Adaptive and maladaptive parenting: Perspectives on risk and protective factors

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DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511529320.005
Cite this publication
Abstract
Reviews adaptive and maladaptive parenting and discusses various factors that lead to positive outcomes, including effective social networks, social support, reciprocity in early relationships, and other circumstances that contribute to resilience. The authors also consider conditions that lead to negative outcomes, including substance abuse, exposure to violence, teen pregnancy, and parental psychopathology. In addition, they highlight a perspective on preventive intervention that focuses on programmatic directions that may protect a child and family and that can lead to more positive outcomes, even under conditions of significant adversity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
CHAPTER THRE
E
Adaptive and Maladaptive Parenting
:
Perspectives on Risk and Protective Factor
s
JOY D
.
OSOFSKY
AND M
. DEWANA
THOMPSO
N
Professionals who think about parenting often focu
s
on the many social ailments that burden families
,
including the effects of single parenting, the prob-
lem of teenage pregnancies, the increasing numbe
r
of children being raised in violent environments, th
e
negative effects of substance abuse, and the impac
t
of these factors on the psychological well-being o
f
children and families
. Less frequently, discussion
s
center around the adaptive aspects of parenting or
the conditions under which children raised wit
h
problematic or maladaptive parenting prove to b
e
resilient
.
In considering adaptive and maladaptive parent-
ing, it is important that the latter not be viewe
d
as a permanent state for families but be recognize
d
as a situation that can be altered, given improved
circumstances
. This leads to two critically impor-
tant questions
: 1) What circumstances foster adap-
tive parenting? and 2) Which circumstances lead t
o
resilience in situations of risk? We argue that par-
ents who have positive relationships with multipl
e
systems that provide organization and support i
n
their environments exhibit more adaptive parent-
ing styles than those who lack these significant re-
lationships. Positive relationships and communica-
tion between the parent and child, and between th
e
parents and members of their support network, hav
e
all been shown to be beneficial in fostering adaptiv
e
parenting
. Some parents, even when living unde
r
conditions of high psychosocial risk, who are abl
e
to maintain positive reciprocal relationships, ade-
quate support networks, and have the added benefi
t
of sharing parenting with someone else, can alte
r
their behaviors and engage in enhanced caregiving
.
54
The environmental circumstances in which familie
s
live, and the relationships that are nurtured withi
n
these environments, influence the behaviors and at-
titudes of parents
. Systems theorists support the no
-
tion that individuals can form mutually beneficia
l
relationships with their environments, which ca
n
in turn translate into positive or negative parentin
g
behaviors (Belsky, 1984
; Bronfenbrenner, 1989)
.
ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON PARENTIN
G
Parenting is largely defined by the environments i
n
which families live
. Although the microsystem en
-
compasses the most basic and direct level of interac
-
tion within the environment, indirect relationship
s
between the parent and distal factors are significan
t
as well
. Parenting, therefore, can be understood no
t
only in terms of the dyadic relationship between th
e
parent and child but also in a broader context
. A
s
described by Bronfenbrenner (1989), parent—chil
d
interactions exist within the context of multipl
e
relationships and milieus
. It is essential to under
-
stand that an individual
'
s environment can encom-
pass significant influential factors and relationship
s
that affect overall development and that families ar
e
involved in reciprocal and mutually beneficial rela-
tionships with their environments
. In these relation
-
ships, the influence is transactional
. Parents bot
h
influence and are affected by their environments
.
The manner in which an individual parents his o
r
her children, therefore, is largely a result of the pat
-
terns that are evident in the existing systems an
d
the overall environment in which that person re
-
sides (Bronfenbrenner, 1989)
.
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
5 5
Socioeconomic factors, culture, the psycholog-
ical well-being of the parent, child characteris-
tics, and community climates are all factors tha
t
may influence patterns of behaviors (Belsky, 1984)
.
Bronfenbrenner (1989) warned against solely con-
sidering demographic characteristics, or such per-
sonal attributes as IQ levels, when examining de-
terminants of parenting
. He believes that there is
a
need to examine jointly the characteristics of th
e
environment and those of the individual
. Usin
g
a person/context model allows for such an exam-
ination of parents' personal characteristics in th
e
context of various ecological niches
. Bronfenbren-
ner (1989) raised a question about which ecologica
l
niches are favorable for psychological growth
. W
e
also ask, which ecological niches or environmenta
l
conditions are favorable for adaptive parenting? Sev
-
eral factors have consistently been found to foste
r
adaptive parenting environments
. In this chapter
,
we focus on the importance of reciprocity, the ex-
istence of social networks in the parents' lives, an
d
the significant role of the father
.
In the first edition of the
Handbook of Early Child
-
hood Intervention,
Beckwith (1990) highlighted th
e
parent-infant relationship and the many microleve
l
influences on parenting
. In this edition, we focus o
n
more meso-, exo-, and macrolevel influences
. Fro
m
this perspective, the discussion moves from influ-
ences on adaptive parenting to considerations of re
-
silience and protective factors in situations of risk
.
Lynch and Cicchetti (1998) have proposed that, i
n
situations of risk, compensatory factors that are en
-
during and proximal (as contrasted to transient an
d
distal) can serve as buffers in the parenting process
.
The existence of these factors appears to have th
e
longest and most profound influence on children'
s
overall development. Therefore, an essential compo
-
nent of this discussion is the recognition that uniqu
e
circumstances within their environment may allo
w
parents who are at risk for maladaptive parenting t
o
develop and facilitate positive and healthy relation
-
ships with their children
.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ADAPTIVE PARENTIN
G
Importance of Reciprocit
y
Reciprocity, involving shared or complementar
y
affects and experiences, is extremely important for
the developing infant and his or her relationships
.
Winnicott (1965) proposed that there is no suc
h
thing as a baby. By this he meant that, psycho
-
logically, there is only a baby with a mother
. In
fact, there is no such thing as a parent without
a
child
. Thus, the reciprocal, complementary relation
-
ship goes both ways
. Winnicott (1953) character-
ized the commitment of parent to child in term
s
of primary maternal preoccupation
. As such, the be
-
haviors, needs, moods, intentions, and place of th
e
infant should fill the parents' minds and help mo-
tivate them to respond appropriately to the child
.
Clinicians have long viewed affect as a crucial par
t
of both understanding and facilitating the relation
-
ship that is so important for effective clinical work
.
In infancy, emotions play a particularly meaningfu
l
role in the evolving relationship between the paren
t
and the child as they are a primary means of commu
-
nication for both the infant and caregiver
. Emotion
s
in the caregiver-infant relationship are the basis fo
r
building important aspects of reciprocity
. Attempt
s
by parents to regulate their emotions are importan
t
for understanding parental effectiveness on both
a
theoretical and a practical basis (Dix, 1991)
.
Reciprocity, or building mutually satisfying rela-
tionships between the developing infant or youn
g
child and parent, influences both behavioral an
d
affective development
. Historically, the notion o
f
affective reciprocity has been key for understand-
ing the development of the early relationship
. Som
e
of the pioneer observers in this area presented an
extreme and grim picture that may be useful i
n
considering factors that are important for adap-
tive parenting
. For example, data gathered by Spit
z
(1945, 1946), through his clinical observations of in
-
fants separated from their mothers in institutions
,
suggested that a predominance of negative affect
,
and, in severe cases, anaclitic depression (behavio
r
marked by crying, withdrawal, and a frozen rigid-
ity of expression and affect), may accompany dis-
ruptions in the early parent-infant relationship
. I
n
a similar way, Bowlby (1973, 1980) emphasized th
e
importance of early separation and loss as poten-
tially disruptive for the development of the parent
-
child relationship
. In addition to traumatic events
,
children may also experience rejecting or overly frus
-
trating events in their families, such as abuse or ne
-
glect, both of which can lead to disruptions in th
e
development of reciprocity
. Both the anaclitically
56
JOY D
. OSOFSKY AND M
. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
depressed infants described by Spitz, and the chil-
dren who have warded off painful affects accordin
g
to Bowlby's theory, experience significant problem
s
in achieving affective reciprocity that is importan
t
for positive psychosocial development
. In a simi-
lar way, Erikson (1950) described the infant's nee
d
to develop basic trust
. These ideas are closely re-
lated to the sensitive work of Fraiberg and colleague
s
(Fraiberg, Adelson, & Shapiro, 1975), which deal
t
with disturbed mothers' neurotic patterns of rep-
etitions that occurred as they attempted to paren
t
their infants
. Fraiberg et al
. termed these repetition
s
and maladaptive patterns "ghosts in the nursery" be
-
cause of their tendency to be repeated generatio
n
after generation if no reparative work is done
.
Several researchers and clinicians have added t
o
our understanding of reciprocity through a combi-
nation of empirical work with infants and familie
s
and the development of new theoretical perspec-
tives
. Stern (1985), in his classic book,
The Inter
-
personal World of the Infant,
discussed how an infan
t
forms a predictable and dependable representatio
n
of a parent—infant relationship
. Infants use this par
-
ent representation to monitor their own behavior i
n
relationship to their parent
. As the infant develop
s
more affective and intellectual capacities, it is possi-
ble to observe a matching of mental states betwee
n
the infant and the parent as well as both parties' abil
-
ities to share feelings
. Stern coined a now much-use
d
phrase, "affect attunement," to describe this occur-
rence, meaning the ability of parents to be resonan
t
with their infants by sharing affectual states
. Th
e
ability to share emotions is extremely important fo
r
affective development because it is through the shar
-
ing of emotions with the infant that a feeling stat
e
is understood
. If the parent is unable to share the in
-
fant's affective states, then one will observe a lack o
f
reciprocity in the relationship
. This will be describe
d
later as part of the risk situations that contribute t
o
maladaptive parenting. In Stern's (1990) book
Th
e
Diary of a Baby,
the concepts of reciprocity and af-
fect attunement are woven throughout his sensitiv
e
descriptions and observations of the development o
f
the earliest relationship
.
