Academic journal article Family Relations

Parents and the Dynamics of Child Rearing

Academic journal article Family Relations

Parents and the Dynamics of Child Rearing

Article excerpt

Holden, G. W. (1997). Parents and the Dynamics of Child Rearing. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 235 pages. Paperback ISBN 0-8133-3031-9, price: $19.00.

In this book, George Holden provides an excellent, wideranging overview of research on child rearing. As he notes, the relevant theories are largely isolated from each other, and the work toward integrating those perspectives has barely begun. His book highlights many completed sections of the overall puzzle of understanding child-rearing. Along the way, he identifies some potentially crucial missing pieces. According to Holden, the best possibility for integrating the disjointed puzzle sections is a dynamic view of parenting that emphasizes the ongoing adjustments parents make and the processes or mechanisms they use. These processes have not been studied thoroughly, however, so most of them are missing pieces in the overall picture.

The book begins with an excellent chapter on the history of child-rearing advice and research and a second chapter describing five major theories of parenting (ethology, attachment, social learning, ecological systems, and behavioral genetics) and three specific approaches relevant to Holden's dynamic view of parenting (Vygotskian scaffolding, Bell's system control model, and attribution theory). Chapter 3 covers six approaches to the empirical investigation of parenting which emphasize traits, social learning, social addresses, momentary processes, child effects, and parental beliefs. Chapter 4 summarizes influences on parenting, some internal and some external to the family. The title of the central fifth chapter highlights a crucial weakness in the literature: "Associations between parenting and children's outcomes. …

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