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newman (2000) article summary

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NUR1 221
Shari Gagne

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 interpersonal behaviour: a. The number of roles the person occupies b. The intensity of role involvement or how deeply identified a person is with the role 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 obligations.  First time parents may be especially worried about their ability to fulfill parental role expectations. Parenting Stress 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 satisfaction. d) But, generally, the quality of marital adjustment over the
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