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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Parents are among the most important people in the lives of young children. Society benefits socially and economically from providing current and future generations of parents with the support they need to raise healthy and thriving children Karoly et al.

To ensure positive experiences for their children, parents draw on the resources of which they are aware or that are at their immediate disposal. In addition to biological and adoptive parents, main caregivers may include kinship e. However, these resources may vary inavailability, and quality at best, and at worst may be offered sporadically or not at all.

Resources may be close at hand e. They may be too expensive to access, or they may be substantively inadequate. Whether located in early childhood programs, school-based classrooms, well-child clinics, or family networks, support for parents of young children is critical to enhancing healthy early childhood experiences, promoting positive outcomes for children, and helping parents build strong relationships with their children see Box Parents play a ificant role in helping children build and refine their knowledge and skills, as well as their learning expectations, beliefs, goals, and coping strategies.

Parents introduce children to the social world where they develop understandings of themselves and their place and value in society, understandings that influence their choices and experiences over the life course. Over the past several decades, researchers have identified parenting-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices that are associated with improved developmental outcomes for children and around which parenting-related programs, policies, and messaging initiatives can be deed.

However, consensus is lacking on the elements of parenting that are most important to promoting child well-being, and what is known about effective parenting has not always been adequately integrated across different service sectors to give all parents the information and support they need. Moreover, knowledge about effective parenting has not been effectively incorporated into policy, which has resulted in a lack of coordinated and targeted efforts aimed at supporting parents. Several challenges to the implementation of effective parenting practices exist as well.

Many families Single dad looking for mom read my ad carefully the United States are affected by such hardships, which include poverty, parental mental illness and substance use, and violence in the home. A second challenge is inadequate attention to identifying effective strategies for engaging and utilizing the strengths of fathers, discussed later in this chapter and elsewhere in this report.

Despite acknowledgment of and attention to the importance of culture in. In addition, the issue of poverty persists, with low-income working families being particularly vulnerable to policy and economic shifts. Although these families have benefited in recent years from the expansion of programs and policies aimed at supporting them discussed further belowthe of children living in deep poverty has increased Sherman and Trisi, Family structure also has grown increasingly diverse across class, race, and ethnicity, with fewer children now being raised in households with two married parents; more living with same-sex parents; and more living with kinship caregivers, such as grandparents, and in other household arrangements Child Trends Databank, b.

Lastly, parenting increasingly is being shaped by technology and greater access to information about parenting, some of which is not based in evidence and much of which is only now being studied closely. Indeed, funding has Single dad looking for mom read my ad carefully for some programs deed to support children and families. At the state and federal levels, policy makers recently have funded new initiatives aimed at expanding early childhood education Barnett et al. Over the past several years, the of states offering some form of publicly funded prekindergarten program has risen to 39, and after slight dips during the Great Recession ofwithin-state funding of these programs has been increasing Barnett et al.

Department of Education, ; U. Department of Health and Human Services, Low-income children and families have been aided as well in recent years by increased economic support from government in the form of both cash benefits e. Department of Education, the Foundation for Child Development, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine empanel a committee to conduct a study to examine the state of the science with respect to parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices tied to positive parent-child interactions and child outcomes and strategies for supporting them among parents of young children ages The purpose of this study was to provide a roadmap for the future of parenting and family support policies, practices, and research in the United States.

The committee was asked to assess the evidence and then make recommendations whose implementation would promote wide-scale adoption of effective strategies for enabling the identified knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Given the multi- and interdisciplinary nature of the study task, the member committee comprised individuals with an array of expertise, including child development, early childhood education, developmental and educational psychology, child psychiatry, social work, family engagement research, pediatric medicine, public and health policy, health communications, implementation science, law, and economics see Appendix D for biosketches of the committee members.

Conceptions of who parents are and what constitute the best conditions for raising children vary widely.

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From classic anthropological and human development perspectives, parenting often is defined as a primary mechanism of socialization, that is, a primary means of training and preparing children to meet the demands of their environments and take advantage. As Bornsteinp. Young chil. Conversely, young children who do not become securely attached with a primary caregiver e. Bradley and Corwyn characterize the goals of these investments as helping children successfully regulate biological, cognitive, and social-emotional functioning. Parents possess different levels and quality of access to knowledge that can guide the formation of their parenting attitudes and practices.

As discussed in greater detail in Chapter 2the parenting practices in which parents engage are influenced and informed by their knowledge, including facts and other information relevant to parenting, as well as skills gained through experience or education. Attitudes may be part of a set of beliefs shared within a cultural group and founded in common experiences, and they often direct the transformation of knowledge into practice.

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Parenting also is shaped by the availability of supports within the larger community and provided by institutions, as well as by policies that affect the availability of supportive services. Along with the multiple sources of parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices and their diversity among parents, it is important to acknowledge the diverse influences on the lives of children.