Another type of reciprocity, "emotional availabil-
ity," focuses on the parent's accessibility and capac-
ity for reading the emotional cues and meeting th
e
emotional needs of the infant
. Emde (1980) sug-
gested that emotional availability may be one of the
keenest barometers of how development proceed
s
in early childhood
. Under optimal circumstances
,
one would expect to view a range of emotions
,
with a balance of the positive emotions of inter-
est and pleasure between infant and parent
. Emo-
tional availability has been illustrated empirically i
n
interesting research on a form of emotional referenc
-
ing characterized as social referencing (Sorce, Emde
,
Campos, & Klinnert, 1985)
. In these experiments, a
n
infant encounters a situation of uncertainty
. Whe
n
through normal exploration he or she looks to th
e
mother for help in dealing with the uncertainty
,
the mother signals either fear/anger or joy/interest
.
When presented with the positive signal, the infan
t
approaches and explores; in response to the negativ
e
signal, the infant avoids the new situation
. Thus
,
the mother's facial expression or verbal signal sig-
nificantly affects both the infant's affective respons
e
and his or her behavior
. Social referencing illustrate
s
a general developmental process that a person use
s
to gain information from a significant other abou
t
an uncertain or ambiguous situation
. Clearly, emo-
tional availability is important not only for the de-
velopment of basic trust but also for the facilitatio
n
of positive exploration and for the development o
f
competent behaviors
. This response from a paren
t
or significant caregiver plays a key role in the in-
fant's development of a positive internalized sens
e
of self
. Empirical work on affect exchanges (Osofsky
,
1993) provides similar examples of the importanc
e
not only of affective mirroring but also of sensitivit
y
to the other's cues and feelings
. Positive affect shar-
ing is an early sensitive indicator that all is goin
g
well with development and with the relationship
.
This emotional differentiation in the developmen
t
of children in high-risk groups is one that we re
-
turn to in the maladaptive parenting sections of thi
s
chapter
.
The Role of Father
s
The parenting literature often focuses on th
e
mother—child dyad, suggesting implicitly that thi
s
dyadic relationship is the most significant in a child'
s
life
. Less frequent is the inclusion of fathers i
n
the discussion of parenting
. However, the dynam-
ics of the father—child relationship are unique i
n
their own regard and significant in a child's over
-
all development. Thus, the distinct contributions of
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
5 7
fathers should not be omitted in considering adap-
tive parenting
.
Whether in single or married households, th
e
presence of the father in the lives of both the mothe
r
and the child is clearly evident
. Although there ha
s
been an increase in the number of children bein
g
raised by single mothers, a large proportion of child-
ren are also parented by their fathers
. Moreover,
a
significant number of children raised primarily b
y
their mothers have positive and healthy relation
-
ships with their fathers
. Still another facet of father
-
hood is the paternal role that many men choose t
o
undertake, despite the fact that they are not the bio-
logical father
. These relationships are often assume
d
by surrogate fathers who have consanguineal tie
s
to the child (grandfathers, uncles, cousins) or sig-
nificant others in the lives of mothers (boyfriend
s
or friends) who make a personal commitment t
o
serve in the fathering role
. These relationships ar
e
less clearly defined and much harder to quantify
,
but they exist and must be recognized as significan
t
and influential
. We discuss briefly the significant rol
e
of fathers in the adaptive parenting relationship i
n
married and in single-headed family systems
.
The father's unique role in parenting has bee
n
clearly defined as beneficial in the lives of children
.
Supporting the earliest relationship between fathe
r
and infant fosters strong ties for the later father
child relationship (Horn, in press
; Parke, 1995)
. Re-
gardless of the status of the relationship between th
e
mother and the father, the relationship between th
e
father and child and the influences that coparentin
g
can have on a child's development are clear
. Lamb
,
Hopps, and Elster (1987) outlined three ways i
n
which fathers are involved in the parenting role
. Th
e
first is the
interactive
component in which the fathe
r
shares in specific activities and child-care routines
.
The second, the
availability
component, refers to th
e
father's level of direct or indirect accessibility to th
e
child
. Third, the
responsibility
component refers t
o
the fathers' acquisition of the provider role in whic
h
he ensures that the child's primary needs are met an
d
that the necessary resources are available to him o
r
her
. Others have contended that there are additiona
l
ways in which father's levels of involvement are de-
lineated
. Involvement, for example, can be define
d
in terms of activities in which fathers participat
e
with their children
. These include play, leisure time
,
and child-care activities (Radin, 1993)
. The benefits
of these varied levels of paternal involvement wit
h
children have been well documented in the litera-
ture (Collins & Russell, 1991
; Crockett, Eggebeen,
&
Hawkins, 1993
; Horn, in press
; Grossman, Pollack,
&
Golding, 1988
; Lamb, 1987
; Lamb, Hopps, & Elste
r
1987
; Lamb, Plecke, & Levine, 1985
; Parke, 1981
,
1995)
.
In terms of the types of interactions that take plac
e
between fathers and their children, fathers generall
y
tend to be less involved in caregiving interaction
s
than are mothers
. Several studies have shown tha
t
fathers are more likely to be engaged in interaction
s
that evolve around play with their infants (Clarke
-
Stewart, 1980
; Palm, 1997
; Power & Parke, 1982
;
Yogman, 1983)
. These playful interactions — whic
h
include physical play, movement games, bouncing
,
and generally stimulating play — have been linke
d
to higher levels of infant arousal (Clarke-Stewart
,
1980
; Power & Parke, 1982
; Yogman, 1983)
. Father
s
also have been found to promote assertiveness i
n
their children and to participate in structured phys
-
ical activities such as scouting and Little Leagu
e
(Palm, 1997)
. Mothers more often focus on socio-
emotional stimulation in their play with infant
s
(e
.g
., playing peekaboo)
. For single noncustodial fa-
thers, the amount of involvement in their children'
s
lives proves to be just as important as in coparent-
ing situations and more frequent than most woul
d
expect
. Lerman (1993) found that almost half of th
e
600 young unwed fathers who were included in hi
s
study reported having at least weekly contact wit
h
their infants
. Involvement, however, appears to de
-
cline as the infant becomes older
.
Fathers' competence to provide nurturing an
d
stimulating interactions with their children ha
s
been studied by many investigators
. Fathers appea
r
to be responsive and sensitive to their infants' need
s
and to continue to be able to manage and supervis
e
their children's behaviors throughout their devel-
opment (Parke, 1995
; Russell & Russell, 1987)
. Th
e
presence of a male figure in the home has also bee
n
linked to more secure attachment in lower-incom
e
families (McLoyd, 1995)
. This reciprocal and mu-
tually beneficial relationship between fathers an
d
children is a key component found in families i
n
which children tend to be healthy, successful, an
d
competent and who have a secure sense of self
. Th
e
added component of paternal influence providin
g
the opportunity for children to interact and
:form
58
JOY D
. OSOFSKY AND M. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
an affective bond with both parents fosters adaptiv
e
parenting environments that aid in the promotio
n
of healthy child development
. Regardless of the dy-
namics between the mother and father, the added
effort from other systems in children's lives is es-
sential for ensuring that fathers are welcomed an
d
not excluded from the parenting experiences of thei
r
children
.
The Problem of Categorizin
g
Single-Headed Families as "At Risk
"
Weinraub and Gringlas (1995) suggested that chil
-
dren raised in single parent families are increasingl
y
considered at risk. This status, however, is often de-
termined by the social conditions faced frequentl
y
by single parents and not the demographic cate-
gory of single parenthood itself
. Single parents ar
e
more often women and, therefore, are paid lowe
r
wages than their male counterparts
. They often fac
e
problems finding suitable employment and are mor
e
likely to live in deteriorated and violent communi-
ties with diminished access to community resources
.
An additional consequence is the lack of adequat
e
educational opportunities that are available to thei
r
children
. These combined factors place children liv-
ing in these ecological niches at risk
. A distinctio
n
exists, however, within the realm of single parent
-
hood
. At one end of the continuum are those par-
ents who are unable to negotiate their environment
s
or protect their children from being affected nega-
tively
. At the other end are those parents who ar
e
able to meet the challenges that their environment
s
pose and who foster positive and healthy socializin
g
contexts for their children
. Thus, many single par-
ents successfully meet and master significant chal-
lenges on a daily basis, despite adverse life circum-
stances, with adaptive parenting therefore the result
.
This is often accomplished with the help of addi-
tional members of their social systems, the adde
d
support of paternal involvement, the benefits o
f
healthy reciprocal relationships with their children
,
and the utilization of religious and spiritual ties
.
Bronfenbrenner (1989) warned that theorist
s
should be careful not to use social addresses or de-
mography in isolation to characterize individual be-
havior patterns
. Alternatively, cumulative ecological
effects should be examined
. Because we recogniz
e
the challenges facing many single-headed families in
America, and the consequences of such life circum-
stances, we choose not to define single parenthoo
d
itself as a risk factor
. Instead, we address some o
f
the social conditions affecting many families acros
s
demographic lines that can lead to maladaptive par-
enting
. From this perspective, we address why som
e
groups are disproportionately at risk and how re-
silience is often found in families who are challenge
d
by adverse social conditions
.
Social Networks and the Role o
f
Supportive Relationships i
n
Adaptive Parentin
g
Social networks have a significant influence o
n
the lives of parents (Cochran & Niego, 1995)
. Per-
sonal social networks are defined as "those peopl
e
outside the household who engage in activities an
d
exchanges of an affective and/or material natur
e
with members of the immediate family" (Cochra
n
& Niego, 1995, p
. 396)
. In examining the influenc
e
of social networks on adaptive parenting, it is impor
-
tant to distinguish between this concept and that o
f
social support
. Social support can be described i
n
terms of the instrumental, informational, or emo-
tional help provided by members of one's socia
l
network (Crockenberg, 1987)
. Members of a socia
l
network may offer support to a parent by takin
g
on child care responsibilities, giving child care ad
-
vice, or simply offering encouragement
. However
,
some researchers argue that social networks shoul
d
not merely be defined in terms of their supportiv
e
or nonsupportive roles or functions in the lives o
f
parents (Cochran, 1993
; Cochran & Brassard, 1979)
.
