The style of parenting a child receives has profound long-term impacts on that child’s life. Yet, the rates of child maltreatment globally are high (in both developing and developed countries), indicating that many children around the world are being raised in toxic environments. Evidence-based parenting programs (EBPPs) have been demonstrated to have positive impacts on improving parenting style, whilst reducing childhood social, emotional and behavioural problems. EBPPs originated out of a need to address externalizing behaviour problems and to address conduct problems, and compliance became a key target of these parenting models. Thus, many EBPPs were developed in an era where operant and social learning theory-based approaches to parenting were most prominent and these parenting models still prevail today. This paper has one major aim—to demonstrate how the next generation of EBPPs need to be grounded in evolved caring motivational systems and affiliative emotion processing, which requires an understanding of the evolved processes involved in parent-offspring caring. This new approach to parenting is called, ‘compassion-focused parenting’, and this new approach to parenting will be described.
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