Parenting styles and strategies

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Parenting styles and strategies in the AIFS library catalogue

Being healthy and ready to learn is linked with family and neighborhood characteristics for preschoolers

Moore K
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2020.
"Because families are the first nurturers and educators of their children, it is helpful for policymakers and other stakeholders to understand how family characteristics, the activities in which families engage, and their neighborhood circumstances are associated with preschool children's health and readiness for learning. The analyses presented in this brief examine the associations between various family and neighborhood factors and the extent to which a child is reported to be healthy and ready to learn, using data from the 2017 and 2018 waves of the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) for children ages 3 to 5 [in the United States]. Key findings: Several key factors are consistently related to how healthy and ready to learn a preschool child is found to be, even when we take account of (statistically control for) social, economic, and demographic factors. [These are] Family characteristics and activities; The parent's physical and emotional well-being; The family's neighborhood."--Introduction.

Social-emotional wellbeing from childhood to early adolescence: the benefits of supporting parents

Rioseco P, Warren D and Daraganova G
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2020
This paper summarises key findings from a research report on how children's mental health is affected by their parents' parenting and health behaviours. The report used linked data from Medicare and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) to examine the association between children's social-emotional adjustment from the pre-school years up to early adolescence and parenting behaviours, parental mental health, and parents' smoking and alcohol use. The study found that mothers' mental health and health behaviours had a significant effect on children's social-emotional adjustment. Positive parenting behaviours had a significant positive effect - even during difficult family times - and hostile parenting had a significant negative impact. However, the findings also highlight the value of intervention: children's social-emotional wellbeing could be improved by improvements in parenting behaviours at any stage during childhood

Children's social-emotional wellbeing: the role of parenting, parents' mental health and health behaviours : working paper

Rioseco P, Warren D and Daraganova G
Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2020.
Children's social-emotional adjustment is influenced by a range of different factors, including parenting behaviour and parental mental health. This paper investigates this further, using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). It examines the association between children's social-emotional adjustment and parenting behaviours, parental mental health, and parents' smoking and alcohol use, from before birth through to early adolescence. The study found that mothers' mental health and health behaviours had a significant effect on children's social-emotional adjustment. Positive parenting behaviours by mothers had a significant positive effect on children, while hostile parenting was associated with the largest differences in children's social-emotional outcomes at all ages. Children whose mothers experienced moderate or high levels of psychological distress were more likely to be at an increased risk of social-emotional difficulties at every age, and even mental health problems in pregnancy were associated with later problems for children. However, the findings also highlight the value of intervention: children's social-emotional wellbeing could be improved by improvements in parenting behaviours at any stage during childhood. Note, findings focus largely on mothers due to the availability of data but some findings for fathers are also included.

The relationship between parent and child mental health : taking a family systems perspective in support services.

Gibson M, Johnson S and Field K
Peer-reviewed papers from the FRSA 2019 National Conference : new horizons - building the future, paving the way. Fyshwick, ACT : Family & Relationship Services Australia, 2019: 4-15
This paper explores the relationship between parent and child mental health and the role of family adjustment. It analyses data supplied by 399 parents attending Family Mental Health Support Services or Family and Relationship Services at drummond street services, in Melbourne, Victoria, regarding their presenting child's mental distress and behaviour problems, the parent's own mental health, parenting style, and family adjustment. The findings highlight the importance of a whole-of-family approach for improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and parents. There was evidence of transference of mental health between parents and children, varying across child age groups, and that adult mental health indirectly predicted child mental health through the role of family adjustment and coercive parenting.

Sources of ethnicity differences in non-cognitive development in children and adolescents

Nguyen H, Connelly L, Thu Le H, Mitrou F, Taylor C and Zubrick S
Indooroopilly, Qld. : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2019.
Though research has found that children of Asian immigrants have better academic performance than their native-born counterparts in many English-speaking countries, how well are they faring in other, non-cognitive developmental outcomes? Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), this paper looks at the outcomes of pro-social behaviour, hyperactivity and inattention, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and peer-relationship problems, comparing children with at least one Asian-born parent, children with two Australian-born parents, and children with at least one parent from another immigrant background, for children aged from 6/7 to 14/15 years old. A particular focus is whether the home environment, parental investments, or children's efforts are associated with any differences. The study finds large differences between the children. However, the results vary significantly by trait, child age, and by whether a parent or teacher made the assessment.

A cross-sectional study on intergenerational parenting and attachment patterns in adult children of parents with mental illness.