This dichotomy ignores the additional positive an
d
negative roles that members of a social network ca
n
fulfill
. A much broader view of the role of social net
-
works may include the previously mentioned mode
s
of assistance, in addition to offering material as-
sistance and serving as role models for both par-
ents and children
. However, members of a socia
l
network are not always supportive
. When conflic
t
arises among members, or when there is an overloa
d
of information and interaction, networks can con
-
tribute to stressful home environments for parent
s
(Cochran & Niego, 1995)
. Nevertheless, the support-
ive role that network members serve often outweigh
s
the stress that they may impose on a parent
. Thus
,
social support is more appropriately defined as one
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
5 9
of many functions served by the individuals in one'
s
social network
.
The role that social networks play in the lives o
f
parents has been measured in four primary ways
.
The composition, density, and size of the overal
l
network, as well as the number of interactions tha
t
take place between the individual and the networ
k
are all factors that influence the impact of a so-
cial network on a family system (Burchinal, Follmer
,
& Bryant, 1996)
. The network composition refer
s
to the categories into which each member falls
.
This can include a spouse, family members, mem-
bers of the community, friends, or professional ac-
quaintances
. The network density is measured by th
e
interrelationships among individuals
. This can be as
-
sessed, for example, by examining the relationshi
p
between the spouse and the grandparent (Burchi-
nal, Follmer, & Bryant, 1996)
. MacPhee, Fritz, an
d
Miller-Heyl (1996) found that the network size wa
s
far less important than whether the network mem-
bers met the parents' needs
. Therefore, on an indi-
vidual level, the specific characteristics of member
s
of the network, the number of social exchanges tha
t
take place between the individual and a particula
r
member, and the perceived intensity of these rela-
tionships are all factors that may make greater con-
tributions to parenting than the actual size of th
e
network
. The synergistic effect that both these struc-
tural and functional components of a social net
-
work have on the parent-child dyad ultimately fos-
ters adaptive parenting environments
.
The presence of social networks that are extensiv
e
and supportive has been linked to adaptive parent-
ing in many ways (Burchinal, Follmer, & Bryant
,
1996
; Cochran & Niego, 1995)
. Supportive socia
l
networks have been found to reduce stress by serv-
ing as a buffer against threatening events, influenc-
ing the coping strategies of parents, and providin
g
emotional support (Crockenberg, 1987)
. The pres-
ence of supportive environments improves parents
'
general dispositions, assists them in feeling less over
-
whelmed by parenting tasks, and allows them t
o
have additional tangible and intangible resource
s
from which to draw information (Crnic & Green
-
berg, 1987
; McLoyd, 1995)
. Two of the most signif-
icant types of information provided by members o
f
social networks include child-rearing advice and in
-
formation regarding community resources
. Tangibl
e
sources of support include child care assistance and
financial support (Cochran & Niego, 1995)
. Rile
y
(1990) found that fathers relied on the child-rearin
g
advice of several significant members of their socia
l
network
. These networks appear to guide parents i
n
positive directions and offer additional resource in
-
formation regarding their children
.
Parents who have supportive social network
s
available to them have also been shown to be bet
-
ter equipped with resources that buffer stressfu
l
life events (Cochran, Lerner, Riley, Gunnarsson,
&
Henderson 1990
; Voight, Hans, & Bernstein, 1996)
.
Hanshaw and Frazier-Thompson (1996) found tha
t
fathers who were raising children with disabilitie
s
were better able to cope and accept their children'
s
disability when they had supportive family network
s
available to them
. Despite additional hardships tha
t
parents may face, punitive, harsh, and controllin
g
parenting styles are less likely to be found in fami-
lies in which there is a supportive and extensive net
-
work (Hashima & Amato, 1994
; Jennings, Stagg,
&
Connors, 1991)
. This finding has been demonstrate
d
across both racial and economic lines, in which indi-
viduals are able to use their social network as a sourc
e
of strength
. In family situations in which there ar
e
stressors, but also the existence of a strong network
,
there tends to be a lower incidence of child abus
e
and violence (Crockenberg, 1987) and, for teenag
e
mothers in particular, higher levels of psychologica
l
well-being (Thompson & Peebles-Wilkins, 1992)
. I
n
contrast, the absence of such systems can lead to so
-
cial isolation and conditions that foster maladaptiv
e
parenting
. Researchers have found that abusive par-
ents, when compared with nonabusive parents, ar
e
more likely to be isolated from both formal and in
-
formal support networks, tend to be newer to thei
r
neighborhoods, and are less likely to have a relativ
e
living in close proximity (McLoyd, 1995)
. Abusiv
e
parents also report having less access to informa
l
support and not being satisfied with the social net
-
works available to them (MacPhee, Fritz, & Miller
-
Heyl, 1996)
.
Supportive social networks are related positively t
o
adaptive parenting behaviors
. More specifically, par-
ents who have supportive networks available ten
d
to have more nurturant styles of parenting, dis-
play more positive affect and responsiveness wit
h
their infants, and foster more stimulating hom
e
environments (Burchinal, Follmer, & Bryant, 1996
;
Crnic, Greenberg, & Slough, 1986
; MacPhee, Firitz,
60
JOY D
. OSOFSKY AND M. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
& Miller-Heyl, 1996)
. Such parents are more sensi-
tive to their children's needs and exhibit less co-
ercive modes of discipline than those who do no
t
have access to such systems (McLoyd, 1995)
. Th
e
presence of supportive social networks has been re-
lated to less punitive and more responsive behav-
iors in teenage mothers (Nitz, Ketterlinus, & Brandt
,
1995)
. In Crockenberg's (1987) study, poor adoles-
cent mothers who had access to more family mem-
bers who helped with child care and who too
k
on household responsibilities were more responsiv
e
to their infants and showed higher levels of sen-
sitivity to them as compared with those who ha
d
less support
. Adolescent mothers frequently iden-
tify grandmothers as the primary members of thei
r
social networks on whom they depend the most
,
particularly for child care assistance (Hunter, 1997
;
Nitz, Ketterlinus, & Brandt, 1995
; Wilson & Tolson
,
1990)
. Grandparents play a significant role in th
e
lives of parents as well as children
. The presence o
f
grandmothers in the home of single African Amer-
ican mothers is related positively to higher level
s
of emotional adjustment in their children (McLoyd
,
1995
; Wilson & Tolson, 1990)
. Children generall
y
benefit from the existence of familial support
. Hig
h
levels of support in families have been related t
o
greater levels of social interaction in children, highe
r
levels of academic achievement, and overall en-
hanced social and emotional well-being (Gonzales
,
Cauce, Friedman, & Mason, 1996
; Homel, Burns,
&
Goodnow, 1987
; Taylor, 1997
; Tietjen, 1985)
. In con
-
trast, lower levels of social support are related to inse
-
cure attachment in infants, including both resistan
t
and avoidant behaviors (Crockenberg, 1981)
. Al
-
though the individual characteristics children brin
g
to the parent—child relationship may contribute t
o
these outcomes, supportive environments generall
y
enhance the likelihood of these positive outcomes
.
Contextual influences are key factors to conside
r
when examining social networks
. For poor and un-
educated parents, personal social networks are ofte
n
determined by those individuals to whom they hav
e
access in their immediate environment
. Because o
f
a limited pool of resources, these parents may hav
e
access to fewer social network members (Cochran
,
1993)
. For example, parents with less educatio
n
may not be as socially active as parents with highe
r
educational attainment
. The former may have fewe
r
social ties, whereas more educated parents may have
relationships that extend into various geographi
c
areas and are able to incorporate a wider range o
f
network members
. Parents' ethnicity has also bee
n
shown to influence their network membership
.
Ethnic groups that rely on a collectivist orientation
,
such as Hispanics and Native Americans, have bee
n
found to depend more heavily on close famil
y
members and fictive kin for emotional suppor
t
(MacPhee, Fritz, & Miller-Heyl, 1996)
. Africa
n
Americans also tend to rely heavily on extende
d
support networks (Hunter, 1997
; Kohn & Wilson
,
1995
; McAdoo, 1988
; Taylor, Chatters, Tucker,
&
Lewis, 1990)
. Cross (1990) reported that Africa
n
Americans often have larger social networks tha
t
they utilize more frequently than do Europea
n
Americans
. It is essential to take such contextua
l
influences into consideration when examining th
e
factors that influence parenting
.
By and large, supportive networks benefit par-
enting skills in three ways
. First, parents are abl
e
to gain additional information about developmen-
tally appropriate methods of parenting (Bronfen-
brenner & Crouter, 1983)
. Second, support network
s
often offer tangible resources in terms of child car
e
or financial assistance when needed (Cochran
&
Niego, 1995). Finally, networks often serve as buffer
s
against maladaptive parenting and stressful life sit-
uations (Voight, Hans, & Bernstein, 1996)
. Thes
e
modes of assistance often translate into adaptive par
-
enting environments that contribute to positive out
-
comes in infants and children
.
RISK FACTORS FOR MALADAPTATIO
N
IN PARENTIN
G
Both biological and environmental factors can lea
d
to risk for maladaptive parenting
. In this section w
e
review four selected areas in which there is muc
h
current interest, including substance abuse, violenc
e
exposure, adolescent parenting, and parental psy-
chopathology
.
Substance Abus
e
The role that substance abuse plays in the live
s
of parents and their children has been examine
d
in a number of ways, including its effects on in-
fants, parents, and the parent—infant relationship
.
To understand the overall effect on parenting, it is
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
6 1
necessary to recognize the complexity of each o
f
these factors
.
Much is known about the detrimental effects o
f
cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, heroin, and other drug
s
on a child when they are introduced early in life
.
