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Parenting Stress

Parenting Stress

Kirby Deater-Deckard
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 220
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  • Book Info
    Parenting Stress
    Book Description:

    All parents experience stress as they attempt to meet the challenges of caring for their children. This comprehensive book examines the causes and consequences of parenting distress, drawing on a wide array of findings in current empirical research. Kirby Deater-Deckard explores normal and pathological parenting stress, the influences of parents on their children as well as children on their parents, and the effects of biological and environmental factors.Beginning with an overview of theories of stress and coping, Deater-Deckard goes on to describe how parenting stress is linked with problems in adult and child health (emotional problems, developmental disorders, illness); parental behaviors (warmth, harsh discipline); and factors outside the family (marital quality, work roles, cultural influences). The book concludes with a useful review of coping strategies and interventions that have been demonstrated to alleviate parenting stress.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13393-6
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Alan E. Kazdin

    Current Perspectives in Psychology presents the latest discoveries and developments across the spectrum of the psychological and behavioral sciences. The series explores such important topics as learning, intelligence, trauma, stress, brain development and behavior, anxiety, interpersonal relationships, education, child rearing, divorce and marital discord, and child, adolescent, and adult development. Each book focuses on critical advances in research, theory, methods, and applications and is designed to be accessible and informative to nonspecialists and specialists alike.

    The focus of this book is on the stress that parents experience in raising children. Parenting stress is influenced fundamentally by who it is that...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. 1 Hello Baby, Hello Stress: Introduction and Overview
    (pp. 1-26)

    In his novelHow to Be Good(2001), Nick Hornby describes a mother of two who is struggling to keep her family together. Although the emphasis of the novel is on Katie’s dissolving marriage, Hornby also offers the following incisive passage as evidence of Katie’s insights about her deteriorating relationships with her children: “It hurts me and worries me to say it, but I have become less fond of Tom and Molly. I have been aware of this for a while, and have always presumed that this was perfectly normal—how could I feel the same about this quiet, occasionally...

  6. 2 Parenting Stress and the Parent
    (pp. 27-54)

    Becoming a parent thrusts you into a new world of great responsibility, many challenges, and fantastic potential for personal growth. Whether or not it is true that parenthood makes us “grow up,” there is no doubt that parenthood brings a mixture of rewards and difficulties that are at times extraordinary. For some, parenthood is a rocky road that involves concerns about their children, changes in relationships with partners, and declines and improvements in physical and mental health that affect functioning at home and at work.

    In the opening chapter, I presented theories that define parenting stress as being part of...

  7. 3 Parenting Stress and the Child
    (pp. 55-73)

    Parental distress can affect children in powerful ways. These are described as “parent effects” on children’s behavior and development. At the same time, some children are more difficult to care for than others, and the “child effect” on parents and their parenting stress can be equally strong. Parenting stress and children’s development are connected through thesebi-directional processes(parent influencing child, child influencing parent). Bi-directional processes evolve over time as the parent-child relationship develops; they are not always systematic, nor do they lend themselves to being easily observed. Children and parents alike can respond to others’ distress in a wide...

  8. 4 Parenting Behavior and the Parent-Child Relationship
    (pp. 74-94)

    The way parents feel about themselves, their situations, and their children goes hand in hand with the way parents behave toward their children. Several decades of research have shown a very consistent pattern of results. Stressful life circumstances and individual differences can operate to constrain parents’ opportunities to enjoy and be effective in their caregiving roles. The majority of the research has focused on distal, general indicators of stressors in the family, such as inadequate income or marital discord. However, more studies over the past few decades have begun to include assessments of the proximal psychological experiences pertaining to parents’...

  9. 5 Parent and Child Effects
    (pp. 95-114)

    Most of the past theorizing and empirical research on parenting has emphasized the impact of parents on their children. However, children also influence their parents, as the Duke of Windsor observed whimsically nearly fifty years ago (though I doubt that this is a uniquely American phenomenon). Parenting stress is a process, and it develops and changes over time within an enduring parent-child relationship—a relationship in which the parent and child are co-contributors. Youngsters are not passive recipients of their experiences or of their own development. The connection between parents’ and children’s behaviors is bi-directional, with each partner influencing the...

  10. 6 Family, Culture, Community
    (pp. 115-138)

    Parenting does not occur in a vacuum, and as a result some important questions arise regarding the connection between the family and the larger community. To what extent should individuals and institutions outside of the family be directly or indirectly involved in supporting or controlling adults in their roles as parents? How does parenting stress operate within each parent, in light of the fact that each parent lives in a family, community, and broader culture?

    The family exists within an ever-changing social, political, economic, and cultural milieu, all of which influence child rearing. The importance of considering these other influences...

  11. 7 Coping and Intervention
    (pp. 139-164)

    We are surrounded by messages telling us how to adapt to life’s challenges—to “just do it” or to “pick ourselves up” (usually by our bootstraps, and often followed by dusting ourselves off). Ideally, we should be able to identify what needs to be done to fix a problem and then go out there and make it right. These messages directly pertain to how we approach problem solving, including coping with stressful events or circumstances.

    In this book I have described several theories and numerous research studies that address how parenting stress arises and how it affects parenting and children’s...

  12. Appendix: Selected Studies
    (pp. 165-166)
  13. References
    (pp. 167-202)
  14. Index
    (pp. 203-208)