, for example, interactions between high-risk parents and their children over developmentally stimulating, age-appropriate learning material e.
Early numeracy and math skills also are building blocks for young children's academic achievement Claessens and Engel, To instill early math skills in young children, parents sometimes employ such strategies as playing with blocks, puzzles, and legos; assisting with measuring ingredients for recipes; solving riddles and number games; and playing with fake money Benigno and Ellis, ; Hensen, Such experiences may facilitate children's math-related competencies, but compared with the research on strategies to foster children's language development, the evidence base on how parenting practices promote math skills in young children is small.
A growing literature identifies general aspects of home-based parental involvement in children's early learning—such as parents' expectations and goals for their children, parent-child communication, and support for learning—that appear to be associated with greater academic achievement, including in math Fan and Chen, ; Galindo and Sonnenschein, ; Ginsburg et al. More work is needed, however, to distill specific actions parents can take to promote math-related skills in their young children.
At the same time, as noted earlier, some parents appear to be reluctant to engage their children in math learning—some because they lack knowledge about early math and may engage in few math-related activities in the home relative to activities related to language, and some because they view math skills as less important than other skills for their children Blevins-Knabe et al. Given the demonstrated importance of early math skills for future academic achievement and the persistent gap in math knowledge related to socioeconomic status Galindo and Sonnenschein, , additional research is needed to elucidate how parents can and do promote young children's math skills and how they can better be supported in providing their children with these skills.
Finally, there is some evidence for differences across demographic groups in the United States with respect to parents' use of practices to promote children's cognitive development. Barbarin and Jean-Baptiste , for example, found that poor and African American parents employed dialogic practices less often than nonpoor and European American parents in a study that utilized in-home interviews and structured observations of parent-child interactions.
Broadly defined, contingent responsiveness denotes an adult's behavior that occurs immediately after and in response to a child's behavior and is related to the child's focus of attention Roth, Such communication exchanges between parents and their children are considered foundational for building healthy relationships between parents and children, as well as between parents Cabrera et al.
Within the multiple relationships and systems that surround parents and children, the quality of the relationship they share is vital for the well-being of both Bronfenbrenner and Morris, The science is clear on the importance of positive parent-child relationships for children. Emotionally responsive parenting, whereby parents respond in a timely and appropriate way to children's needs, is a major element of healthy relationships, and is correlated with positive developmental outcomes for children that include emotional security, social facility, symbolic competence, verbal ability, and intellectual achievement Ainsworth et al.
The majority of children who are loved and cared for from birth and develop healthy and reciprocally nurturing relationships with their caregivers grow up to be happy and well adjusted Armstrong and Morris, ; Bakermans-Kranenburg et al. Conversely, children who grow up in neglectful or abusive relationships with parents who are overly intrusive and controlling are at high risk for a variety of adverse health and behavioral outcomes Barber, ; Egeland et al.
The development of health-promoting relationships between parents and their children is rooted in evolutionary pressures that lead children to be born wired to interact with their social environment in ways that will ensure their survival and promote their eventual development Bowlby, Through reaching out, babbling, facial expressions, and gestures, very young children signal to caregivers when they are ready to engage with them.
Caregivers may respond by producing similar vocalizations and gestures to signal back to infants that they have heard and understood Masataka, Cabrera and colleagues found that children of fathers who react to their behavior in a sensitive way by following their cues, responding, and engaging them are more linguistically and socially competent relative to children of fathers who do not react in these ways Cabrera et al.
A consistent give and take with responsive caregivers provides the child with tailored experiences that are enriching and stimulating; forms an emotional connection between caregiver and child; builds on the child's interests and capacities; helps the child develop a sense of self; and stimulates the child's intellectual, social, physical, and emotional and behavioral growth Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, ; National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, This give and take is particularly important for language development. It is believed that through this process, the child learns that she or he is loved and will love others in return, and that she or he is accepted and cared for and will also eventually accept and care for others.
For infants, social expectations and a sense of self-efficacy in initiating social interactions are influenced by their early interactions with their caregivers. McQuaid and colleagues found that mothers' contingent smiles i. The adult's response to the child's overtures for interaction needs to be contingent on the child's behaviors. Infants' spontaneous vocalizations are characterized by pauses that enable caregivers to respond vocally.
Children who have experience with turn taking are able to vocalize back to the caregiver in a synchronized manner Masataka, Young children's social and emotional development is influenced by the degree to which primary caregivers engage them in this kind of growth-promoting interaction Cassidy, As described in Chapter 1 , securely attached infants develop basic trust in their caregivers and seek the caregiver's comfort and love when alarmed because they expect to receive protection and emotional support. In the face of the demands of daily life, with parents being unable to offer individualized responsiveness and synchronized, attuned interactions all of the time, sensitive caregiving makes it possible to manage and repair disruptions that inevitably occur in day-to-day parenting.
