Surveillance

To be effective in managing children's lives, parents must keep track of the whereabouts and activities of the child. This important regulatory function performed by parents (or their proxies) we call surveillance. Most commonly, surveillance has been thought of as keeping track of the child and of the environmental conditions to which the child is exposed so as to protect the child from harm (Darling & Steinberg, 1993; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1991; Lozoff, 1989; Patterson,

DeBaryshe, & Ramsey, 1989). There are concerns about sexual predators, exposure to violence on TV, risk of injury, and involvement with deviant peers, among many others (Dorr, Rabin, & Ireland, 2002; Finkelhor, Mitchell, & Wolak, 2000; Peterson, Ewigman, & Kivlahan, 1993). However, surveillance also includes observations of the child and the environment designed to determine how much the physical and social environment affords the child for productive and enjoyable engagements.

Social Integration

For anthropologists, it is accepted as axiomatic that a major goal of parenting is to effectively connect children to the social fabric of society (Weisner, 2002), for it is in connecting to important social networks and groups that children are most likely to thrive. To a large degree, Coleman's (1988) argument in behalf of the importance of social capital (resources achieved through social connections) makes much the same point. Scott-Jones (1995) discusses the value of parental efforts to help their children to become effectively engaged in school as an avenue for high achievement. She mentions that parental expectations are often a means of increasing such engagement. Nickerson (1992) presents evidence that one way parents help children forge productive connections with learning institutions is through modeling and sharing stories about their own involvement in education. Indeed, there is reason to believe that parents may help children forge productive connections to a variety of social networks and organizations through their own involvement in such networks. Pianta and Walsh (1996) use systems theory notions as a framework for elucidating how families forge productive partnerships with schools. They mention taking children to school for visits, family involvement in school activities and assisting children with homework as examples. They also include deliberate encounters with teachers and other school personnel. There is emerging evidence that parental involvement in schools increases school engagement and that school engagement increases student achievement.

Does careful attention to these six parenting tasks promote positive adaptation in children? The most straightforward answer is: The research is incomplete. However, there is suggestive evidence. For example, we conducted a study of 243 premature, low-birth weight children living in chronic poverty. The purpose was to determine whether the availability of protective factors in the home environment at age 1 and at age 3 increased the probability of resiliency. Resiliency was operationalized as being in good to excellent health, being within the normal range for growth, not being below clinically designated cutoffs for maladaptive behavior on the Child Behavior Checklist, and having an IQ of 85 or greater. Six home environment factors were considered potentially protective: (a) low household density, (b) the availability of a safe play area, (c) parental acceptance and lack of punitiveness, (d) parental responsivity, (e) the availability of learning materials, and (f) variety of experiences. The first two would be classified under the category, sustenance; the second two under the category, support; and the final two under the category, stimulation. Fifteen percent of the children with three or more protective factors present in the home at age 1 were classified as resilient. By contrast, only 2% of children with two or fewer protective factors were classified as resilient. Similarly, 20% of children with three or more protective factors present in the home at age 3 were classified as resilient, whereas only 6% of children with two or fewer protective factors were resilient (Bradley, Whiteside, et al., 1994).

Although research findings indicate that parents can be instrumental in moving their children along a positive developmental course, even the best parenting is no guarantee. The evidence does not show that parenting is highly deterministic of children's long-term well-being but rather that it combines with other influences in quite complex ways (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington, & Bornstein, 2000).

The Polarity Path

The Polarity Path

The Effects Polarity Has on Career and Health. Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success At Understanding Polarity. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To The Effects Polarity Has on Career and Health.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment