Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 3

By Marc H. Bornstein | Go to book overview

13
Stages of Parental Development
Jack Demick
University of Massachusetts Medical School

INTRODUCTION

A recent chapter (Demick, 1999, p. 177) on parental development began with the following paragraphs:

I have a seven year-old daughter and a four year-old son. After recently being instructed to wear a coat in below freezing temperatures, my daughter informed me that she did not have to comply with my directive because she was accountable to only two people in the world: God and Bill Clinton. During a recent dinner conversation in which my daughter was asking about foreign languages, my son's eyes piqued as he asked, “Dad, how do you say 'vagina' in Spanish?” Not usually at a loss for words, I needed several moments to regain cognitive equilibrium before attempting to respond to these novel and unexpected stimuli.

While numerous life events have the potential to lead to higher stages of development and, specifically, to foster cognitive development, the experience of parenthood as one such life event is a relatively unequivocal example. As Berger (1994, p. 478) has noted, “From the birth of a first child, which tends to make both parents feel more 'adult'—thinking about themselves and their responsibilities differently— through the unexpected issues raised by adolescent children, parenthood is undoubtedly an impetus for cognitive growth” (Feldman, Biringen, and Nash, 1981; Flavell, 1970; Galinsky, 1981). That not only cognitive but also psychosocial development is affected by parenthood has been supported by several sources of work reported in our (Demick, Bursik, and DiBiase, 1993) recently edited volume on Parental Development.

Since that time, my daughter and son, now aged 15 and 12 years, respectively, have continued to supply unexpected stimuli, though differing in content and form. These stimuli, which have necessitated the continued reestablishment of dynamic equilibrium in my self-world relationships, or in what I have alternatively termed my person-in-environment system (e.g., Wapner and Demick, 1998), have clearly been occasions for my own cognitive and psychosocial development. As Gutmann

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Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents of Volume 3: Being and Becoming a Parent vii
  • Preface xi
  • Contents of Volume 1: Children and Parenting xv
  • Contents of Volume 2: Biology and Ecology of Parenting xvii
  • Contents of Volume 4: Social Conditions and Applied Parenting xix
  • Contents of Volume 5: Practical Issues in Parenting xxi
  • About the Authors in Volume 3 xxv
  • Part I - The Parent 1
  • 1 - Mothering 3
  • References *
  • 2 - Fathers and Families 27
  • References *
  • 3 - Coparenting in Diverse Family Systems 75
  • References *
  • 4 - Single Parenthood 109
  • References *
  • 5 - Grandparenthood 141
  • References *
  • 6 - Adolescent Parenthood 173
  • References *
  • 7 - Nonparental Caregiving 215
  • References *
  • 8 - Sibling Caregiving 253
  • References *
  • 9 - Parenting in Divorced and Remarried Families 287
  • References 310
  • 10 - Lesbian and Gay Parenthood 317
  • References *
  • 11 - Parenting and Contemporary Reproductive Technologies 339
  • References *
  • Part II - Becoming and Being a Parent 361
  • 12 - The Transition to Parenting 363
  • References *
  • 13 - Stages of Parental Development 389
  • References *
  • 14 - Personality and Parenting 415
  • References *
  • 15 - Parents' Knowledge and Expectations: Using What We Know 439
  • References *
  • 16 - Parental Monitoring and Knowledge of Children 461
  • References *
  • 17 - Parent Beliefs Are Cognitions: the Dynamic Belief Systems Model 485
  • References *
  • 18 - Parental Attributions 509
  • References *
  • 19 - Parental Attitudes Toward Childrearing 537
  • References 559
  • 20 - Psychoanalysis and Parenthood 563
  • References *
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