Some research indicates that lower-income families are at higher risk for not engaging in these types of interactions with their children Paterson, , but there is variability within and across economic and cultural groups Cabrera et al. In a study of mothers of premature infants, for example, American Indian mothers relative to African American mothers looked and gestured more with their infants based on observer ratings Brooks et al. Such differences may be related to variation in sociocultural norms or to other factors.
Parents who experience such stressors as low income, conflict with partners or other adults, depression, and household chaos face more challenges to engaging in emotionally responsive parenting because of the emotional toll these stressors can exact Conger and Donnellan, ; Markman and Brooks-Gunn, ; McLoyd, Building the capacities of all caregivers to form responsive and nurturing relationships with their children is crucial to promoting child well-being. As detailed in Chapters 4 and 5 , experimental studies largely confirm evidence from correlational studies showing that sensitive parenting and attachment security are related to children's social-emotional development Van Der Voort et al.
One international study found that an intervention focused on responsive stimulation could promote positive caregiving behaviors among impoverished families Yousafzai et al. Another study found that home visiting for parents of preterm infants that entailed promotion of more sensitive and responsive parenting skills modestly improved parent-infant interactions Goyal et al.
These and other interventions that successfully promote positive parent-child interactions, secure attachment, and healthy child development have been developed for parents of both infants Armstrong and Morris, and preschoolers Bagner and Eyberg, However, the success of preventive interventions in improving the quality of parent-infant attachment, a parent's relationship with her or his child, and the resulting child mental and physical outcomes depends upon the quality of the intervention Chaffin et al.
Although much of the literature has focused on non-Hispanic white and black families, and mainly on mothers, preventive interventions with successful maternal and child outcomes have also been developed for Hispanic and Asian families Ho et al. Observational research suggests that children's development is enhanced by parents' use of predictable and orderly routines.
Family routines, such as those related to feeding, sleeping, and learning, help structure children's environment and create order and stability that, in turn, help children develop self-regulatory skills by teaching them that events are predictable and there are rewards for waiting Evans et al. Conversely, an unpredictable environment may undermine children's confidence in their ability to influence their environment and predict consequences, which may in turn result in children's having difficulty with regulating their behavior according to situational needs Deater-Deckard et al.
Although family routines vary widely across time and populations, studies have associated such routines with children's developmental outcomes Fiese et al. It is particularly difficult, however, to infer causal effects of routines on child outcomes in correlational studies because of the many contextual factors e. Several literatures have developed around routines thought to promote particular developmental targets. For example, Mindell and colleagues describe results from a randomized controlled trial in which mothers instructed in a specific bedtime routine reported reductions in sleep problems for their infants and toddlers see also Staples et al.
De Castilho and colleagues found in a systematic review of randomized controlled trials consistent associations between children's oral health and elements of their family environment such as parents' toothbrushing habits. And in a nationally representative cross-sectional study, Anderson and Whitaker report strong associations between exposure to various household routines, such as eating meals as a family, obtaining adequate sleep, and limiting screen time, and risk for obesity in preschool-age children.
As discussed above, a growing body of literature also reports associations between more general aspects of children's healthy development, such as social competence, and the organization and predictability of a broader set of day-to-day experiences in the home see Evans and Wachs, In some cases, however, routines are difficult to establish because of demands on parents, such as the nonstandard work schedules some parents are forced to keep.
Reviewing the cross-sectional and longitudinal literature on nonstandard work schedules, for example, Li and colleagues found that 21 of the 23 studies reviewed reported associations between nonstandard work schedules and adverse child developmental outcomes. They found that while parents working nonstandard schedules, particularly those who work night or evening shifts, may be afforded more parent-child time during the day, such schedules can lead to fatigue and stress, with detrimental effects on the parent's physical and psychological capacity to provide quality parenting.
A few studies have found a relationship between measures of household instability and disorganization and risk of adverse cognitive, social, and behavioral outcomes in young children. In a longitudinal study, for example, Vernon-Feagans and colleagues found that a higher level of household disorganization in early childhood e. This finding held after taking into account a wide range of variables known to influence children's language development. Household instability e. In another longitudinal study, a questionnaire was used to assess household chaos based on whether parents had a regular morning routine, whether a television was usually on in the home, how calm the home atmosphere was, and the like when children were in kindergarten.