Prenatally, the use of drugs and alcohol may re-
sult in birth defects, growth retardation, and de-
velopmental problems in infancy, including lowe
r
levels of information processing, attentional distur-
bances, and decreased interactions (Das Eiden
&
Leonard, 1996
; Jacobson, Jacobson, Sokol, Martier
,
& Ager, 1993
; Lester & Tronick, 1994
; Margura
&
Laudet, 1996
; Mayes, 1995
; Mayes & Bornstein
,
1996
; Mayes, Feldman, Granger, Haynes, Bornstein
,
& Schottenfeld, 1997
; Mejta & Lavin, 1996
; Struther
s
& Hansen, 1992)
. However, it is not possible to eval-
uate the ultimate effects on the infant without tak-
ing into account both the overall environment int
o
which the child is born and in which he or she i
s
raised and the effects on the parent—infant relation
-
ship
. Reciprocity, discussed earlier in this chapter
,
influences the behavioral and affective developmen
t
of infants
. Its presence, in the form of emotiona
l
availability, is particularly important for the parent'
s
ability to read the infant's cues and meet his or he
r
emotional needs
. In most cases, addiction prevent
s
a mother from responding to her infant's needs be
-
cause her primary focus is on her drug of choice
,
not her infant (Brooks, Zuckerman, Bamforth, Cole
,
& Kaplan-Sanoff, 1994)
. Mothers who abuse drug
s
show much lower levels of interaction with thei
r
infants (Mayes & Bornstein, 1996)
. Their lack o
f
ability to parent effectively is influenced by thei
r
current preoccupation with drugs and by the fac
t
that many of these mothers were raised in dysfunc-
tional families themselves, where substance abuse
,
psychopathology, and violence in many forms wer
e
part of everyday life
.
The lack of reciprocity observed so often betwee
n
mothers who have abused drugs and their infant
s
is influenced by three factors
. First, the exposur
e
of the infant to drugs prenatally may lead to bot
h
developmental impairments and lability in state
s
and moods, both of which may contribute to mak-
ing the infant more difficult to parent
. Thus, pos-
itive, healthy interactions between the parent an
d
the infant are less likely
. Second, long-term drug us
e
(specifically cocaine) has been found to affect a
n
individual's neuropsychological functioning
. These
effects often include deterioration of short-ter
m
memory, impaired task orientation, altered atten-
tion levels, and lowered levels of concentratio
n
(Mayes, 1995)
. Increased risk of psychiatric disorder
s
is also present, including extremely high rates of de-
pression in individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol
.
These impairments inevitably affect a parent's abil-
ity to meet effectively the physical and emotiona
l
demands of an infant
. The parent in such situation
s
is frequently physically present but is psychologi-
cally unavailable to her infant
. Finally, as mention-
ed earlier, substance abuse is frequently associate
d
with such other high-risk factors as elevated level
s
of violence, poverty, homelessness, social isolation
,
and noncompletion of high school (Mayes, 1995)
.
The combined effects of these factors, along wit
h
chronic or acute drug use, are likely to have a signi-
ficant impact on parenting
.
As with other maladaptive parenting situations
,
substance abuse in a parent will have differentia
l
impacts on children of different ages
. However
,
some developmental needs that are basic for al
l
children may be influenced remarkably by bein
g
raised by a parent who uses drugs (Kaplan-Sanoff
,
1996)
. The cycle of trauma that accompanies sub
-
stance abuse affects children's daily lives
. When par-
ents abuse substances, unpredictability and chao
s
characterize the household
. Emotional unavailabil-
ity and abandonment are recurring themes
. Out-
of-home placements are also prevalent while th
e
mother struggles with her addiction
. Similarly,
a
child of a teenage or depressed mother must dea
l
with changing and confusing roles — at one tim
e
being infantilized and at another being given th
e
responsibility of taking care of the parent (known a
s
parentification)
. As Kaplan-Sanoff (1996) and Brook
s
et al
. (1994) emphasized, living with a parent wit
h
an addiction challenges the child's development o
f
trust, attachment, autonomy, and self-esteem an
d
affects the child's ability to develop appropriat
e
behavioral control and affect regulation (Beeghle
y
& Tronick, 1994)
. Lester and Tronick (1994) dis-
cussed lifestyle factors that lead women to abus
e
substances and the resultant family and neighbor
-
hood conditions in which children are reared
. Child-
ren raised by a parent who abuses drugs or alco-
hol most often have a chaotic, disorganized lifestyl
e
that may include inadequate and disruptive parent-
ing, poverty, stress, and exposure to violence
.! Any
62
JOY D
. OSOFSKY AND M
. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
of these conditions can contribute to poor develop
-
mental outcomes
. When they are combined wit
h
prenatal drug exposure, children are at extremel
y
high risk for learning and behavior problems (Leste
r
& Tronick, 1994
; Kaplan-Sanoff, 1996)
.
In a more general way, studies have indicated tha
t
substance abuse impairs parenting abilities (Mayes
,
1995)
. Parental substance abuse has been associate
d
with 1) other psychiatric disorders, including de-
pression and antisocial personality
; 2) multigener-
ational transmission of both substance abuse pat
-
terns and psychiatric disorders
; 3) a high incidenc
e
of violence, both between adults and toward chil-
dren
; 4) an increased risk for abandonment and ne-
glect
; and 5) a generally poor sense of competenc
e
as a parent and a poor understanding of the need
s
of children. Furthermore, and consistent with thes
e
associations, studies have demonstrated that with
-
out ongoing support, mothers who have managed
to stop using drugs are more likely to resume thei
r
drug habits (see Mayes, 1995)
. It is most likely that
,
because there may be significant physiological an
d
biological effects on infants born to parents who ar
e
addicted to drugs or alcohol, the negative effect
s
on the child relate to an interaction between th
e
characteristics or problems of the infant and thos
e
of the parent
. Thus, the depressed behaviors, intru-
siveness, erratic responses, and violence observe
d
as negative parenting in mothers who abuse drug
s
may be a result of both the substance abuse prob-
lem and a cumulative effect of the many parenta
l
risk factors that affect this mother
. Because the prob
-
lem is a transactional one with many individuals
infant, parent, extended family, broad social net
-
work — contributing, effective intervention effort
s
must also be individual-, family-, and community
-
centered
. Therefore, it is important to address the in
-
dividual needs of the infant and the parent, provid
e
appropriate interventions and support, and recog-
nize the very important dimension of developing
a
trusting relationship with the addicted parent
. Onl
y
if the parent learns to trust him- or herself will he o
r
she then be able to parent the child sensitively an
d
effectively
.
Violenc
e
Parenting is, at best, a complex process, and in sit
-
uations of high risk, it is even more so
. For some
parents and children, the stress associated wit
h
violence exposure and the necessary coping with
violence as an everyday event affect both th
e
mother's ability to parent and the child's capacity t
o
form healthy attachment relationships (Osofsky
&
Fenichel, 1994)
. Because early relationships form th
e
basis for all later relationship experiences, such dif-
ficult early interactions may be problematic for th
e
child's later development. Poverty, job and famil
y
instability, and environmental violence add immea-
surably to the inherent difficulties
. Although sys-
tematic research has not yet been conducted con-
cerning the effects of violence exposure on parent-
ing and the caregiving environment, we know fro
m
anecdotal reports that parents who live with vio-
lence frequently describe a sense of helplessness an
d
frustration about their inability to protect their chil-
dren and keep them safe, even in their own neigh-
borhoods (Garbarino, Dubrow, Kostelny, & Pardo
,
1992
; Lorion & Saltzman, 1993
; National Survey o
f
Children and Parents, 1991
; Osofsky & Fenichel
,
1994
; Osofsky, Wewers, Hann, & Fick, 1993; Richter
s
& Martinez, 1993)
. A constant barrage of violence i
n
the community may lead parents to communicat
e
helplessness and hopelessness to their children
.
Protecting children and facilitating their develop-
ment is a family's most basic function
. Regardless o
f
their composition, families are uniquely structure
d
to provide the attention, nurturance, and safety tha
t
children need to grow and develop
. An importan
t
psychological aspect of parenting an infant or tod-
dler is being able to provide a "holding environ-
ment" (Winnicott, 1965) in which a parent can bot
h
protect a child and allow and encourage appropriat
e
independence
. Parents who are aware that they ma
y
not be able to protect their children from violenc
e
are likely to feel frustrated and helpless
. In addition
,
when parents witness violence or are themselves vic
-
tims of violence, they are likely to have difficult
y
being emotionally available, sensitive, and respon-
sive to their children
. In trying to help children an
d
parents who have been traumatized by violence ex-
posure, it becomes clear that parents must cope wit
h
their own trauma before they are able to deal wit
h
their children's needs
. Furthermore, when parent
s
live in constant fear, their children often lack th
e
sense of basic trust and security that is the foun-
dation of healthy emotional development (Osofsky
,
1995
; Osofsky, Cohen, & Drell, 1995)
.
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
6
3
Parents may experience additional burdens be
-
cause children's traditional societal protectors, in-
cluding schools, community centers, and churches
,
are also overwhelmed and are not able to assure saf
e
environments for their children
. A recent survey wa
s
designed to identify issues of trust and safety amon
g
a group of African American parents and childre
n
living in an inner-city environment with a high rat
e
of violence according to police homicide statistics
.
Thirty-five percent of the parents reported that the
y
did not feel their children were safe walking t
o
school, and 54% did not feel they were safe playin
g
in their neighborhood
. Only 17% of these parent
s
felt that the children were very safe doing thes
e
activities
. However, the majority (62%) felt that th
e
children were very safe at home, and 30% felt the
y
were very safe at school (Fick, Osofsky, & Lewis
,
1997)
. These data are consistent with the response
s
of 250 African American elementary schoolchil-
dren, ages 8—12, from the same neighborhoods
,
who reported that they felt much safer at home an
d
in school than walking to school or playing in thei
r
neighborhood
. Ninety percent of their parents fel
t
that violence was a serious problem or crisis in thei
r
neighborhood
. In clinical work with traumatize
d
young children and their families, one of the firs
t
issues that must be dealt with before any treatmen
t
can begin is whether the child and the family fee
l
safe
. There is a dual problem, however, in dealin
g
with chronic community violence
: 1) the continue
d
physical reality of the violent environment and 2
)
the continued posttraumatic reality for the youn
g
child and caregivers
.
