Academic journal article School Community Journal

Parenting for Competence and Parenting with Competence: Essential Connections between Parenting and Social and Emotional Learning

Academic journal article School Community Journal

Parenting for Competence and Parenting with Competence: Essential Connections between Parenting and Social and Emotional Learning

Article excerpt

Introduction

By midmorning, co-author Jennifer is deeply focused on writing, coaching, and educating parents on cultivating social and emotional skills in family life, but by late afternoon she is supplying healthy snacks, encouraging outdoor play, and supporting homework completion for her son. Meanwhile, in midmorning co-author Shannon is either teaching a child development class, advising a graduate student, or collecting data on social and emotional development in a preschool classroom, but by evening, she negotiates sibling rivalry, reads bedtime stories to her two children, and checks in about how the day went. Co-author Roger focuses on research, practice, and policy advancing school-family partnerships to enhance children's social, emotional, and academic learning-and he communicates regularly by Skype, text, and phone with his 30-year-old daughter and 26-year-old son about their work, relationships, and life challenges. While engaging in our professional contributions studying children's social and emotional development and how we can best support their success in school and life, we began to wonder: Why it is so challenging to translate this into practice with our own children each day? Specifically, we wondered how parents could use the extensive school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) research to help them in two ways: (1) develop their children's social and emotional competence, and (2) apply their own social and emotional competence in their everyday parenting practices.

According to a recent survey conducted by NBC News and Pearson Education, the majority of parents in the U.S. said the most critical skills for their children to learn are social and communication skills. These were considered even more important than teaching children to attain good grades or understand technology (Princeton Survey Research Associates, 2015). A different survey by Learning Heroes found that parents worried more about their children's emotional well-being and exposure to peer pressure day-to-day than they did about academic pressures or performance (Hart Research Associates, 2017). Indeed, research confirms that children who are more competent in social and emotional skills also enjoy greater happiness, confidence, and capacity to sustain and grow relationships (Albright & Weissberg, 2010; Jennings & Greenberg, 2009).

Parents in the NBC News study were also asked about their skill requirements for effectiveness in parenting. In addition to prioritizing SEL for their children, they also thought SEL was important for themselves. The majority ranked patience and understanding as the skills they most needed to be successful in their own parenting practices. Although there is a growing recognition that social and emotional skills such as these are fundamental to parents' everyday lives, there are far too few research-based resources and educational opportunities to guide them. In the present study, we aimed to extend these survey findings by examining parents' interest in SEL (for their children and for themselves) in greater depth and to consider how that interest aligns with a prominent SEL framework that has not yet been fully applied to parenting.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves acquiring and effectively applying the attitudes, knowledge, and skills to become aware of, articulate, and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, take others' perspectives while showing empathy and compassion, grow healthy relationships, and make responsible decisions (CASEL, 2015). In this article, we aim to define the scope and issues involved with parenting that may be addressed with SEL and to raise questions for advancing SEL research and practice in regards to everyday parenting. Throughout the article, we refer to "parents" and "parenting," but we consider other adults raising children (i.e., grandparents, extended family members, guardians) as "parents" as well. The framework of the Parent Development Theory offers a contemporary definition of parenting as one who combines elements of bonding or love and affection, discipline, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity, as well as sensitivity with the relative emphasis of each varying somewhat as children grow and develop from infancy through adulthood (Mowder, Rubinson, & Yasik, 2009). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.