Patrick P, Reupert A and McLean L
Child and Family Social Work v. 24 no. 4 Nov 2019: 601-609
This article explores how growing up with a parent with mental illness affects children's own parenting style and relationships later in adulthood. It compares the views of 86 adults on parenting, adult attachment, and relationship satisfaction, comparing adults with a parent with a mental illness and adults from the general population. The study found little difference between the groups, though the adult children of parents with mental illness were found to be more permissive in their parenting and may need additional parent education.

Child socioemotional skills: the role of parental inputs

Moroni G, Nicoletti C and Tominey E
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2019.
This paper investigates the impacts of various parental inputs on children's socio-emotional skills, and thus whether their would be a policy benefit in targeting these factors to help address child disadvantage. Research suggests that inequalities in socio-emotional and cognitive skills are present before children start schooling and persist across their childhood and into adulthood. Using data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, it compares six parental inputs - sensitive parenting, routines in parenting, parental time investment, family income, mother socio-emotional skills, and mother cognitive skills - with children's socio-emotional skill formation from ages 6 to 11. It also compares the degree of complementarity and substitutability between these different types of inputs.

Nurse home visiting for families experiencing adversity : a randomized trial.

Goldfeld S, Price A, Smith C, Bruce T, Bryson H, Mensah F, Orsini F, Gold L, Hiscock H, Bishop L, Smith A, Perlen S and Kemp L
Pediatrics v. 143 no. 1 Jan 2019: e20181206
This article reports on an evaluation of right@home, a nurse home visiting program targeting pregnant women with risk factors known to negatively impact children's learning and development. The program aims to improve parent care, parent responsivity, and the home learning environment, and is delivered by a multidisciplinary team of nurses and social care practitioners based in universal child and family health services. A trial of the program has been conducted in Victoria and Tasmania, with 722 women taking part from pregnancy to when their child was aged 2 years old. The evaluation found the program was well received, had high retention rates, and improved parenting and the home environment. Particular improvements were seen in more regular child bedtimes, safer home environments, warmer and less hostile parenting, parental involvement in children's learning, and more social interactions with other adults. The findings suggest the program could be integrated into child and family health services at scale.

The influence of child care on the behavior problems of children of teenage mothers.

Edwards B and Yu M
Children and Youth Services Review v. 94 Nov 2018: 96-104
This article looks at behaviour problems in the young children of adolescent mothers, the role of family stressors, and whether attending centre-based childcare can help. A sample of 317 children aged 1-3 years of age were studied, all born to teenage mothers receiving income support. The article examines prevalence of externalising and internalising behaviour problems and the family stress factors of economic strain, maternal mental health, and harsh parenting. The study found that attending centre-based childcare was associated with a reduction in internalising problems, though not externalising problems.

Handbook of parenting and child development across the lifespan.

Sanders M and Morawska A
Cham, Switzerland : Springer, 2018.
This book explores how parents and parenting influence child development. The topics are: How parents influence children's development; The effects of parenting on children's development; Determinants of parenting; Tasks and challenges of parenting and child development across the lifespan; Supporting parenting; and Implications for policy and practice. The chapters, many written by Australian academics, include: The importance of parenting in influencing the lives of children; Biological factors in parenting and child development; Parent?child relationships and attachment; Social learning influences: modelling, instructions, consequences; Effects of the parents' relationship on children; The role of fathers in supporting children's development; Trauma and parenting: considering humanitarian crisis contexts; Parenting and human brain development; Effects of parenting on young children's language and communication; The effects of parenting on emotion and self-regulation; Peer and sibling relationships; Schooling and academic attainment; Children?s health, physical activity, and nutrition; Children with developmental disorders; Child characteristics and their reciprocal effects on parenting; Self-regulation and parental mental health; Parental cognitions: relations to parenting and child behavior; Family structure and the nature of couple relationships: relationship distress, separation, divorce, and repartnering; Social support and relationships with family and friends; Cultural background and religious beliefs; Work, poverty, and financial stress; Long-distance parenting: the impact of parental separation and absence due to work commitments on families; Communities, neighborhoods, and housing; Policies and services affecting parenting; Preparation for parenthood; Parenting of infants and toddlers; Parenting of preschool and school-aged children; Parenting of adolescents and emerging adults; Parenting of adult children: a neglected area of parenting studies; Parenting and carer responsibilities during the later years; The impact of poverty and discrimination on family interactions and problem development; Role of universal parenting programs in prevention; Parenting and family intervention in treatment; Towards a comprehensive, evidence-based system of parenting support over the lifespan; Economic benefits of sustained investments in parenting; and Future directions for research, policy, and practice

Predictors of learning outcomes for children with and without chronic illness : an Australian longitudinal study.