Exposure to violence may interfere with norma
l
developmental transitions for both parents and chil-
dren
. If violence occurs in their neighborhood, t
o
their child, or to a child they know, parents may be
-
come overprotective, hardly allowing their childre
n
out of their sight
. Under such circumstances, par-
ents have difficulty behaving in any other than
a
controlling, or even authoritarian, manner
. Yet, en-
couragement of autonomy is important for develop-
ment and comes with trust in the safety of the envi-
ronment (Erikson, 1950)
. For families living wit
h
violence, children's growing independence and nor-
mal exploration may be anything but safe and
,
therefore, are not allowed
. Parents who are expose
d
to chronic violence may also become depressed an
d
unable to provide for their young children
'
s needs
.
Even with heroic efforts, if parents are sad an
d
anxious, it will be more difficult for them to respon
d
positively to the smiles and lively facial expression
s
of their young children
. Depressed parents may b
e
more irritable and may talk less often and with les
s
intensity
. All of these factors, although understand
-
able, may influence young children to be less re-
sponsive themselves and feel that they may hav
e
done something "bad" to contribute to this stat
e
of affairs
. Thus, supports outside of the family ar
e
very important for parents and children exposed t
o
violence
.
Teenage Mother
s
Parenting risks for adolescent mothers (here re-
ferred to as 16 years and younger) often begin earl
y
_ in their infants' lives because the cognitive as wel
l
as socioemotional caregiving environment is ofte
n
problematic
. Adolescent mothers generally initiat
e
verbal interactions less often and are less respon-
sive to their infants and young children than older
mothers (Furstenberg, Brooks-Gunn, & Morgan
,
1987
; Chase-Lansdale, Brooks-Gunn, & Palkoff
,
1991
; Crockenberg, 1987
; Culp, Appelbaum
,
Osofsky, & Levy, 1988
; Field, Widmayer, Stringer,
&
Ignatoff, 1980
; Osofsky, 1991
; Osofsky et al
., 1992
;
Osofsky & Eberhart-Wright, 1988, 1992)
. Whe
n
observing interactions between adolescent mother
s
and their infants, one is frequently struck with th
e
stillness of the interaction
. Many of the mother
s
talk very little to their infants and young children
,
and the children verbalize relatively little
. Whe
n
the mothers do talk, they give short commands, o
r
discipline the child, rather than giving elaborate
d
responses or statements
. Thus, many of thes
e
children grow up in impoverished cognitive as wel
l
as economic and socioemotional environment
s
(Chase-Landsdale, Brooks-Gunn, & Palkoff, 1991
;
Osofsky, 1996)
. The increased risk when they ente
r
the organized school setting is obvious
.
Research examining adolescent mother—child in-
teractions has shown that adolescent mothers' par-
enting practices may increase their children's ris
k
for less adaptive developmental outcomes
. Whe
n
compared to the interactions of adult mothers wit
h
their infants and toddlers, interactions between ado-
lescent mothers and their children differ
in
term
s
of both the amount and quality of the behaviors
64
JOY D
. OSOFSKY AND M. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
displayed
. Studies of mother-child interactions con
-
ducted in the home as well as in homelike laborator
y
situations have found adolescent mothers to engag
e
in less verbal and more physical forms of interactio
n
(Culp, Appelbaum, Osofsky, & Levy, 1988
; Garcia
-
Coll, Hoffman, & Oh, 1987
; Osofsky & Osofsky
,
1970)
. The paucity of talking between adolescen
t
mothers and their infants combined with the less de
-
scriptive and articulate verbal interactions of adoles-
cent mothers and their toddlers (Osofsky, 1996) ma
y
contribute to the poorer cognitive and linguistic out
-
comes associated with teenagers' children (East
&
Felice, 1990
; Furstenberg, Brooks-Gunn, & Chase
-
Landsdale, 1989)
. In addition, adolescent mother
s
and their toddlers are more likely to engage in mis-
regulated patterns of affective interaction in whic
h
either negative affects are emphasized (e
.g
., chil
d
cries and mother yells) or affective cues are misrea
d
by the dyad (e
.g
., child becomes angry and mothe
r
laughs)
. Participation in misregulated patterns of af-
fect was found to be most characteristic of teen
-
age mother-toddler interactions in comparison t
o
both socially advantaged and socially disadvan-
taged older mothers and toddlers (Hann, Robinson
,
Osofsky, & Little, 1991)
.
The developmental ramifications of the less op-
timal interaction patterns associated with adoles-
cent mothers and their children may be detecte
d
early in the social-emotional development of thes
e
children
. Lamb, Hopps, and Elster (1987) found th
e
distribution of infant attachment classifications dif-
fered between infants of adolescent and adult moth
-
ers
. Infants of adolescent mothers showed signifi-
cantly more avoidant behavior and were more likel
y
to be classified as avoidantly attached
. More re
-
cent attachment research that has included disorga
-
nized patterns of attachment in addition to secur
e
and insecure patterns (Main & Solomon, 1989) indi
-
cates that the offspring of adolescent mothers ma
y
also be at high risk for developing disorganized at-
tachment relationships with their mothers (Hann
,
Castino, Jarosinski, & Britton, 1991
; Hann, Osof-
sky, & Culp, 1996
; Speiker, 1989)
. The finding tha
t
children of adolescent mothers are at higher ris
k
for developing insecure attachment relationships i
s
consistent with previous research concerning th
e
etiology of avoidant and disorganized attachment
,
both of which have been associated with earlie
r
insensitive, negative, and emotionally unavailable
caregiving (Main & Hesse, 1990)
. These pattern
s
have been observed frequently with adolescen
t
mothers and their children
. The increased ris
k
among adolescent mothers' children for develop-
ing less optimal patterns of interaction and in
-
secure and disorganized attachment relationship
s
may contribute to the poorer social and emotiona
l
outcomes seen in these children (Brooks-Gunn
&
Furstenberg, 1986
; Furstenberg, Brooks-Gunn,
&
Chase-Landsdale, 1989
; Osofsky & Eberhart-Wright
,
1988
; Osofsky, Eberhart-Wright, Ware, & Hann
,
1992)
. Further research, however, is needed to estab
-
lish the links between early patterns of mother-chil
d
interaction and infant attachment and later socio-
emotional outcomes in adolescent mothers an
d
their children
.
Mental health risks for adolescent mothers an
d
their offspring may have been overlooked in pre-
vious research
. In a recent study conducted in Ne
w
Orleans on the effects of chronic community vio-
lence on 58 elementary-school-age children, ages 9
-
12 years old, we found that almost half of the chil-
dren included in the sample were born to mother
s
who became parents as teenagers (Osofsky, Wewers
,
Hann, & Fick, 1993)
. Furthermore, there was a signif
-
icant relation between reported behavior problem
s
of these children on the Child Behavior Checklis
t
(Achenbach, 1979) and their having been parente
d
by an adolescent mother
. In addition to reported ex
-
posure to community violence and family violence
,
and because of the age and immaturity of the youn
g
mothers, as well as lack of support, children of ado-
lescent mothers are frequently victims of child abus
e
and neglect
. Thus, being born and raised in the fam
-
ily of an adolescent mother may increase the risk o
f
a child's being exposed to environmental and famil
y
factors that increase mental health risks
.
In our experience in developing intervention
s
with adolescent mothers, we found that it is mos
t
helpful to use strategies that assist the mother i
n
developing empathy for her baby
. Adolescence is
a
developmental period when individuals tend to fo-
cus mainly on themselves rather than on anothe
r
person
. Thus, a child interferes with a teenager'
s
egocentric focus
. For a teen mother, her own feel-
ings are crucial, not those of others
. Even if a youn
g
woman is already a mother, she will continue wit
h
her own personal struggle to determine "Who a
m
I?" Thus, helping the mother become attuned to
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
65
her baby's feelings is difficult but crucial, for bot
h
the child and the relationship
. Video recordings an
d
other techniques may help the mothers to focu
s
playfully on their babies' feelings and to recogniz
e
the impact of their behaviors on the baby (Carter
,
Osofsky, & Hann, 1991b)
. It should be noted, how
-
ever, that teen mothers who live in healthy, sup-
portive environments where they themselves ar
e
nurtured and where they receive both tangible an
d
intangible support from family, friends, and com-
munity resources often foster positive home envi-
ronments and have healthy relationships with thei
r
children (Brooks-Gunn & Chase-Landsdale, 1991
,
1995
; Osofsky, 1996)
. Factors that have been foun
d
to influence the positive outcomes of teen mother
s
and their children include completing high schoo
l
and moving into the workforce and having fewe
r
subsequent pregnancies, the support of family mem
-
bers and a significant other, and positive role model
s
in their lives whom they can emulate (Brooks-Gun
n
& Chase-Landsdale, 1995)
. The presence of thes
e
individual and combined factors can often trigge
r
adaptive parenting situations for the youngest o
f
mothers
.
Parental Psychopatholog
y
Parental psychopathology is a risk factor for care
-
giving that often occurs in conjunction with othe
r
risk factors including substance abuse, child mal-
treatment, exposure to violence, and adolescen
t
pregnancy
. By definition, child maltreatment, whic
h
frequently accompanies parental psychopathology
,
constitutes a severe dysfunction in parenting tha
t
can lead to serious maladjustment and behav-
ior problems (Rogosch, Cicchetti, Shields, & Toth
,
1996)
.
Because maternal depression has been studie
d
and observed most frequently as a risk factor tha
t
affects parenting — often in lower socioeconomi
c
and highly stressed groups — we focus on this are
a
of parental psychopathology
. Maternal depressio
n
contributes to less adequate and even negative par-
enting behavior that can lead to problems in th
e
adjustment of infants and children (Field, Murrow
,
& Adelstein, 1993
; Gelfand & Teti, 1990
; Gopfert
,
Webster, & Seeman, 1996
; Tronick & Gianino, 1986
;
Weinberg & Tronick, 1997)
. It has been associ-
ated with such undesirable parenting practices as
unresponsiveness, inattentiveness, intrusiveness, in
-
ept discipline, and negative perceptions of childre
n
(Gelfand & Teti, 1990)
. Although, some of the stud-
ies have methodological limitations, Gelfand an
d
Teti (1990) reported age-typical forms of child psy-
chopathology accompanying maternal depressio
n
and such associated stressors as marital discord
.
