Parenting skills and child development

Impact of Parenting Skills on Child Development


The study of human growth examines different steps and characteristics related to the development of human from the fetus to adult age. All kinds of people have been studied by the developmental science to come to a conclusion that matches every human being on the earth with no prejudice of ethnicity, race, culture, religion and gender identification. Although, nature and nurture constitute one of the most debating subjects regarding human development. While nature is referring to genetic aspect of life, nurture refers to the environmental aspect that influences everything surrounding  one’s life, including family habits, preference for food, school, culture, society, religion and more. The nature-nurture debate has many other names, among them heredity-environment, maturation-learning, nativist-empiricist. Under whatever name, the basic question is: How much of any characteristic, behavior, emotion results from genes and how much from experience? (Berger, 2010). Therefore, it is important to consider how parents have been engaged in the development of their children in their pathway of becoming adolescents then adults. The genetic aspects of life development based on nature are innate. However, the learning behaviors fostered by the nurturing process depend on the environment in which a child is raised in compliance with the boundaries of his family. Thus, study the impact of parental skills on psychosocial and socio-cultural development of children toward adolescence age reveals indispensable. Therefore, understanding the multiple aspects of life development would be keys for parents to master on developing parenting skills. These keys will help to foster healthy relationships among the families, and set the ground for positive outcomes. The reality is, parents have been responsible for the outcomes of their children, and therefore, they aim to play different roles in child’s life development. Researchers spent years to come up with programs that scientifically demonstrated the capability of parents to improve nurturing and the inappropriate behaviors.


Recognizing the importance of developing parenting skills seems to be a taboo subject for many parents who are unaware of scientific research made in this area to improve child development. Surprisingly, many parents are not aware of the minimum impact parenting education can bring on the long-term life changing in youth outcomes. According to Coei et al 1993, preventive intervention researchers have in a complementary fashion proposed that well-specified theatrical models of developmental processes provide the foundation on which effective preventive interventions are built (Irwin N, et al, 2011). In this article, Irwin addressed two issues: What are the long-term effects of such program on child outcomes? Then what processes account for these long-term effects. To understand how parenting programs have long term effects from theories to normal development, it is indispensable to review the psychosocial affect at different steps of development. In reference with Sigmund Freud and Eric Erickson, either the psychosexual stage or the psychosocial stage represent the ground in which life development for each individual is rooted. Failing to experience the expected input during any of the respective periods could have serious negative implication on youth outcomes. Therefore, research based experience helps on preparing effective parenting programs to help parents develop basic parenting skills. Parenting intervention could be diverse, but, each time any component from any intervention is devoted to promote aspects of effective parenting, the identified intervention is called parenting. There are many aspects to address, and researchers have different views on which one to put emphasis on as responsible for effective youth outcome. According to Bornstein, effective parent-child relationships are most often characterized as one that includes high levels of nurturance, uses of effective control strategies and support of children in accomplishing normative development tasks (Irwin N, 2011). In the article Long-Term Impact of Prevention Programs to Promote Effective Parenting: Lasting Effects but Uncertain Processes: Irwin demonstrated that the findings of the 46 randomized trials provide evidence that interventions that include a parenting component led to improvements across a broad range of youth problems, outcomes and competencies from 1 to 20 years following the interventions. Irwin stated that the changes include problems with high individual and social costs, such as mental disorders, child abuse, substance use, delinquency, risky sexual behavior, and academic difficulty. The study proves the efficacy of parenting interventions in improving long-term outcomes for youth.


Parenting education focuses on the consistency of different components that represent the dynamics of development. Within the system, age level needs to be understood for appropriate interventions that can align with the predominant dynamic to avoid crisis. The multidirectional component of life development helps to understand the dynamic system with changes that accompany each individual. However, each person accounts for about 20,000 genes, some of these will pass down from generation to generation, and influence the main characteristics of many individuals in a different way. Lisa A. Serbin and Jennifer Kart, present a study in an article: The Intergenerational Transfer of Psychosocial Risk: Mediators of Vulnerability and Resilience. The study focus on intergenerational studies that predict increased risk to offspring that is both specific and general. They insist that many intergenerational models involve a set of complex predictors and a potential set of complex interrelated outcomes. They took as one example: The risk to children of parents with histories of behavioral problems, including aggression and antisocial behavior, is both specific for repeating their parents behavior pattern and general in terms of broad elevation of risk for a wide variety of negative outcomes ranging from pediatric injury and illness to school failure, adolescent risk-taking behavior, early parenthood, and problematic patterns of parenting. Key findings include the mediational effects of parenting and environmental factors in the transfer of risk. In both girls and boys, childhood aggression and antisocial behavior appear to predict long-term trajectories that place offspring at risk. Squeals of childhood aggression that may threaten the well-being of offspring include school failure, adolescent risk-taking behavior, early and single parenthood, and family poverty. These childhood and adolescent behavioral styles also predict harsh, aggressive, neglectful, and unstimulating parenting behavior towards offspring. Buffering factors within at-risk families include maternal educational attainment and constructive parenting practices (e.g., emotional warmth, consistent disciplinary practices, and cognitive scaffolding). These findings highlight the potential application and relevance of intergenerational studies for social, educational, and health policy. This study lets us know that genetic factors have a major influence on life development, therefore; good parenting skills will help with coping skills and alleviate the possibility of risk factors that can impair positive outcomes. Many intergenerational studies have childhood observations of only one of the G1 parents (as the other parent usually was not part of the original sample). Obviously, as children have two biological parents (and potentially more than two individuals raising them), the histories of these individuals ideally should be included in designs which attempt to examine the effects of current parenting and environment while controlling for parental history (Serbin & Stack 1998). When considering parenting skill development programs, it is important to include not only maternal parents but also the paternal parents as well as anyone in the family who is a prospective care giver for children living in the household. Behavior could be genetics passed down, however; learning behavior starts first in the family with everyone who has interaction with children in a household and continue with the outsiders such as neighbors, classmates, teachers, religious figures, now the social Media. To avoid eminent danger, eliminate the risk factors, parenting skills class reveals the most important step to take. Knowing the complexity of parenting, attending a particular class is advised to all categories of people, intellectual or low level of education, rich or poor regardless the ethnicity or race. The danger is eminent and will have an effect at every level of the society. Origin of negative behavior could be different, but the consequences will be the same for everyone.