Parent-reported chaos accounted for variations in child IQ and conduct problems in first grade beyond other home environment predictors of these outcomes such as lower parental education and poorer home literacy environment Deater-Deckard et al. In other studies, children rating their homes as more chaotic have been found to earn lower grades Hanscombe et al.
Household chaos has strong negative associations with children's abilities to regulate attention and arousal Evans and Wachs, In the short term, this may be an adaptive solution to reduce overarousal. In the long term, however, it may also lessen children's exposure to important aspects of socialization and, in turn, negatively affect their cognitive and social-emotional development. Emerging evidence suggests that the relationship between household chaos and poorer child outcomes may involve other aspects of the home environment, such as maternal sensitivity.
In chaotic environments, for example, longitudinal research shows that parents' abilities to read, interpret, and respond to their children's needs accurately are compromised Vernon-Feagans et al.
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Furthermore, supportive and high-quality exchanges between caregivers and young children, thought to support young children's abilities to maintain and volitionally control their attention, are fewer and of lower quality in such environments Conway and Stifter, ; Vernon-Feagans et al. This association is likely to be of particular importance in infancy, when children lack the self-regulatory capacities to screen out irrelevant stimuli without adult support Conway and Stifter, ; Posner and Rothbart, Even ambient noise from the consistent din of a television playing in the background is associated with toddlers' having difficulty maintaining sustained attention during typical play—a building block for the volitional aspects of executive attentional control Blair et al.
Studies with older children and adults show that chronic exposure to noise is related to poorer attention during visual and auditory search tasks see Evans, ; Evans and Lepore, In addition, household chaos likely serves as a physiological stressor that undermines higher-order executive processes. Theoretical and empirical work indicates that direct physiological networks link the inner ear with the myelinated vagus of the 10th cranial nerve—a key regulator of parasympathetic stress response Porges, Very high or very low frequencies of auditory stimuli such as those present in ambient and unpredictable noise directly trigger vagal responses indicative of parasympathetic stress modulation Porges et al.
In the same way, novel unpredictable and uncontrollable experiences can activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal HPA 1 axis Dickerson and Kemeny, General levels of chaos play a role in children's autonomic nervous system and HPA axis functioning Blair et al. Highly chaotic environments also may affect children's language and early literacy development through similar mechanisms.
Overstimulation, which may overtax children's attentional and executive systems, may challenge young children's ability to encode, process, and interpret linguistic information Evans et al. The lack of order in such an environment also may impair children's emerging executive functioning abilities see Schoemaker et al.
Better executive functioning has been found in longitudinal research to be strongly associated with larger receptive vocabularies in early childhood Blair and Razza, ; Hughes and Ensor, , as well as with lower levels of externalizing behaviors Hughes and Ensor, Other longitudinal studies have found positive relationships between family routines and children's executive functioning skills during the preschool years e. Parental guidance or discipline is an essential component of parenting. When parents discipline their children, they are not simply punishing the children's bad behavior but aiming to support and nurture them for self-control, self-direction, and their ability to care for others Howard, Effective discipline is thought to require a strong parent-child bond; an approach for teaching and strengthening desired behaviors; and a strategy for decreasing or eliminating undesired or ineffective behaviors American Academy of Pediatrics, Effective discipline entails some of the parenting practices discussed earlier.
In children's earliest years, for example, discipline includes parents' use of routines that not only teach children about the behaviors in which people typically engage but also help them feel secure in their relationship with their parent because they can anticipate those daily activities. As infants become more mobile and begin to explore, parents need to create safe environments for them. Beginning in early childhood and continuing as children get older, positive child behavior may be facilitated through parents' clear communication of expectations, modeling of desired behaviors, and positive reinforcement for positive behaviors American Academy of Pediatrics, Over time, children internalize the attitudes and expectations of their caregivers and learn to self-regulate their behavior.
Parents' use of corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure is a controversial topic in the United States. Broadly defined as parents' intentional use of physical force e. Many researchers and professionals who work with children and families have argued against the use of physical punishment by parents as well as in schools American Psychological Association, ; Hendrix, Although illegal in several countries, in no U. The state laws are consistent with the views of many Americans who approve of the use of spanking, used by many parents as a disciplinary measure with their own children Child Trends Databank, a ; MacKenzie et al.