Earlier, as part of our review of the role of reci-
procity in adaptive parenting, we discussed the im-
portance of emotional regulation, including shar-
ing and complementary affects between the paren
t
and the developing infant
. This topic is highly rel-
evant in considering the impact of depression o
n
parenting effectiveness
. Emotional availability an
d
a sense of emotional consistency include the ide
a
of "good enough" mothering (Winnicott, 1965)
,
_affect attunement and sensitivity (Bowlby, 1973
;
Cramer & Brazelton, 1990
; Osofsky & Eberhart
-
Wright, 1988
; Stern, 1985), and parental "mirroring
"
of affective states (Kohut, 1977
; Stolorow, Brand-
chaft, & Atwood, 1987)
. (A "good enough" par-
ent is one who is not "perfect" but provides suffi-
cient nurturance and caregiving — both physicall
y
and emotionally — to support healthy child develop
-
ment
.) Three types of interaction patterns have bee
n
observed with depressed low-income mothers an
d
their infants
: 1) withdrawn-unavailable
; 2) hostile
-
intrusive
; and 3) mainly positive (Murray & Cooper
,
1997a,b)
. The two negative patterns of interactio
n
have been shown to interfere with healthy cognitiv
e
and emotional development
. A longitudinal stud
y
conducted in Germany (Laucht, Esser, & Schmidt
,
1994) showed how disturbed patterns of mother
infant interaction for a sample of 353 mothers an
d
infants mediated the negative effects on cognitiv
e
and emotional development
.
Empirical research, in addition to clinical obser-
vations, has shown that depressed mothers hav
e
difficulty with affect regulation and tend to b
e
dysynchronous with their infants rather than res-
onating sensitively to emotional states (Field, 1995
;
Osofsky, 1993
; Weinberg & Tronick, 1997)
. Further
-
more, these mothers match negative states more of
-
ten than positive behaviors when compared wit
h
nondepressed mothers (Field, 1995)
. Using the "still
-
face" situation (an experimental paradigm durin
g
which the caregiver is asked first to be normally re-
sponsive to her or his infant and then to stop bein
g
responsive and show a still face with flat affect for
66
JOY D
. OSOFSKY AND M
. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
several minutes), Tronick and his colleagues (Coh
n
& Tronick, 1983
; Weinberg & Tronick, 1997) foun
d
that when mothers were asked to "look depressed
"
for a short period of time during face-to-face in-
teraction, infants of nondepressed mothers becam
e
distressed very quickly, whereas infants of chroni-
cally depressed mothers did not
. The latter grou
p
seemed to tune out both when their mothers were re-
sponsive and when they were nonresponsive (Field
,
1995)
. Field, Healy, Goldstein, and Guthertz (1990
)
described several patterns in depressed mothers tha
t
include the more typical withdrawn, flat affect pat
-
tern as well as one that is intrusive and overstimulat-
ing
. Depressed mothers, similar to adolescent moth-
ers (who may also be depressed), tend to talk less t
o
their infants, show fewer positive facial expressions
,
vocalize less, and display less positive physical affec-
tion (Field et al
., 1993
; Murray & Cooper, 1997a)
.
Indeed, there is increasing evidence indicating tha
t
adolescent mothers are more likely to be depresse
d
than older mothers (Field, 1995
; Hann, Castino
,
Jarosinski, & Britton, 1991
; Osofsky, 1996
; Osofsk
y
& Eberhart-Wright, 1988)
.
Depressed mothers have been reported to be les
s
available emotionally to their infants and children
,
thereby providing a less empathic and responsiv
e
environment (Field, 1995
; Osofsky, 1996). Zuravi
n
(1989) emphasized the link between materna
l
depression and mother-to-child aggression, findin
g
that moderately, but not severely, depressed low
-
income mothers are at increased risk for child abus
e
and physical aggression
. Several caveats are neces-
sary in interpreting the results of this study, includ-
ing the method used to measure depression and th
e
sample studied
. However, it is important not to un-
derestimate the effect that maternal depression ma
y
have on the quality of the interactive relationshi
p
between mother and child
. For low-income, alread
y
stressed dyads, maternal depression may plac
e
infants and children at much greater risk for depres-
sion
. Substantial research (Carter, Osofsky, & Hahn
,
1991a,b
; Field et al
., 1990
; Hann, Castino, Jarosinski
,
& Britton, 1991
; Osofsky & Eberhart-Wright, 1988
;
Radke-Yarrow et al., 1985
; Tronick & Gianino, 1986
;
Zahn-Waxler et al
., 1990) suggests that the childre
n
of depressed mothers are at higher risk for prob-
lems in affect regulation, including both increase
d
depression, or subdued affect, and inappropriate ag-
gression
. According to Tronick and Gianino (1986),
if the infant is able to cope with a nonresponsiv
e
environment and maintain both self- and interac-
tive regulation simultaneously, then the outcom
e
is likely to be positive mental health
. In contrast, i
f
the infant cannot maintain interactive regulation
,
then self-regulation will be the primary means o
f
coping and the outcome is likely to be problematic
.
The combination of depression in the mother an
d
difficulties with affect regulation in the child result
s
in less emotional availability and increases the ris
k
for other problems in the relationship
.
In general, either as a result of the depression o
r
as a contributing factor, depressed mothers have les
s
support available to them and more restricted so-
cial networks
. Thus, an important mediating facto
r
for resilience in parenting may be absent for thes
e
mothers
. One study (Hossain et al
., 1994) suggeste
d
that, in some cases, fathers may buffer the negativ
e
effects of maternal depression on infants
. The in-
vestigators observed that infants' interactions wit
h
their nondepressed fathers were more positive tha
n
those with their depressed mothers
. Field (1995) re
-
ported a similar finding with familiar nondepresse
d
child care providers
. These infants' interactions wit
h
the child care workers showed increased arousal wit
h
more stimulation and positive affective exchange
s
than were observed with their depressed mothers
.
Infants may also contribute to the negative pat
-
terns of interaction observed with depressed moth-
ers
. Because infants of depressed mothers may sho
w
fewer affective responses early in their develop-
ment, increased irritability, and lower activity levels
,
they may contribute to interactional disturbances
.
Zuckerman et al
. (1990) noted that newborns of de
-
pressed mothers are more difficult to console
. Yet, i
t
is not clear whether these behavioral reactions wer
e
due to environmental or to genetic prenatal influ-
ences
. Thus, there may be an unfortunate negativ
e
reverberating cycle for depressed mothers and thei
r
infants
. In fact, mothers may perceive their infant
s
more negatively (Field, 1995
; Field et al., 1993) an
d
interact less with them
. At the same time, the in-
fants may be more irritable and less responsive be
-
cause of pre- or perinatal risk factors
. Early identifica
-
tion of risk and the potential benefits of preventiv
e
interventions are imperative, including early hom
e
visitation models that have been shown to be effec-
tive for such high-risk mothers (Olds, Henderson
,
& Kitzman, 1994
; Olds, Henderson, Tatelbaum,
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
6 7
& Chamberlain, 1988
; Olds, Kitzman, Henderson
,
Hanks et al
., 1997
; Werner, 1984, 1994)
. Lyons
-
Ruth, Connell, and Grunebaum (1990) pointed t
o
both the negative developmental consequences as-
sociated with severe social risk conditions and t
o
the buffering effects of developmentally oriente
d
home visiting services for infants at greatest socia
l
risk
. When infants of depressed mothers receive
d
home visiting services, they outperformed an un-
served group on the Bayley Scales of Infant Devel-
opment at 18 months of age and were twice as likel
y
to be classified as securely attached in their relation
-
ship with their mother
. These differences were foun
d
with home visiting services that involved a con-
certed outreach and a strong social service compo-
nent, with focus on the mother—infant relationshi
p
(with 13 months of home visiting services involvin
g
forty-six completed home visits). There is much ye
t
to be learned about parental psychopathology an
d
its effects on parenting
. However, it is clear that a
n
important first step is a recognition of the potentiall
y
negative effects of parental psychopathology and
a
commitment to address them before the effects o
n
children become too severe or difficult to remediate
.
Importance of Resilienc
e
Recent years have witnessed an increased empha
-
sis on resilience
; that is, factors that may improv
e
conditions directly affecting a child's coping ability
.
One of the most important resilience factors is ef-
fective parenting
. A substantial body of theoretica
l
and research work has been conducted on resilienc
e
in infants and children
. This research is importan
t
to our consideration of adaptive and maladaptiv
e
parenting
.
Werner (1984) carried out a landmark study o
n
resilience, conceptualizing this phenomenon as th
e
ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortun
e
or sustained life stress
. Resilience is often used to de
-
scribe the following outcomes in children
: 1) goo
d
outcomes despite risk status, 2) sustained compe-
tence under stress, and 3) recovery from traum
a
(Werner, 1994)
. Many studies, including those o
f
Werner (1994) and Masten (1997), define a resilien
t
child as one who is more likely to have an adaptabl
e
easy temperament and who is more intelligent tha
n
nonresilient children
. A resilient child is also mor
e
likely to have a supportive person — often a parent or
caregiver — in his or her environment, a person wit
h
whom the child has a trusting relationship
.
Werner (1984) discovered that resilient childre
n
who adapted successfully to adult life had the fol-
lowing protective factors: 1) an adaptable tempera-
ment that allowed them to elicit positive response
s
from caring adults, 2) skills and values that allowe
d
for an assessment of the child's abilities in order t
o
develop realistic educational and vocational goals
,
and 3) parents or caregivers who reflected compe-
tence and fostered self-esteem in their children o
r
other supportive adults who fostered trust
. Further
-
more, resilient children sought out environment
s
that reinforced and rewarded their competencie
s
and helped them handle life's transitions success
-
fully
.