Children themselves are perhaps the most essential contributors to their own development. Thus, the science of parenting is framed within the theoretical perspective that parenting unfolds in particular contexts; is embedded in a network of relationships within and outside of the family; and is fluid and continuous, changing over time as children and parents grow and develop. In addition, it is important to recognize that parenting affects not only children but also parents themselves.

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As attention to early childhood development has increased over the past 20 years, so, too, has attention to those who care for young children. A recent Institute of Medicine and National Research Council report on the early childhood workforce Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, illustrates the heightened focus not only on whether young children have opportunities to be exposed to healthy environments and supports but also on the people who provide those supports.

Indeed, an important responsibility of parents is identifying those who will care for their children in their absence. Throughout its deliberations, the committee considered several questions relevant to its charge: What knowledge and attitudes do parents of young children bring to the task of parenting? How are parents engaged with their young children, and how do the circumstances and behaviors of both parents and children influence the parent-child relationship? What types of support further enhance the natural resources and skills that parents bring to the parenting role?

How do parents function and make use of their familial and community resources? What policies and resources at the local, state, and federal levels assist parents? What practices do they expect those resources to reinforce, and from what knowledge and attitudes are those practices derived? On whom or what do they rely in the absence of those resources?

What serves as an incentive for participation in parenting programs? How are the issues of parenting different or the same across culture and race? This research has provided a more nuanced understanding of the importance of investments in early childhood and parenting. Moreover, advances in analyses of epigenetic effects on early brain development demonstrate consequences of parenting for neural development at the level of DNA, and suggest indirect consequences of family conditions such as poverty that operate on early child development, in part, through the epigenetic consequences of parenting Lipinia and Segretin, This report comes at a time of flux in public policies aimed at supporting parents and their young children.

As noted above, for example, the of children living in deep poverty has grown since the mids Sherman and Trisi, The risk of growing up poor continues to be particularly high for children in female-headed households; inapproximately 55 percent of children under age 6 in such households lived at or below the poverty threshold, compared with 10 percent of children in married couple families DeNavas-Walt and Proctor, Also noteworthy is that child care policy, including the recent increases in funding for low-income families, ties child care subsidies to employment.

Unemployed parents out of school are not eligible, and job loss in subsidy loss and, in turn, instability in child care arrangements for young children Ha et al. As noted earlier, this report also comes at a time of rapid change in the demographic composition of the country. This change necessitates new understandings of the norms and values within and among groups, the ways in which recent immigrants transition to life in the United States, and the approaches used by diverse cultural and ethnic communities to engage their children during early childhood and utilize Single dad looking for mom read my ad carefully that offer them support in carrying out that role.

The United States now has the largest absolute of immigrants in its history Grieco et al. Census Bureau,and the proportion of foreign-born residents today As of25 percent of children ages in the United States had at least one immigrant parent, compared with Immigrants to the United States vary in their countries of origin, their reception in different communities, and the resources available to them.

Researchers increasingly have called attention to the wide variation not only among but also within immigrant groups, including varying premigration histories, familiarity with U. In many cases, community-level changes have overwhelmed the capacity of local child care providers and health service workers to respond to the language barriers and cultural parenting practices of the newly arriving immigrant groups, particularly if they have endured trauma.

For example, many U. Immigrants often bring valuable social and human capital to the United States, including unique competencies and sociocultural strengths. Indeed, many young immigrant children display health and learning outcomes better than those of children of native-born parents in similar socioeconomic positions Crosnoe, At the same time, however, children with immigrant parents are more likely than children in native-born families to grow up poor Hernandez et al.

Census Bureau, Over this same time, the percentage of non-Hispanic white children under age 10 declined from 60 percent to 52 percent, while the percentage of Hispanic ethnicity of any race grew from about 19 percent to 25 percent U. The above-noted shifts in the demographic landscape with regard to family structure, including increases in divorce rates and cohabitation, new types of parental relationships, and the involvement of grandparents and other relatives in the raising of children Cancian and Reed, ; Fremstad and Boteach,have implications for how best to support families.

Between andthe percentage of children under age 18 who lived with two married parents biological, nonbiological, Single dad looking for mom read my ad carefully adoptive decreased from approximately 85 percent to 64 percent. In8 percent of children lived in households headed by single mothers; bythat figure had tripled to about 24 percent Child Trends Databank, b ; U.

Meanwhile, the proportions of children living with only their fathers or with neither parent with either relatives or Single dad looking for mom read my ad carefully have remained relatively steady since the mids, at about 4 percent see Figure Black children are ificantly more likely to live in households headed by single mothers and also are more likely to live in households where neither parent is present.

