Parent–Child Interaction. Theory, Research, and Prospects

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Parenting difficulties in to-be-divorced families were found consistently for boys but not for girls. Results suggest that the difficulties found among boys after divorce may be linked with parenting problems that begin before divorce. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide. Parental functioning and children's adjustment in families of divorce: A prospective study.

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The measured self-esteem of children from broken, rejected, and accepted families. Journal of Divorce, 2 , — Google Scholar. Block, J. The personality of children prior to divorce: A prospective study.

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Child Development, 57 , — Parental functioning and the home environment in families of divorce: Prospective and concurrent analyses. Buchanan, C. Caught between parents: Adolescents' experience in divorced homes. Child Development, 62 , — Camara, K. Interparental conflict and cooperation: Factors moderating children's post-divorce adjustment.

Arasteh Eds. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Cameron, J. Parental treatment, children's temperament, and the risk of childhood behavioral problems: 1.

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Relationships between parental characteristics and changes in children's temperament over time. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 47 , — Cherlin, A. Longitudinal studies of effects of divorce on children in Great Britain and the United States. Science, , — Chess, S. Origins and evolution of behavior disorders from infancy to early adult life. Early parental attitudes, divorce and separation, and early adult outcome: Findings of a longitudinal study.

Emery, R. Interparental conflict and the children of discord and divorce. Psychological Bulletin, 92 , — Marriage; divorce, and children's adjustment. Beverly Hills: Sage. Glick, P. The role of divorce in the changing family structure. Karoly Eds. New York: Gardner Press. Recent changes in divorce and remarriage.

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Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48 , — Hess, R. Post-divorce family relationships as mediating factors in the consequences of divorce for children. Journal of Social Issues, 35 , 79— Hetherington, E. Children and divorce. Henderson Ed. The therapist then chooses sequences to review with the parent, to create a link between the parent's initial question and the therapist's idea of what kind of support the child needs.

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The second best choice is where the needs of the child are displayed. The parent is encouraged to practise in everyday situations, and the process continues with new recordings, analyses and joint reflections. Modern developmental psychology and attachment theory emphasize the quality of the everyday interaction for the development of the child. In interaction treatment "in vivo" the therapist and the parent use ordinary everyday life situations as points of departure. The work is framed by the work assignment and the situations can be planned by the therapist and the parent s together or utilized as they arise.

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Interaction treatment "in vivo" is guided by the same understanding of a child's need for dialogue as Marte Meo. Since the structure is less well-defined "in vivo", the therapist faces other challenges, e. The aim of this part of the treatment is to enhance the parent's own ability to mentalize [ 38 ], i. Moments of intersubjectivity — the sharing of lived experience — are considered indispensable both for the therapeutic relationship and for the child's development [ 18 ].

Interaction treatment "in vivo" involves the joint reflection of therapist and parent and the child may also take part if that is felt to be appropriate with regard to age and other circumstances.


The port of entry in interaction treatment "in verbis" is the parent's representations, e. There may also be focus on the parent's own attachment history. It might for example be of help for parents to reflect upon how their own avoidant attachment behaviour was quite an appropriate strategy when they were children, but that the situation is now different, with new possibilities both in relation to their partners and in their ways of meeting their own children's needs of a secure base.

Parents may also have a strong wish not to repeat their own parents' way of bringing up children — for example by using threats or violence — but realize that they lack alternative models. Obstacles in the parent's history are often referred to as "the ghosts in the nursery" [ 40 ], but together with the exploration of painful memories it can be valuable to identify "the angels in the nursery", i.

In accordance with the ecological perspective, collaboration with the families' private and professional network is also often taken into account. The aim may be to give the family access to resources from other micro-systems; to develop connections fraught with conflict between micro-systems e. This longitudinal multi-centre study includes fathers, mothers and children in parent-child interaction interventions at four treatment centres in Sweden.

Since one of the fundamental principles behind these interventions is that the parents have the right to define the problems and to take an active part in planning the intervention, it is logical to focus on the parents' experience of change. The self-report measurements used in this study cover those areas, presented earlier in the text, that have been shown to be of importance for good parenting and child development.

These aspects were: the parents' experience of parental stress, parental attachment patterns, the parents' mental health and life satisfaction, the parents' social support and the children's problems at the outset of the treatment T1. They are all outpatient departments. Treatment is voluntary, but some parents may nevertheless feel themselves coerced into complying with the wishes of social authorities for them to participate in the intervention. The therapists at the centres all have degrees e. Some of the therapists have acquired additional qualifications in, for instance, cognitive psychotherapy and family therapy.

In spite of organizational differences at the centres, the shared theoretical foundation, essential features in their therapeutic approach and the elements in the intervention programme described above justify the idea of including them all in a multi-centre study. This study is based on a consecutive sample of all parents who commenced treatment during three years at one of these four centres Figure 1.

The study excluded parents displaying substantially impaired cognitive capacity due to acute and serious mental reactions. Of the five families excluded for that reason, four were refugees seeking political asylum. In all, parents 94 mothers and 60 fathers in families agreed to participate in the study. Altogether the families had children taking part in the treatment Table 1. The children's ages varied from unborn the treatment started towards the end of pregnancy up to year-olds, with a median age of 3.

The parents' ages varied between 18 and 49 with a median age of This means that Swedish-born parents were somewhat overrepresented in the study compared to society as a whole, but the parents born abroad dominated among the parents excluded for reasons of health. One-third of the parents taking part in the study were either unemployed or on sick leave, which constitutes a considerably higher proportion than in the population as a whole. The parents may themselves contact the centres or be referred to them by child health care, social services, preschools or some other body Table 1.

Contact cause Table 2 is always related to the interaction between the parent and the child.