In a nationally representative survey of attitudes about spanking, 65 percent of women and 78 percent of men ages agreed that children sometimes need to be spanked Child Trends Databank, a. Among parents participating in the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, 57 percent of mothers and 40 percent of fathers reported spanking their children at age 3, and 52 percent of mothers and 33 percent of fathers reported doing so when their children were age 5 MacKenzie et al. Although physical punishment often results in immediate cessation of behavior that parents view as undesirable in young children, the longer-term consequences for child outcomes are mixed, with research showing a relationship with later behavioral problems.
In a systematic review of studies using randomized controlled, longitudinal, cross-sectional, and other design types, Larzelere and Kuhn found that, compared with other disciplinary strategies, physical punishment was either the primary means of discipline or was severe was associated with less favorable child outcomes. In particular, children who were spanked regularly were more likely than children who were not to be aggressive as children as well as during adulthood. More recent analyses of data from large longitudinal studies conducted in the United States show positive associations between corporal punishment and adverse cognitive and behavioral outcomes in children Berlin et al.
Using data from two cohorts of young children ages and in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Straus and Paschall found that children whose mothers reported at the beginning of the study that they used corporal punishment performed worse on measures of cognitive ability 4 years later relative to children whose mothers stated that they did not use corporal punishment. In the Early Head Start National Research and Evaluation Project, Berlin and colleagues found that spanking at age 1 predicted aggressive behavior problems at age 2 and lower developmental scores at age 3, but did not predict childhood aggression at age 3 or development at age 2.
The overall effects of spanking were not large. In the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, MacKenzie and colleagues found that children whose mothers spanked them at age 5 relative to those whose mothers did not had higher levels of externalizing behavior at age 9. High-frequency spanking by fathers when the children were age 5 was also associated with lower child-receptive vocabulary at age 9.
These studies controlled for a number of factors besides parents' use of physical punishment e. Some have proposed that the circumstances in which physical discipline takes place e. Using data from a large longitudinal survey, McLoyd and Smith found that spanking was associated with an increase in problem behaviors in African American, white, and Hispanic children when mothers exhibited low levels of emotional support but not when emotional support from mothers was high.
Time-out is a discipline strategy recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children who are toddlers or older American Academy of Pediatrics, , and along with redirection appears to be used increasingly by parents instead of more direct verbal or physical punishment Barkin et al.
Research on best practices for the use of time-out continues to emerge, generally pointing to relatively short time-outs that are shortened further if the child responds rapidly to the request to go into time-out and engages in appropriate behavior during time-out Donaldson et al. However, these studies are limited by very small sample sizes. States, seeking to shape briefer and more effective uses of the technique and to avoid prolonged seclusion, are just beginning to prescribe how time-out should be administered in schools Freeman and Sugai, Parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices are embedded in various ecologies that include family composition, social class, ethnicity, and culture, all of which are related to how parents treat their children and what they believe about their children as they grow, and all of which affect child outcomes.
Family systems theory offers a useful perspective from which to view parenting behavior, to understand what shapes it, and to explain its complex relation to child outcomes. As a system, the family operates according to an evolving set of implicit rules that establish routines, regulate behavior, legitimate emotional support and expression, provide for communication, establish an organized power structure or hierarchy, and provide for negotiating and problem solving so that family tasks can be carried out effectively Goldenberg and Goldenberg, Families as systems also create a climate or internal environment with features that shape parenting behavior and influence child outcomes.
Family climates can be characterized along various dimensions, such as cohesive-conflictual, supportive-dismissive, tightly or loosely controlled, orderly-chaotic, oriented toward academic achievement or not, expressive of positive or negative emotions, hierarchical-democratic, fostering autonomy versus dependence, promoting stereotypical gender roles or not, and fostering strong ethnic and cultural identity or not.
Roles are defined within the family system in ways that may influence parenting. Family members may operate with a division of labor based on their own personal resources, mental health, skills, and education, in which one member specializes in and is responsible for one set of functions, such as garnering economic resources needed by the family, and another takes responsibility for educating the children.
When these differences work well, family members complement and compensate for one another in ways that may soften the rough edges of one and make up for the inadequacies of another. As discussed in this chapter and throughout the report, children do best when they develop sustaining and supportive relationships with parents. Yet while attachment theory has been useful in understanding mainly how mothers form relationships with children, it has been less useful at guiding research with fathers Grossmann et al. As systems, however, families are interdependent with the broader world and thus are susceptible to influences and inputs from their environments.
Actions occurring in one system can result in reactions in another. For example, children who have not developed healthy relationships with their parents may have difficulty developing positive relationships with teachers. In short, family systems are influenced by the evolving cultural, political, economic, and geographic conditions in which they are embedded. Members of a cultural group share a common identity, heritage, and values, which also reflect the broad economic and political circumstances in which they live.