Effective parenting is a learned skill and is not a set of instinctive behaviors. Parental roles are derived from many factors (e.g., the family of origin, family myths and scripts, parental skills, knowledge and level of differentiation, socioeconomic and cultural factors, and the marital relationship). Family interactional patterns develop in a predictable pattern over time. The family rules that develop out of these patterns can be functional or dysfunctional. Functional rules are workable and constructive, promoting the needs of all family members. Dysfunctional rules are contradictory, self-defeating, and destructive.
There is a genetic plan for the growth and development of the physical body. In the same way, there is a biological plan for intelligence that is genetically encoded within the individual and drives the child from within. At the same time, parents provide an anxiety-conditioned view of the world that conflicts with the child’s nature. Many of the problems of parenting are caused by people ignoring this plan of nature. When parental expectations of child behavior are inconsistent with the reality of a developmental stage (i.e., bladder/bowel training) conflicts arise that may result in dysfunctional parenting.
A family is seen as a natural social system, with its own set of rules, definition of roles, power structure, and methods of communicating, negotiating, and problem-solving that provides a means of dealing with the process of daily living. These family patterns are largely unconscious and set the emotional tone. These systems are multigenerational, with underlying family dynamics affecting all members in some way. These patterns may be functional or dysfunctional.
PARENT ASSESSMENT DATA BASE
- Difficulty sleeping
- Broad range of feelings (e.g., calm to hysterical) may be noted
- May display increasing tension and disorganization (e.g., anger, frustration, crying, depression); may repeat the same question over and over
- Defense mechanisms (e.g., denial, rationalization, defensiveness, intellectualization, projection)
- Multiple stress factors, changes in relationships
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, powerlessness
Difficulty eating, loss of appetite
General appearance of family members (neat or disheveled; clean or odious) may be indicators of coping ability, state of denial, presence of crisis
Behavior: Upset, anxious, rapid speech or quiet and withdrawn; appropriate or inappropriate
- Family Genogram: Determine patterns between family members and generations and identify potential positive and negative dynamics
- Family structure: May be traditional 2-parent, or single-parent (mother or father as head), blended (stepfamily), or other nontraditional structure
- Lack of/limited support (presence of/geographic distance and degree of involvement of extended family)
- Some family member(s) may not seem to be experiencing symptoms of stress or may possibly have changed their usual patterns of interacting
- Varied socioeconomic/cultural factors (e.g., financial status, inclusion of extended family, family myths and beliefs, sense of community)
- Multiple losses/crises (e.g., death, divorce, other separations, frequent relocation)
- History of period of family disorganization often present
- Child-rearing practices may be ineffective; dysfunctional/ineffective communication patterns present
- History of child abuse/sexual abuse
- Promote positive feelings about parenting abilities.
- Involve parents in problem-solving solutions for current situation.
- Provide assistance to enable family to develop skills to deal with present situation.
- Facilitate learning of new parenting skills.
- Parenting role, expectations, and responsibilities understood.
- Aware of own strengths, individual needs, and methods/resources to meet them.
- Demonstrates appropriate attachment/parenting behaviors.
- Involved in activities directed at family growth.
- Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.