Barnett T, Giallo R, Kelaher M, Goldfeld S and Quach J
Child : Care, Health and Development v. 44 no. 6 Nov 2018: 832-840
Chronically ill children often do poorly at school. This article investigates whether there are risk and protective factors that teachers, doctors, and parents can address. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), it compares child, family, and school factors for children at the start of school, at age 6/7 years old, and academic performance in later childhood at age 10/11 years old. The findings indicate that a child's approach to learning, consistent parenting style, and family socioeconomic position are strong predictors of learning outcomes for all children, but even more so for children with a chronic illness.

Paternal psychological distress, parenting, and child behaviour : a population based, cross-sectional study.

Gulenc A, Butler E, Sarkadi A and Hiscock H
Child : Care, Health and Development v. 44 no. 6 Nov 2018: 892-900
Research has found that poor maternal mental health and parenting style are risk factors for child behaviour problems, but what about fathers? This article investigates the association between fathers' psychological distress and parenting style and behaviour problems in children at 3 years of age. Data was taken for 669 fathers participating in a broader study. Mothers' mental health and parenting was also considered. The findings indicate that fathers also have an impact on their children's behaviour, through psychological distress, harsh discipline, or overinvolved parenting, and need to be involved in any interventions aimed at addressing behaviour problems.

The impact of childhood parental quality on mental health outcomes in older adults.

Burns R, Loh V, Byles J and Kendig H
Aging and Mental Health v. 22 no. 6 2018: 819-825
Research has found that parental bonding affects a child's mental health right up until early adulthood - but what about into old age? Using data from the Australian Life Histories and Health study, for 1,255 people aged 60?64 years old, this article looks at whether quality of parental bonding is associated with mental health outcomes at an older age. This article adds to the evidence on the impact of parenting quality over the life-course.

Adjustment of refugee children and adolescents in Australia : outcomes from wave three of the Building a New Life in Australia study.

Lau W, Silove D, Edwards B, Forbes D, Bryant R, McFarlane A, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Steel Z, Nickerson A, Van Hooff M, Felmingham K, Cowlishaw S, Alkemade N, Karta D and O'Donnell M
BMC Medicine v. 16 2018: Article 157
This article examines how well refugee children and adolescents are adjusting to life in Australia. Caregivers of 694 refugee children aged 5-17 years old were asked about family structure and parenting style, local community and neighbourhood environment, and children's physical health and activity, school absenteeism and achievement, peer relations, and social and emotional adjustment, 2-3 years after arrival. Data was taken from Wave 3 of the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) study. The findings indicate the majority of these children and young people are adjusting well: however, implications for targeting prevention, screening and intervention efforts are also briefly discussed.

The effect of post-traumatic stress disorder on refugees' parenting and their children's mental health : a cohort study.

Bryant R, Edwards B, Creamer M, O'Donnell M, Forbes D, Felmingham K, Silove D, Steel Z, Nickerson A, McFarlane A, Van Hooff M and Hadzi-Pavlovic D
Lancet Public Health v. 3 no. 5 May 2018: e249-e258
The mental health of refugee parents is thought to play a role in their children's own mental health, but the evidence is mixed and limited. This article adds to the research with data from 'Building a New Life in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants' - a large, longitudinal, representative sample of resettled refugees and their children. It investigates the impact of a history of trauma and postmigration stress on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in caregivers, the impact of caregiver PTSD on their parenting style, and the mental health outcomes of their children, including conduct problems, hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, and peer problems. The findings indicate that PTSD in refugees is associated with harsh parenting styles, leading to adverse effects on their children's mental health. There is also evidence for a direct association between caregiver PTSD and children's emotional difficulties.

The structure of challenging parenting behavior and associations with anxiety in Dutch and Australian children.

Majdandzic M, Lazarus R, Oort F, Sluis C, Dodd H, Morris T, Vente W, Byrow Y, Hudson J and Bogels S
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology v. 47 no. 2 2018: 282-295
This study adds to the research on the parenting behaviours that can protect against or increase the risk of childhood anxiety disorders. It investigates whether 'challenging parenting behaviour' (CPB) plays a protective role: in this type of behaviour, parents - particularly fathers - encourage children to take risks, practice social assertion, and explore unfamiliar situations through such practices as exposure to safe risks, giving the child a fright, and rough-and-tumble play. It compares the use of this parenting behaviour in mothers and fathers of preschool children from two countries - Australia and the Netherlands - and examines whether it predicts child anxiety symptoms and disorders. 312 families with 3- to 4-year old children took part. The study also evaluates the appropriateness of an instrument for measuring this behaviour: the Challenging Parenting Behavior Questionnaire (CPBQ4-6).

