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Dana McDermott, Ph.D. (2002)
School for New Learning, DePaul University

This is taken from a draft of a publication in preparation by D. McDermott entitled "Parenting education from k-12: Theoretical and empirical background and support." Portions of this material were prepared with support from New York State toward implementation of the parenting education requirement for high school graduation. It will be useful for many projects that call for theoretical framework and resources. This document may be duplicated for educational or advocacy purposes with acknowledgement of authorship.

References are listed at www.preparetomorrowsparents.org/references.html



While specifically depicting the New York State standards, this example of application of parenting education to state standards will inform work in other states as well. The importance of the topics addressed by the New York State scope of instruction is supported in the literature and research on parenting and families. Following are some references that support or inform the work within the structure of the three standards. Many of the topics addressed are supported in the four volumes of the Handbook on Parenting by Bornstein (1995). (Look for the forthcoming second edition for recent research updates). Classical primary and secondary resources and some parenting texts for parents and parent educators are also included. For more information about the New York State parenting education requirement for high school graduation, go to www.emsc.nysed.gov/part100/pages/parentingqa.html

Standard One - Roles and responsibilities
(see also chart below)

Roles and responsibilities
Brown (1998) reviews parent roles and responsibilities in her clear, succinct web site resource as do Smith et al. (1994) in their cooperative extension parenting education model. Small (1990) and Simpson (2001) identify parent roles with teens. I (McDermott, 1997) wrote an article on roles for parents of preschoolers that can be applied to all ages. Galinsky (1987) delineates changing parent roles over the lifespan. Hildebrand’s (2000) high school text and Brooks college text are user friendly. Curran (1983) provided a useful list of parent roles for healthy families. Turner & West (1998), in their comprehensive text on family communication review theories and research on parent roles in depth.

Steffensmeier (1982) in her important study identified what “work” needed to be done to ease the transition to parenthood. Heinicke (1995) updates this research. Tomison (1998), O’Connor (1990) and most recently Brazelton & Greenspan (2000) make a very strong case for preparation for parenthood throughout a child’s education. Luster & Youatt (1989) demonstrated that this training can be effective. Brooks (2001) in her comprehensive parenting text also provides useful data and suggestions for this preparation.

Parenting, society and the law
Holden (1997) identifies what parents need to be effective and makes a strong case for the policy implications for families. Chalk & King (1998) identify legal information related to violence prevention. Several chapters in the Bornstein series address these topics. Garbarino & Kostelny (1995) summarize parenting and public policy needs. Pagliocca et al., 1995 review parenting and the law. Dorr & Rabin (1995) and Simpson (1997) address the evidence of the media’s effect on children.

Standard Two - Human Growth and Development
(see also chart below)

Human growth and development
For decades theorists and researchers have pointed to the need to understand and address the developmental and personal needs of parents as a prerequisite to addressing child needs. Shanook (1990) in working with at-risk parents provides the theory of parent self needs along with concrete programs that address them. The work of Belenky et al. (1986, 1997) is informative and inspiring in terms of respectful methods of working with parents. Galinsky (1987) matches her description of child needs/tasks at all stages over the lifespan with parent needs/tasks. Baker & Baker (1987) summarize the self-psychology theory informing some of these programs. Newman & Newman (1988) have a fascinating article on how parents develop because they are parents. Several other researchers delineate how other parent statuses affect parenting (Vondra & Belsky, 1993). In addition, Field (1995) addresses parental depression and Tinsley & Leads (1995) look at health issues. Heins & Seiden (1987) wrote one of the best texts on parent and child- care over the lifespan with a special emphasis on physical health.

Care and guidance
There are many books and web sites addressing the developmental needs of children (Brooks, 2001; Elkind, 1994; Galinsky, 1987; Brazelton & Greenspan, 2000). Tinsley & Leads (1995) and Heins & Seiden (1987) speak to questions of health; Fagot (1995) and Peplau et al.(1999) to gender and Carey (1997) and Shick (1998) to temperament. Turner & West (1998) and Simpson (2001) review many of the questions posed within the construct of quality parent-child communication.

Standard Three - Support Systems and Services
(see also chart below)

Relationship building in the family
Curran (1983), Simpson (2001), Brooks (2001) and Smith et al.(1994) describe parental roles in relationship building. Greenspan (1985; 1997) has done a masterful job of demonstrating how parents facilitate both a child’ emotional and intellectual development. Gottman (1997), Elias, Clabby & Friedlander (2000), Doherty (1997) and Taffel (1999) provide some of the most accessible, inspiring and empowering parent books on this topic. Several researchers and practitioners help us understand culture and ethnicity (Garcia- Coll et al.,1995: Harkness & Super, 1995; Bavolek, 1997; Gonzalez-Mena, 1997).