In34 percent of black. From tothe of cohabiting couples with children rose from 1. Moreover, data from the National Health Interview Survey show that in30, children under age 18 had married same-sex parents andhad unmarried same-sex parents, and between 1. More families than in years past rely on kinship care full-time care of children by family members other than parents or other adults with whom children have a family-like relationship. When parents are unable to care for their children because of illness, military deployment, incarceration, child abuse, or other reasons, kinship care can help cultivate familial and community bonds, as well as provide children with a sense of stability and belonging Annie E.

Casey Foundation, ; Winokur et al. It is estimated that the of children in kinship care grew six times the rate of the of children in the general population over the past decade Annie E. Casey Foundation, In7 percent of children lived in households headed by grandparents, as compared with 3 percent in Child Trends Databank, band as ofabout 10 percent of American children lived in a household where a grandparent was present Ellis and Simmons, Black children are twice as likely as the overall population of children to live in kinship arrangements, with about 20 percent of black children spending time in kinship care at some point.

Beyond kinship care, aboutU. Of the total of children in foster care, 7 percent are under age 1, 33 percent are agesand 23 percent are ages Child Trends Databank, c. Other information about the structure of American families is more difficult to come by. For example, there is a lack of data with which to assess trends in the of children who are raised by extended family members through informal arrangements as opposed to through the foster care system.

As noted earlier, fathers, including biological fathers and other male caregivers, have historically been underrepresented in parenting research despite their essential role in the development of young children. Young children with involved and nurturing fathers develop better linguistic and cognitive skills and capacities, including academic readiness, and are more emotionally secure and have better social connections with peers as they get older Cabrera and Tamis-LeMonda, ; Harris and Marmer, ; Lamb, ; Pruett, ; Rosenberg and Wilcox, ; Yeung et al.

Conversely, children with disengaged fathers have been found to be more likely to develop behavioral problems Amato and Rivera, ; Ramchandani et al. In two-parent families, 16 percent of fathers were stay-at-home parents incompared with 10 percent in ; 21 percent of these fathers stayed home specifically to care for their home or family, up from 5 percent in Livingston, At the same time, however, fewer fathers now live with their biological children because of increases in nonmarital childbearing U.

In addition, as alluded to earlier, parents of young children face trans-formative changes in technology that can have a strong impact on parenting and family life Collier, Research conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that, relative to other household configurations, married parents with children under age 18 use the Internet and cell phones, own computers, and adopt broadband at higher rates Duggan and Lenhart, Other types of households, however, such as single-parent and unmarried multiadult households, also show high usage of technology, particularly text messaging and social media Smith, Research by the Pew Research Center shows that many parents—25 percent in.

At the same time, however, parents also are saturated with information and faced with the difficulty of distinguishing valid information from fallacies and myths about raising children Aubrun and Grady, ; Center on Media and Human Development, ; Dworkin et al. Given the and magnitude of innovations in media and communications technologies, parents may struggle with understanding the optimal use of technology in the lives of their children.

Despite engagement with Internet resources, parents still report turning to family, friends, and physicians more often than to online sources such as Websites, blogs, and social network sites for parenting advice Center on Media and Human Development, And although the relationship between media use and childhood obesity is challenging to disentangle, studies have found that children who spend more time with media are more likely to be overweight than children who do not see Chapter 2 Bickham et al.

The Single dad looking for mom read my ad carefully of the information age have included reduced barriers to knowledge for both socially Single dad looking for mom read my ad carefully and disadvantaged groups. Yet despite rapidly decreasing costs of many technologies e. A digital divide also exists between single-parent and two-parent households, as the cost of a computer and monthly Internet service can be more of a financial burden for the former families, which on average have lower household incomes Allen and Rainie, ; Dworkin et al.

The committee conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature pertaining to the questions raised in its statement of task Box It did not undertake a full review of all parenting-related studies because it was tasked with providing a targeted report that would direct stakeholders to best practices and succinctly capture the state of the science. Additional literature and other resources were identified by committee members and project staff using traditional academic research methods and online searches.

The committee focused its review on research published in peer-reviewed journals and books including individual studies, review articles, and meta-analysesas well as reports issued by government agencies and other organizations. In reviewing the literature and formulating its conclusions and recommendations, the committee considered several, sometimes competing, dimensions of empirical work: internal validity, external validity, practical ificance, and issues of implementation, such as scale-up with fidelity Duncan et al.

With regard to internal validitythe committee viewed random-asment experiments as the primary model for establishing cause- and-effect relationships between variables with manipulable causes e. Given the relatively limited body of evidence from experimental studies in the parenting literature, however, the committee also considered findings from quasi-experimental studies including those using regression discontinuity, instrumental variables, and difference-in-difference techniques based on natural experiments Duncan et al.

These include longitudinal studies and limited cross-sectional studies. When there are different sources of evidence, often with some differences in estimates of the strength of the evidence, the committee used its collective experience to integrate the information and draw reasoned conclusions. With regard to external validitythe committee attempted to take into the extent to which findings can be generalized across population groups and situations.

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