Relative/kinship and foster care: a comparison of carer and child characteristics.

Delfabbro P
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2017.
This report presents a new analysis of baseline data from the Pathways of Care longitudinal study (POCLS) of out of home care in New South Wales. It looks at the differences between foster care and kinship care, in terms of the characteristics, service needs and vulnerabilities of carers and the characteristics, wellbeing and outcomes of children who are placed into these types of care. The findings are discussed in the context of other research into out of home care. The findings highlight differences in the care environment that these children will grow up in, from their age, health, and finances of the carers to the style of parenting they exhibit. It also finds that children placed with grandparents tend to be faring better developmentally and in terms of their socio-emotional functioning: however, it is not possible to draw causal conclusions about the relationship between different types of care and child outcomes at this stage.

Longitudinal trajectories of mental health in Australian children aged 4-5 to 14-15 years.

Christensen D, Fahey M, Giallo R and Hancock K
PLoS ONE v. 12 no. 11 5 Jun 2017: e0187974
This article explores how children's mental health changes over time and into adolescence. Using parent-reported data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), it examines mental health symptoms from 4-5 to 14-15 years of age and associations with the key risk factors of child temperament, maternal mental health, maternal warmth and hostility, and socioeconomic status. The findings show that a range of independent factors contribute to children's mental health in the preschool years, and that these factors vary in their impact over time. With few exceptions, the interaction with time never completely ameliorates the initial gaps based on risk factor exposure. For example, differences in child mental health driven by education and neighbourhood disadvantage persist through to adolescence.

Sources of variation in the income gradient in child mental health: evidence from Australia

Khanam R, Perales F and Nghiem S
Indooroopilly, Qld : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2017.
Income has a significant impact on child physical health, but less is known about its association with mental health. This paper adds to the evidence with an analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). It examines the association between family income and child mental health and the role of other factors such as maternal health and positive parenting practices. A key aspect of this research is that it considers differences in how children and adults rate child mental health, and whether any impact of income varies depending on who assesses child's mental health. Policy and intervention implications are also briefly discussed.

Low income and poverty dynamics: implications for child outcomes

Warren D
Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Social Services, 2017.
Many studies have shown a strong negative association between poverty and children's developmental outcomes, but it isn't clear whether it is low income itself - or the complex set of circumstances that lead to poverty - that is responsible. This report adds to the evidence with an analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). It examines the association between childhood poverty and a range of children's developmental outcomes, investigates the characteristics of children who have experienced relative income poverty and financial disadvantage, and estimates the extent to which the influence of poverty on various outcomes is an indirect influence resulting from differences in parental investment in cognitively stimulating activities or differences in parenting style. The implications for policy interventions are also briefly discussed.

Negative reactivity and parental warmth in early adolescence and depressive symptoms in emerging adulthood.

Lloyd B, Macdonald J, Youssef G, Knight T, Letcher P, Sanson A and Olsson C
Australian Journal of Psychology v. 69 no. 2 Jun 2017: 121-129
Reactive temperaments - in particular with intense, frequent or excessive negative reactions - appear early in life and pose a risk for depressive symptoms. As there is evidence suggesting that relationships between negative reactivity and adolescent depressive symptoms may be moderated by parental warmth, this article explores this further with data from the Australian Temperament Project. It investigates risk and protective factors in early adolescence at age 13-14 years old and depressive symptoms in emerging adulthood at age 19-20 years old, with a particular interest in gender differences.

The effect of low parental warmth and low monitoring on disordered eating in mid-adolescence : findings from the Australian Temperament Project.

Krug I, King R, Youssef G, Sorabji A, Wertheim E, Le Grange D, Hughes E, Letcher P and Olsson C
Appetite v. 105 Oct 2016: 232-241
This article investigates whether parenting style is associated with eating disorders in adolescence. Using data from the Australian Temperament Project, for 1,300 children in Victoria, it compares low parental warmth and monitoring at 13-14 years old and later disordered eating attitudes and body dissatisfaction by 15-16 years old. The article discusses the findings and the differences among boys and girls.

What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children

Harold G, Acquah D, Sellers R and Chowdry H
London : Dept. for Work and Pensions, 2016.
This report summarises the research evidence on the role of the couple relationship on children's development. It investigates the associations between the relationship between parents, positive versus negative parenting practices, and long-term outcomes for children, as well as interventions designed to improve the relationships between parents - overseas and in Great Britain. Sections include: Types of outcomes that children experience; Why does the inter-parental relationship matter?; Contextualising the role of inter-parental conflict relative to other family influences on children; Consideration of additional factors that may affect how inter-parental conflict influences children; The potential economic and fiscal benefits of improved inter-parental relationships; Types of interventions; Strengths and limitations of the review; Fifteen Interventions by level of evidence; and Implications for policy and practice. This report was commissioned to inform the British Government's 2015 Spending Review and 'Life Chances Strategy'.