Resources outside the family
Cochran & Niego (1995) provide us with the breadth of possible networks of support. Garbarino & Kostelny (1993, 1995) delineate environmental stresses and needed neighborhood and community supports. Belenky et al. (1997) provide us with a hopeful and inspiring review of how women have been building community and supporting families. Brooks (2001) provides a chapter on social supports for families. Tracy & Whittaker (1999) provide a tool for assessing social support. Check the FSA.org web site to learn of the activities of the national advocacy organization Family Support America.

Protecting the health and safety of children
Once again Simpson (2001), Smith et al. (1994) and Holden (1997, Ch. 8) tell us what must be done for children. Mayes (1995) and deBecker (1999) remind us of how factors like parental substance abuse jeopardize child safety. The thorough report by Gaudin (1993b) provides us with background information on strategies to overcome threats to child safety. De Becker provided a parent’s guide to child safety that all of us can use. Finally, Brazelton & Greenspan (2000) remind us of the irreducible needs of children.

Many resources that support parenting education for children and teens are available to help educators and advocates feel confident and competent in their important roles of preparing tomorrow’s parents today. These include a combination of basic and applied research studies, elementary school, high school and college texts, general parent books and ever changing and updating web sites.

Roles and Responsibilities of Parenting
Roles and responsibilities
Changing roles at all stages over the lifespan Smith et al., 1994; Brown, 1998; Galinsky, 1987; Hildebrand, 2000; Turner & West, 1998;
Roles to sustain healthy family relationships Curran, 1983;Brooks, 2001; Turner & West, ‘98
Roles for parents - preschool/elementary Brooks,2001; Galinsky, 1987;McDermott, 1997
Roles for parents of preteens and teens Simpson, 2001; Small, 1990
Pre-parenthood preparation in schools Tomison, 1998; O’Connor, 1990; Brazelton & Greenspan, 2000; Luster & Youatt, 1989
Transition to parenthood Steffensmeier,1982;Heinicke,1995;Brooks,2001
Parenting, Society and the Law
Effect of the law on parenting and the family Chalk & King, Ch. 5; Pagliocca, Melton, Weiscz & Lyons, 1995
Parenting and public policy issues and needs
Holden, 1997; Brazelton & Greenspan, 2000; Garbarino & Kostelny, 1995
Effect of the media on parenting and children
Dorr & Rabin, 1995; Simpson, 1997

Human Growth and Development

Human Growth and Development
Growth of parents (personally, cognitively, emotionally) as a prerequisite to effective and fulfilling parenting Baker & Baker, 1987; Newberger, 1980; Shanook, 1990; Belenky, 1986,1997; Galinsky, 1987
Overcoming internal/external obstacles to growth e.g. family history, depression Field, 1995; Vondra & Belsky, 1993
Growth of parents as an outcome of parenting Galinsky, 1987; Newman & Newman, 1988
Growth of parent/child with focus on health Heins & Seiden, 1987; Tinsley & Leads, 1995
Care and Guidance of Children
Meeting the developmental needs of children Elkind, 1994; Brazelton & Greenspan 2000; Galinsky, 1987; Brooks, 2001
Meeting the health needs of children Tinsley & Leads, 1995; Heins & Seiden, 1987
Understanding temperament-goodness of fit Carey, 1997; Schick, 1998
Understanding gender issues Fagot, 1995; Peplau, et al., 1999
Communicating to promote growth Turner & West, 1998; Simpson, 2001

Support Systems and Service

Relationship Building in the Family
Quality of parent-child relationships needed Simpson, 2001; Smith, et al., 1994; Brooks, 2001
Facilitating emotional and intellectual growth Greenspan & Greenspan, 1985; Greenspan, 1997; Elkind, 1994
Considering the impact of culture and ethnicity on parenting Bavolek, 1997; Harkness & Super,1995; Garcia Coll et al.,1995; Gonzalez-Mena, 1997
Promoting emotional intelligence Gottman,1997;Elias,Clabby & Friedlander,2000
Nurturing families, traditions, strengths Taffel, 1999; Curran, 1983; Doherty, 1997
Resources Outside the Family
School, work, agency, government resources FSA.org; Brooks, 2001, Chapter 11; Tracy & Whittaker, 1999
Social networks of support for empowerment Cochran & Niego, 1995; Belenky, et al., 1997
Environmental stresses, potential resources Garbarino & Kostelny, 1993, 1995
Protecting the Health and Safety of Children
Topic of health and safety within the home, school, neighborhood, and society Smith et.al.,1994; Simpson, 2001; Garbarino & Kostelny, 1995; Holden, 1997, Chapter 8, Brazelton & Greenspan, 2000
Parental drug abuse as impeding child safety Mayes, 1995; deBecker, 1999, Ch. 14
Strategies to promote child safety Gaudin, 1993b; deBecker, 1999


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