Much can be learned from Werner's (1984) re-
markable longitudinal research
. In her study wit
h
698 babies born on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, re
-
silient youth (about one-third of the group) at th
e
time of high school graduation had developed
a
positive self-concept and an internal locus of con-
trol
. They displayed a more nurturant, responsible
,
and achievement-oriented attitude toward life tha
n
did their high-risk peers who had developed prob-
lems in their teens
. These boys and girls had grow
n
up in families in which they had not experience
d
prolonged separations from their primary caregiver
s
during the first year of life
. All had the chance to es
-
tablish a close bond with at least one caregiver fro
m
whom they received much positive attention whe
n
they were infants
. Some of this nurturance cam
e
from caregiver substitutes, such as grandparents o
r
older siblings, or other members of their extende
d
family
. Both parents and surrogate parents serve
d
as important role models with whom the childre
n
identified
.
A second major body of research on resilienc
e
has been conducted as part of Project Competence
,
a longitudinal study directed by Masten, Hubbard
,
Gest, Tellegen, Garmezy, and Ramirez (in press) tha
t
followed Garmezy's pioneering work in this are
a
(Garmezy & Rutter, 1983
; Masten, 1997
; Masten
,
Best, & Garmezy, 1990)
. This study includes com-
petent children growing up with little adversity, re-
silient children growing up with high levels of adver
-
sity, and maladaptive children who have not bee
n
able to overcome hardship successfully
. They foun
d
that the role of a "good-enough" parent is crucial
68
JOY D. OSOFSKY AND M
. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
for positive outcomes in these children
. Successfu
l
children, whether from low- or high-risk circum-
stances, have a history of access to more resource
s
than maladaptive children, including better intel-
lectual skills and good parenting
.
Resilience in children and youth is not fostere
d
in a vacuum, even with good-enough parenting
.
Promoting positive development depends on creat-
ing healthy external systems in addition to health
y
individuals
. Thus, parents need support from th
e
broader environment for parenting, educating, an
d
socializing their children. Furthermore, Masten an
d
colleagues (in press), recently suggested that futur
e
understanding of the impact of parenting on devel-
opmental outcomes could benefit from disaggregat-
ing global resources such as "parenting quality" int
o
such meaningful components as the dimensions o
f
structure, warmth, and expectations that may re
-
late to conduct, achievement, and social functionin
g
with peers under different conditions
. For example
,
Baldwin, Baldwin, and Cole (1990) determined tha
t
the "structure" dimension of parenting, rather tha
n
warmth, differed for parents of competent children
,
depending on whether they lived in dangerous o
r
safe neighborhoods
. Other studies have shown tha
t
stricter parenting may be especially protective in un
-
safe environments (Osofsky & Fenichel, 1994)
.
The development of resilience begins in infancy
,
and longitudinal studies point consistently to fac-
tors in very young children that contribute to suc
h
strengths
. Werner (1994) reported that 10% of th
e
Asian and Polynesian cohort she studied who ha
d
experienced four or more risk factors — includin
g
perinatal complications, parental psychopathology
,
family instability, and chronic poverty before the ag
e
of 2 years — developed into competent, confident
,
caring adults
. These resilient young children wer
e
described by their caretakers as active, affection
-
ate, cuddly, easy infants with few problematic earl
y
behaviors
. Similar observations of resilient infant
s
were part of the Coping Project conducted by th
e
Menninger Foundation (Murphy & Moriarity, 1987
)
in which clinical assessments of thirty-two Cau-
casian infants revealed an active, easygoing natur
e
and few feeding and sleeping problems
. These babie
s
were also notably responsive to people and object
s
in their environment
. Such resilient babies are ofte
n
characterized by responsiveness and warmth as wel
l
as by an ability to seek out and relate to others in
their environment
. Similar positive behaviors wer
e
observed in studies of infants of teenage mother
s
who did better as they developed (Osofsky, 1996)
.
Rutter (1993) refined the issue of resilience furthe
r
as it relates to parenting
. He cites evidence from be
-
havioral genetics indicating that in many circums-
tances, nonshared environmental influences tend t
o
have a greater effect than shared ones
. Thus, feature
s
that equally affect all children in a family may b
e
less important than those that affect differentially, i
n
which one child may be affected more than others
.
Therefore, it is not uncommon to see in a relativel
y
well-organized family one child in the family bein
g
scapegoated or favored over others
. How does a chil
d
manage to be resilient under such circumstances? H
e
or she may distance him- or herself from what is hap
-
pening
. For example, in some families, quarrels an
d
fights occur and one child may be drawn into th
e
disagreement or dispute while another remains un-
involved
. In a family with parental mental illness,
a
less vulnerable child may manage to find emotiona
l
support outside of the home
. Children — even ver
y
young children — can do a great deal to influenc
e
what happens to them
. Rutter (1978, 1993) indi-
cated that protective effects may result from peopl
e
actively planning how they deal with what happen
s
to them, thus feeling as if they have more contro
l
of their lives
. Younger children may protect them
-
selves by withdrawing and finding support outsid
e
the family
. Older children may be able to plan ac-
tively in ways that make them feel less vulnerable
.
Thus, results from many studies of resilient in-
fants, young children, and youth identify consis-
tently a small number of crucial protective factor
s
for development (Masten, 1997
; Masten et al
., 1990
;
Werner, 1994
; Werner & Smith, 1982)
. The mos
t
important protective resource is a strong relation
-
ship with a competent, caring, positive adult — mos
t
often a parent
. The most important personal qual-
ity is average or above-average intellectual develop-
ment with good attention and interpersonal skills
.
Although catastrophic stressors such as prematur
e
birth, war, trauma, or loss can threaten the integrit
y
of a child's ability to think and solve problems, goo
d
parenting by either a parent or another significan
t
adult that supports both emerging competence an
d
healthy relationships will help a child proceed posi-
tively in the face of adversity
. Additional protectiv
e
factors include other positive role models, feelings of
ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE PARENTING
6
9
self-esteem and self-efficacy, attractiveness to other
s
in both personality and appearance, individual tal-
ents, religious affiliation, socioeconomic advantage
,
opportunities for good schooling and employment
,
and ability to seek out people and environments tha
t
are positive for development (Garmezy & Rutter
,
1983
; Masten, 1997
; Osofsky, 1996
; Werner, 1994)
.
It is crucial to emphasize, however, that adult behav
-
ior, especially good-enough parenting, plays a cen-
tral role in a child's risks, resources, opportunities
,
and, therefore, his or her resilience
.
CONCLUSIO
N
In this review of adaptive and maladaptive parent-
ing, we discussed various factors that lead to pos-
itive outcomes, including effective social networks
,
social support, reciprocity in early relationships, an
d
other circumstances that contribute to resilience
.
We have also considered conditions that lead t
o
negative outcomes, including substance abuse, ex-
posure to violence, teen pregnancy, and parenta
l
psychopathology
. In this concluding section, w
e
highlight a perspective on preventive interventio
n
that focuses on programmatic directions that ma
y
protect a child and family and that can lead t
o
more positive outcomes, even under conditions o
f
significant adversity
. There is considerable agree-
ment that preventive interventions have the poten-
tial to be beneficial to infants and children and thei
r
families in terms of both their immediate impac
t
and their long-term consequences (Fonagy, 1998
;
Osofsky, 1997)
. The immediate outcomes of such
interventions may include improved prenatal, peri-
natal, and early and later developmental outcome
s
for infants and young children (Olds, Henderson
,
Tatelbaum, & Chamberlain, 1988
; Olds et al
., 1997)
,
as well as more opportunities for education, em-
ployment, and demonstrated competence for par-
ents
. In the long term, early preventive interven-
tions have the potential to diminish future be-
havior problems, child maltreatment, delinquency
,
and violence (Chalk & King, 1998
; Osofsky, 1997
;
Prothrow-Stith, 1998)
.
The types of preventive interventions that appea
r
to be most effective for all high-risk groups are thos
e
that start early and are comprehensive, utilizing
a
systems approach involving multiple types of in-
tervention that affect the individual, family, and
community levels
. To build adaptive rather tha
n
maladaptive parenting patterns, preventive strate-
gies that are likely to be most effective will en
-
gage families at points in their lives when they ar
e
most available for intervention
. Such intervention
s
do well not only to instill parenting skills but als
o
to help parents with issues surrounding their per-
sonal life, including health care, stress, job train-
ing, nutrition, building communication skills, an
d
identifying available community resources
. Parent
s
are better able to be effective in parenting thei
r
children when their own individual needs are rec-
ognized and met
. Interventions should also buil
d
on the strengths that parents have and not take
a
deficit approach by focusing only on their weak-
nesses
. Inviting parents to share their insights an
d
their parenting expertise will allow them to fee
l
good about themselves, while potentially helpin
g
other parents to observe alternative modes of par-
enting
. Furthermore, the contacts need to take plac
e
in multiple settings, including homes, hospitals
,
schools, churches, and other community sites dur-
ing the prenatal and perinatal periods and dur-
ing the early years of the child's life
. Interven-
tion methods include home visitation, parent ed-
ucation, and support for parents and the impact
s
on parent—infant—child relationships that have bee
n
shown to be most effective when they focus o
n
groups at highest risk for problems in developmen
t
and in the relationship
. It is unrealistic to expec
t
that effective preventive intervention efforts can b
e
conducted primarily at a designated site to whic
h
parents must come
. Effectiveness requires that th
e
intervenors be flexible and willing to engage the par-
ents on their own terms and in settings where the
y
are most comfortable. Several models that incorpo-
rate many of these factors have longitudinal dat
a
showing positive outcomes (Lally, Mangione, Honig
,
& Wittmer, 1988
; Olds et al
., 1994
; Schweinhart
,
Barnes, & Weikart, 1993
; Werner, 1994
; Werner
&
Smith, 1982)
.
Several related, but slightly different, approache
s
to preventive intervention have emerged as a re-
sult of increased concern for children who witnes
s
violence in their communities and in their homes
.
