Special Issue "Family and Parent Education: Promises, Challenges and Future Directions"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Early Childhood Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Maria Filomena Gaspar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, the University of Coimbra, 3000-115 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: family and parent education; divorce education; family therapy; parenting programs; early years intervention & education; SEL programs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Family Education is at the core of international recommendations of different types of organizations (e.g. United Nations; World Health Organization; World Economic Forum) that aim to improve the well-being of children, parents and families, especially those most often left behind.

Nevertheless there are no commonly accepted standards for family and parenting education and for the training and profile of family and parenting educators. In contrast there are highly regarded benchmarks of appropriate practice in early childhood education and adult education.

Is also common the absence of a solid an articulated national or regional parenting strategy involving the different stakeholders.

The aim of the present issue is to contribute to the advance of Family and Parenting Education as a field of study, research and intervention, deepening its promisses, challenges and future directions.

The articles in this special issue can then address the following questions: Which place for Family Education in the scientific field of the Educational Sciences? What do we mean when we refer to family interventions, named family and parenting education, compared with other kind of interventions with families (from minimal involvement with families to family therapy)? What to we expect from the parent and family educators and what kind of training should they have according to that? How can innovative teaching tools in the Internet make delivering parenting education online possible and offer new possibilities for intervention? What are the barriers and facilitators of parent education interventions, in different contexts (health, community, school, ...) and with families that face different types of risk factors and/or adversity? There is research space for a more “family-centered” approach moving from group level, variable centered research strategies to more within-family, person centered strategies? How can context-specific studies of family and parent education contribute to the design of social policies and strategies?

Dr. Maria Filomena Gaspar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Family Education
  • Parent Education
  • Family & Parent Educators
  • Positive Parenting