The family life course and health : partnership, fertility histories, and later-life physical health trajectories in Australia.

O'Flaherty M, Baxter J, Haynes M and Turrell G
Demography v. 53 no. 3 Jun 2016: 777-804
Research suggest that people's health in later-life reflects the occurrence and timing of social patterns over an individual's life, including the presence and timing of parenthood, marriage, and marital disruption. This articles builds on the research by investigating the impact family life-course trajectories on physical health, from ages 18 to 50, for men and women in Australia. Data is taken from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The findings indicate that - for men - family-life journeys characterised by early family formation, no family formation, an early marital disruption, or high fertility are associated with poorer physical health. However, for women, only those who experienced both a disrupted marital history and a high level of fertility were found to be in poorer health.

Australian parenting and adolescent boys' and girls' academic performance and mastery : the mediating effect of perceptions of parenting and sense of school membership.

Phillipson S and McFarland L
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 25 no. 6 Jun 2016: 2021-2033
This article adds to the evidence on how parenting relates to adolescents' academic outcomes. It investigates whether parenting behaviours - including parental warmth, anger, consistency and self-efficacy - are related to adolescents' academic performance and mastery, and whether this relationship is mediated by the adolescents' perceptions of parenting and their sense of school membership. Data was taken from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Gender differences are discussed.

When a non-resident worker is a non-resident parent : investigating the family impact of fly-in, fly-out work practices in Australia.

Dittman C, Henriquez A and Roxburgh N
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 25 no. 9 Sep 2016: 2778-2796
This article investigates the impact of non-resident work arrangements - such as Fly-In/Fly-Out (FIFO) - on children and families, and the family- and work-related factors that are associated with different outcomes. Surveys were conducted by 46 FIFO workers, 232 partners of FIFO workers, and a comparison group of parents, regarding family and couple relationship quality, family conflict, child behavioural and emotional adjustment, parenting style, parenting competence, and personal adjustment, emotional problems, and alcohol use. The implications have findings for supporting FIFO families.

Dynamics of parental work hours, job insecurity, and child wellbeing during middle childhood in Australian dual-income families

Lam J, O'Flaherty M and Baxter J
Indooroopilly, Qld : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2016.
Though parental employment provides important resources for children's wellbeing, it may also be associated with parental time availability, stress levels, and family relations. This paper looks at the relationship between parental employment characteristics and child well-being during middle childhood in dual-earner families, using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). It examines changes in the association between parental work hours, job insecurity and child wellbeing, within and across parent-child relationships, and consider gender differences and possible mediators, including measures of parenting style and work-family balance.

Family income and child cognitive and noncognitive development in Australia : does money matter?

Khanam R and Nghiem S
Demography v. 53 no. 3 Jun 2016: 597-621
This article investigates whether money has an impact on children's wellbeing and behaviour. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, it compares parental income and children's development and considers whether this is mediated by any other factors, such as parental stress and health, parenting style, and neighborhood characteristics. The study found that though children from wealthier backgrounds tend to do better at school, they're not any happier or better behaved than children from less-privileged families.

Fathers at work : work-family conflict, work-family enrichment and parenting in an Australian Cohort.

Cooklin A, Westrupp E, Strazdins L, Giallo R, Martin A and Nicholson J
Journal of Family Issues v. 37 no. 11 Aug 2016: 1611-1635
This article investigates whether fathers' experience of family balance conflict or enrichment from work influences their parenting style and behaviour. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, it investigates the association of work-family conflict and work-family enrichment with parenting warmth, irritability, and consistency. Father mental health, working hours, income, occupation, family size, sole-earner status, country of birth, and child personality are also considered.

Trajectories of fathers' psychological distress across the early parenting period : implications for parenting.

Giallo R, Cooklin A, Brown S, Christensen D, Kingston D, Liu C, Wade C and Nicholson J
Journal of Family Psychology v. 29 no. 5 Oct 2015: 766-776
Father mental health issues have been found to be associated with emotional-behavioural problems in their children. This article investigates whether parenting style is the mechanism behind this association. It uses data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) to examine patterns of psychological distress in fathers and the key parenting behaviours of warmth, hostility, and consistency over time. The findings highlight the importance of intervention and support for new parents.
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