Socialization process: As children are growing, they need to adapt to certain processes that will dominate their existence in society. This process is known as socialization process, usually taught by family members or whoever represents a caregiver for any children. Within the process, moral values and social conventions are thought for children to develop their automated system on how to answer the day to day life question. Joan E. Grusec In her article:

Socialization Processes in the Family: Social and Emotional Development, putting emphasis on parenting involvement regarding how children learn moral values and parenting conventions. She stated that the process is bidirectional and involves a complex interplay between evolutionary predispositions and genetic and socio-cultural factors. Parent intervention is a key factor in every area of child development, but each domain necessitates different interventions. Socialization is not a one way process, with parents transmitting societal standards to their children. Children are active agents in the process (Kaczynski, 2003). The meaning of this statement is that parents cannot be alone in the process of teaching their children the moral values and societal norms, children need to be part of any plan, because they are ready biologically to enter the process. Human society does not function well in the absence of a sense of moral purpose and a cooperative stance toward others. And the first and most important place in which these are acquired is in the family (Joan E. 2003). Most behaviors find their source in original family, because behaviors are learned. The quality of parenting education that helps develop values and societal norms influences children within their interaction in the society they will be called to perform in.

Early life experience and Human development: Many factors need to be taken in consideration when it comes to debate on parenting capacity and multiplicity of capability. As stated before parents are the center of success or failure of their children. Saying that does not mean children who fail in life need to blame the responsibility on their parents, and successful children may not have anything to congratulate parents for either. However, parents remain the remote control by guiding their children through life development. They cultivate preference, give direction, inform decision and monitor life style by setting up boundaries to follow. James J. Heckman in his article: Early Life Experience and Human Development, state that parents play a central role in human development. Capability formation starts early in life. Capabilities are formed from interactions with environments, parents, siblings, and schools (James J Heckman, 2014). The interactions that are created between the family members link the future of each and other for multiple generations and improve cultural backgrounds that are typically reflected in the family dynamic through generations. Parents have a role to maintain positive behavior, and develop new capacity to improve parenting skills, then link the family members for long-term within generations. Central concepts are complementarity, dynamic complementarity, and multiplicity of capabilities. The importance of the timing of receipt of parental income over the life cycle of the child in shaping child outcomes has been exaggerated in the recent literature. Policies that foster greater investments in capabilities are effective not only in reducing inequality, but in improving economic productivity (James J Heckman, 2014). Parenting skills will impact the life of children either positive or negative, poor skill usually fosters negative impacts, such as drug use, gang activities, early pregnancy, juvenile delinquency and much more while effective parenting skills would set the bases for a bright future.

The preparation of this research paper is based on four reviews touching different disciplines about parenting skills or parenting education. Although, each article puts emphasis on parents as the center piece to pass down the necessary value capable to promote success for long-term outcomes of children. Effective parenting is a process with no end for parents who want success for their children, parents impact the life of their children within interactions that develops between the family members. The psychosocial and socio-cultural aspect of life are generally characterized by what the family passes down across generation by their own teaching method. These methods are monitored at all stages of the life cycle with attachment, interaction and trust. Children, after leaving their parents’ home, keep the same practice and stay in touch with parents to assure their well-being while believing in parent wisdom. The complexity of life development makes it difficult to identify good parenting, because many of us are unaware of psychological aspects controlling the different stages of life span. There is no specific action that would be accounted for positive parenting, but a perception of action the receiver would rather identify the quality attached to the action. Children need to feel safe, they need to know that someone cares for them and understands them in their personal world. Parenting education would teach parents how to facilitate the rapport that can foster good connections between not only parents and children, but also with anyone who is a prospective child caregiver. These approaches will avoid emotional problems and help maintain family connection. The methods applied for parenting education will provide tools for social behaviors, create new structure, and develop clear rules for appropriate behaviors.


Grusec, J.E. (2011) Socialization Processes in the Family: Social and Emotional Development Annual Review of Psychology Vol. 62: 243-269 (Volume publication date January 2011) First published online as a Review in Advance on August 17, 2010 DOI: 0.1146/annurev.psych.121208.131650 Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3 Canada Retrieved from:

Heckman, J.J. (2014) Early Life Experience and Human Development Annual Review of Economics Vol. 6 (Volume publication date September 2014) Department of Economics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637. Retrieved from:

Lisa A. Serbin, L.A.; Karp, J. (2004) The Intergenerational Transfer of Psychosocial Risk: Mediators of Vulnerability and Resilience Annual Review of Psychology Vol. 55: 333-363 (Volume publication date February 2004) First posted online on September 29, 2003 DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.54.101601.145228 Center for Research in Human Development, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H4B 1R6.
Retrievedfromefrom: .1146/annurev.psych.54.101601.145228?prevSearch=parenting&searchHistoryKey=

Irwin, N; et al (2011) Long-Term Impact of Prevention Programs to Promote Effective Parenting: Lasting Effects but Uncertain Processes. Annual Review of Psychology Vol. 62: 299-329 (Volume publication date January 2011) First published online as a Review in Advance on September 7, 2010 DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.121208.131619 Prevention Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizon

Kathleen Stassen Berger (2011); The Developing Person Through the Life Span