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
‘It Depends’: Technology Use by Parent and Family Educators in the United States
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040293 - 11 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1545
Abstract
Using data from a national sample of parent and family educators in the US (n = 697), this comparative study examines professionals’ practices and technology-related attitudes, skill and workplace conditions. Overall, professionals report positive attitudes about the value of using technology in [...] Read more.
Using data from a national sample of parent and family educators in the US (n = 697), this comparative study examines professionals’ practices and technology-related attitudes, skill and workplace conditions. Overall, professionals report positive attitudes about the value of using technology in practice and view themselves as proficient. They most frequently use technologies like the email and document preparation software, and less frequently social media and even virtual reality. Workplace resources vary significantly, educators are not motivated by employer expectations and most report self-training as more valuable than formal sources. Mean comparisons by family educator type validate differences by context. Parenting educators, occasional family educators (e.g., teachers, counselors) and Family Life Educators vary from those in Higher Education/Administration. Those in Higher Education/Administration have more technology resources, report more positive attitudes, are more confident about their skills, and view formal technology training as useful. Conclusions suggest the need for the field of parent and family education to join other educational professions (e.g., licensed classroom teachers) to embrace technology use as a critical competency and advocate for the necessary resources in the preparation and ongoing service training of professionals. Full article
Article
A Universal Early Parenting Education Intervention in Community-Based Primary Care Settings: Development and Installation Challenges
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040178 - 20 Oct 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1787
Abstract
Prevention and early intervention programmes, which aim to educate and support parents and young children in the earliest stages of the family lifecycle, have become an increasingly popular policy strategy for tackling intergenerational disadvantage and developmental inequality. Evidence-based, joined-up services are recommended as [...] Read more.
Prevention and early intervention programmes, which aim to educate and support parents and young children in the earliest stages of the family lifecycle, have become an increasingly popular policy strategy for tackling intergenerational disadvantage and developmental inequality. Evidence-based, joined-up services are recommended as best practice for achieving optimal outcomes for parents and their children; however, there are persistent challenges to the development, adoption and installation of these kinds of initiatives in community-based primary health care settings. In this paper, we present a description of the design and installation of a multi-stakeholder early parenting education and intervention service model called the Parent and Infant (PIN) programme. This new programme is delivered collaboratively on a universal, area-wide basis through routine primary care services and combines standardised parent-training with other group-based supports designed to educate parents, strengthen parenting skills and wellbeing and enhance developmental outcomes in children aged 0–2 years. The programme design was informed by local needs analysis and piloting to establish an in-depth understanding of the local context. The findings demonstrate that a hospitable environment is central to establishing interagency parenting education and supports. Partnership, relationship-building and strategic leadership are vital to building commitment and buy-in for this kind of innovation and programme implementation. A graduated approach to implementation which provides training/education and coaching as well as organisational and administrative supports for practice change, are also important in creating an environment conducive to collaboration. Further research into the impact, implementation and cost-effectiveness of the PIN programme will help to build an understanding of what works for parents and infants, as well as identifying lessons for the development and implementation of other similar complex prevention and intervention programmes elsewhere. This kind of research coupled with the establishment of effective partnerships involving service providers, parents, researchers and policy makers, is necessary to meeting the challenge of improving family education and enhancing the capacity of family services to help promote positive outcomes for children. Full article
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Article
Confident Parents for Easier Children: A Parental Self-Efficacy Program to Improve Young Children’s Behavior
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030134 - 31 Aug 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2109
Abstract
This study presents the effects on children’s behavior of Confident Parents, a focused parenting program targeting parental self-efficacy. This parenting program aims to improve child behavior through the enhancement of parental self-efficacy. Confident Parents was experimentally tested on a total sample of [...] Read more.
This study presents the effects on children’s behavior of Confident Parents, a focused parenting program targeting parental self-efficacy. This parenting program aims to improve child behavior through the enhancement of parental self-efficacy. Confident Parents was experimentally tested on a total sample of 80 parents of three-to-six-year-old preschool aged children with moderate to clinical levels of externalizing behavior. Thirty-seven parents participated in the program, and were compared with a waitlist control group (n = 43). The intervention consisted of eight weekly group sessions. Effect sizes were evaluated through both observational and parent-report measures on the child’s behavior, as well as self-reported parental self-efficacy at pretest, post-test, and a four-month follow-up. Through a multi-level analysis, predictors of the change in the child’s behavior were identified. The moderating effect of socio-economic risk and externalizing behavior at baseline were also included in the analysis. Results show that Confident Parents improved the child’s behavior, both reported by parents and, to a lesser extent, when observed in interaction with the parent. Children with higher levels of behavior difficulty benefited more while those with socio-economic risk benefited less from this program. These results illustrate that focusing a parenting program on improving self-efficacy is effective to reduce externalizing behavior in children. This underdeveloped treatment target is worthy of investigation in parenting intervention research. Full article
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Article
Web-Based Parenting Support: Development of the COPING Confident Parenting Programme
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020059 - 23 Apr 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2588
Abstract
Parents have the most significant impact on children’s development and the key parenting factors that promote child development and wellbeing are well known. Furthermore, many behavioural, social and emotional problems in children are associated with poor parenting practices. Parenting interventions that address parental [...] Read more.
Parents have the most significant impact on children’s development and the key parenting factors that promote child development and wellbeing are well known. Furthermore, many behavioural, social and emotional problems in children are associated with poor parenting practices. Parenting interventions that address parental skill deficits and teach positive parenting principles based on social learning theory are effective and are the recommended treatment for conduct disorder. Alongside the development of treatment programmes, universal parenting programmes have been developed; many present the same core parenting principles but their rationales vary from promoting children’s development to addressing common behavioural challenges and the evidence for these programmes is less well established. Most parents now have internet access and are making daily use of it, including seeking advice on parenting matters but that advice is often anecdotal and lacking evidence. In the meantime, a small number of web-based programmes, including parenting programmes have been developed and evaluated. This paper summarises the rationale for web-based universal programmes to support parents and briefly describes the history, content and a summary of the initial research on the COPING (confident parent internet guide) programme developed by the authors. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research directions. Full article

Review

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Review
The History and Usage of Parenting Newsletter Interventions in Family Life Education
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10110326 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 595
Abstract
Raising a child engages parents/caregivers in learning knowledge and skills needed for effective, healthy parenting. The field of parent and family education furnishes a variety of approaches and resources intended to assist and guide those raising and working with children. The Diffusion of [...] Read more.
Raising a child engages parents/caregivers in learning knowledge and skills needed for effective, healthy parenting. The field of parent and family education furnishes a variety of approaches and resources intended to assist and guide those raising and working with children. The Diffusion of Innovations Theory presents a clear framework for understanding how particular resources may develop and become more widely used in parent and family education. Among such resources, parenting newsletter interventions represent a unique and valuable approach to facilitating growth in parent/caregiver confidence, knowledge and skills. This paper provides an overview of the history and usage of newsletters in parent education in contexts including public health, extension and other settings. Further, it highlights key findings, challenges and future directions for parent newsletter interventions in the 21st century landscape of family life education. Full article
Review
Nurturing Family Environments for Children: Compassion-Focused Parenting as a Form of Parenting Intervention
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10010003 - 19 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2971
Abstract
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. [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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