The Challenges of Parenting Infants and Young Chidlren (Newman, B.M.(2000))
Afamily’s ability to anticipate and respond to the changing demands and developmental
capacities of young children is central to family adaptation.
One of the significant challenges of parenting infants and young children involves the
frequency with which family rhythms and patterns of daily functioning fall out of
synchronization from crawling to walking.
For example, when a baby takes its first steps, the family is thrilled. Yet this new
accomplishment requires a major family adjustment. Some families begin to babyproof
tabletops, place gates at the top of the stairs, put locks on cupboards and pantry door...
Also, walking, a major development milestone, brings demands on the family to deal
with the child in new ways.
This means that each element of a child’s development can be a stimulus for
modifications to the family system and requires a certain capacity for flexible adaptation,
emotional management and creative problem solving.
The degree to which these changes result in growth or disorganization depends on the
resources families have to cope with the events, the meaning or perception given to these
events, and the feedback from earlier efforts at adaptation.
** some people interchange ‘’parental role strain’’and ‘’Parenting stress’’but this article
thinks they are two very different constructs
Parental Role strain
a) Parental role strain emphasizes the social nature of the parental role. Four dimensions are
often considered when evaluating the impact of a role on personal development and
a. The number of roles the person occupies
b. The intensity of role involvement or how deeply identified a person is with the
c. The amount of time the role demands
d. The flexibility or rigidity associated with role enactment
Parental strain is defined as a sense of difficulty in complying with the expectations of a
role or a set of competing roles and the perception that one is not fulfilling role-related
First time parents may be especially worried about their ability to fulfill parental role
a) Definition: the balance of the positive aspects of enjoyment of one’s children, satisfaction
in enacting the parenting role, and emotional gratification of having a close, meaningful
relationship with one’s children with the negative aspects of worrying about one’s
children and how best to meet their needs.
b) Research has found that infants were more likely to have insecure attachments to both
mothers and fathers who had high parenting stress. They suggest that high parenting
stress results in psychological distance or lack of psychological availability, which
interferes with the formation of a secure bond.
c) The research on parenting hassles(an approach used to determine parent stress) suggests
that the more time a parent spends with the children, the greater the experience and
intensity of daily hassles. Transition to Parenthood
a) The birth of a child, even when planned and highly desirable, introduces disequilibrium
into a family system, requiring role adjustments, reorganization, redistribution of
resources and the formation of new relationships within the family. Thus creating stress.
b) Stress is likely to be greater for those parents who are more deeply invested in parenting
as a central aspect of identity.
c) On average, the presence of children in the family is associated with lower marital
d) But, generally, the quality of marital adjustment over the