These programs are designed to provide help fo
r
traumatized children and families and to addres
s
the problem of violence prevention broadly, wit
h
a focus on supportive systems within communities
70
JOY D
. OSOFSKY AND M. DEWANA THOMPSO
N
(Groves & Zuckerman, 1997
; Marans & Adelman
,
1997
; Murphy, Pynoos, & James, 1997
; Osofsky
,
1997)
. The programs provide services for childre
n
and families and they interface with the police
,
schools, courts, community programs, health-car
e
settings, and others that help children by providin
g
education about violence prevention and commu-
nity resources in order to reach children earlier af-
ter the trauma occurs
. These preventive interventio
n
approaches provide models of how police and othe
r
systems within communities can be integrated int
o
a preventive intervention network for children an
d
families
.
In considering interventions, it is important t
o
note that earlier approaches contributing to adap-
tive parenting focused almost exclusively on the in-
dividual
; that is, the parent or child and their in-
dividual needs
. Currently, more emphasis is place
d
on the importance of the relationship and how t
o
provide support for individuals in a relationshi
p
context
. For all high-risk groups, the establishmen
t
of meaningful relationships providing support an
d
stability is crucial
. Many adolescent mothers com
e
from families that have lacked consistent, stable re-
lationships
. Certainly, families with members wh
o
are addicted to drugs are characterized by relation
-
ship problems, inconsistency, and unpredictabilit
y
that frequently exist for more than one generation
.
With children and families exposed to violence, i
t
is crucial to establish a sense of safety in a relation
-
ship for recovery to take place
. Difficulties with par-
enting resulting from parental psychopathology ar
e
also helped by a supportive relationship for both par
-
ent and child that can help them build a better rela-
tionship together. Thus, relationship strengthenin
g
is likely to be extremely helpful, whether the prob-
lem is inadequate or insensitive child care due t
o
age or debilitating condition, harsh or negative dis-
cipline, psychiatric illness, or some other difficulty
.
Finally, it is important to recognize the impor-
tance of "the match" in developing intervention ef-
forts
. Each baby and mother is different, and some
-
times the most helpful information that can be im-
parted to the mother, whether young or old, is jus
t
that message
. By recognizing the individuality of he
r
baby, the match may become less important as
a
test of her mothering ability
.
This issue is particu-
larly important for adolescent mothers and other
s
at high psychosocial risk who may be focusing more
on their own needs than on those of the baby
. It i
s
very reassuring for a mother to hear that she ma
y
not always be responsible for the difficult behavior
s
manifested by her baby
. Encouraging the recogni-
tion and acceptance of the child's individuality ca
n
increase the mother's acceptance of the child
.
In short, we want to emphasize that an under
-
standing of adaptive and maladaptive parenting re
-
quires a dynamic perspective
. In some situations
,
factors that usually lead to maladaptation can b
e
mediated by personal and environmental circum-
stances that help an individual or family overcom
e
adversity
. Conversely, some families may have man
y
resources and advantages, but a mismatch in expec
-
tations and perceptions, or difficulties with a particu
-
lar developmental period, may lead to increased ris
k
and maladaptation
. Thus, the process of parentin
g
is best understood as dynamic and changing, an
d
one that can be greatly influenced and supporte
d
by sensitive and appropriate preventive interventio
n
strategies
.
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  • ... In the context of child-adult interactions, parental behaviors are considered responsive when the adult responds to the signals of the child quickly (immediately) and contingently (in a way linked to the child's action), adjusting to the child's initiative and interests, as well to his/her focus of attention and/or action (Spiker et al., 2002;Roggman et al., 2013a;Tamis-LeMonda et al., 2014). Responsiveness has been linked to secure attachment, linguistic development, executive function and general cognition, self-regulation, empathy, and socially appropriate behavior (Osofsky and Thompson, 2000;Landry et al., 2001Landry et al., , 2006Tamis-LeMonda et al., 2001Crouter and Head, 2002;Davidov and Grusec, 2006;Hirsh-Pasek and Burchinal, 2006;Bernier et al., 2010). Both mothers and fathers can be sensitive and supportive to their children (Cabrera et al., 2007). ...
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    The aim of the study was to examine the relation between demographic variables, parental characteristics, and cognitive, language and motor skills development in children with intellectual disabilities (ID). A sample of 89 children with ID, aged 20–47 months, completed the Bayley Scales of Infant Development to measure cognitive, motor, and linguistic development. Parents were administered questionnaires about demographic information and parental anxiety, depression, parental stress, conjugality and familial functioning. Parenting behaviors (affection, responsiveness, encouragement, and teaching) were observed using the Spanish version of PICCOLO (Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes). A bivariate analysis showed that cognitive development in infants was significantly related to the mother’s and father’s responsiveness, and to the father’s teaching scores. Infant language development was related to a variety of maternal factors (educational level, anxiety, depression, maternal responsiveness) and to the father’s teaching scores. None of the factors were statistically related to child motor development. A multivariate regression analysis indicated that children’s cognitive development can be predicted by a linear combination of maternal responsiveness and paternal teaching scores. Language development can be predicted by a linear combination of maternal anxiety and responsiveness, and paternal teaching scores. The present study provides evidence of the importance of paternal involvement for cognitive and language development in children with intellectual disabilities, and contributes to the increasing literature about fathering. Gaining knowledge about parental contributions to children’s development is relevant for improving positive parenting in early intervention programs.
  • ... Nahm (2006) , , (Choi & Nahm, 2016;Kim & Nahm, 2013;Song & Nahm, 2013). , (Kelly & Barnard, 2000), (Carson & Parke, 1996), (Osofsky & Thompson, 2000). Siegel (1999) ...
  • ... Finally, research has consistently supported Belsky (1984) in linking characteristics of the parent such as parent history of substance abuse and mental illness to child outcomes. Both of these characteristics are often found in homes with other risk factors for children such as violence, poverty, and residential instability, all of which make it difficult to parent effectively (Conners, Bokony, Whiteside-Mansell, Bradley, & Liu, 2004;Osofsky, & Thompson, 2000;Tronick & Beeghly, 1999). Table 1 (column 2) shows the conceptual bases for the questions. ...
  • ... Moreover, parents' psychological difficulties have been reported to be associated with maladaptive parenting behaviors (Crnic et al. 2005;Lovejoy et al. 2000;Osofsky and Thompson 2000;Vostanis et al. 2006). For example, a depressive mood may affect parents' sensitivity, and consequently influence parent-child interaction (Goodman and Gotlib 2002). ...
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    Few attempts have been made to evaluate the effectiveness of parent-training (PT) based on mindfulness approaches for parents of children with autism. We present findings of a study on an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-oriented PT with a specific focus on the improvement of parents’ psychological functioning. Stress and two psychological processes related to emotional suffering in accordance to the framework of ACT (namely, cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance) were assessed in parents before and after treatment. The effects of treatments contemporarily received by children were controlled by comparing an experimental group that received the ACT-PT along with an early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) for the child, with a control group which only received the EIBI. Multivariate analysis of variance showed a paradoxical reduction of mindfulness awareness after treatment (p < .01) and a trend towards statistical significance of the change in stress (p = .06) in the group receiving the ACT-PT. No effect of treatments (ACT-PT + EIBI vs. EIBI only) was found on cognitive fusion. We discussed the results while considering the possible changes in psychological awareness promoted by ACT. Parents of the experimental group could have become more aware of their inner states, which may explain the unexpected negative change in mindfulness awareness and the limited decrease of stress after treatment. Moreover, questionnaires assessing the ACT-based processes were likely to be too complicated for the parents to understand; therefore, comparisons between pre- and post-treatment measures may not be entirely reliable. Methodological challenges and indications for future research are highlighted.
  • ... -Eine angemessene Beaufsichtigung (Supervison) durch die Eltern (Jolliffe et al. 2016;Krohn et al., 2014;Osofsky & Dewana, 2000). ...
  • ... [7] The responsiveness of parents to their children and the manner in which parents talk with and teach their children are important determinants of children's later wellbeing and development. [8,9] Group-based parenting programs are viewed as one of the most cost-effective methods to empower parents with better mental health and skills as future therapeutic agents for their children, as well as leave the group in each session, depending on the varying periods of admission. The group is multimodal in approach, although relies heavily on psychoeducation, supportive interactions, and behavioral strategies to manage mental health issues in children and adolescents. ...
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    Child and adolescent mental health issues have a wide prevalence and cause serious burden and stress to the psychosocial health of parents and caregivers. Psychosocial interventions have proved to be useful adjuncts to pharmacological treatment in childhood psychiatric conditions because of their long standing nature and psychosocial implications. The present paper aims to identify and enlist the benefits of one such group-based parenting program practiced in a mental health services inpatient setting. The paper borrows from the experiences and observations of a psychiatric social worker who has considerable experience in conducting such group sessions. The material recorded here helps in understanding that parents and caregivers perceive benefits of significant magnitude from regular group session inputs, which help them to deal with the mental health issues of their children, and which also turn out to be a source of support.
  • ... Future research should consider a longitudinal design in order to establish a clearer temporal relationship between parenting stress and child anxiety. Lastly, child development is, in general, a robust process, where the presence of some risk factors do not necessarily lead to negative outcomes (Cicchetti & Rogosch, 1996;Osofsky & Thompson, 2000), especially when protective factors like warmth are also present (Deater-Deckard et al., 2006;Patterson, Cohn, & Kao, 1989 ...
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  • ... They are also more prone to depression and social anxiety, and may be more affectively labile (Roberts et al. 2016;Hagerman and Hagerman 2002;Mazzocco 2000;Sobesky et al. 1994;Thompson et al. 1996). These risk factors have been previously associated with lower maternal responsivity in other non-FXS samples (Goldsmith and Rogoff 1995;Osofsky et al. 2000). ...
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  • ... 85. Osofsky et Thompson, 2000Moss et coll., 2000;Osofsky et Thompson, 2000;Sroufe et coll., 1996. 88. ...
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