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Beyond nature vs. nurture: Parental guidance boosts child's strengths, shapes development
Date:12/2/2010

initiate trajectories, sometimes trying to steer their child in a preferred developmental path based on either the parents' preferences or their observations of the child's characteristics and abilities, such as enrolling their child in a class, exposing them to people and places, or taking a child to practices or lessons;

  • Parents also sustain their child's progress along trajectories with encouragement and praise, by providing material assistance such as books, equipment or tutoring, and by allocating time to practice or participate in certain activities;

  • Parents mediate trajectories, which influences how their child perceives and understands a trajectory, and help their child steer clear of negative trajectories by preparing the child to deal with potential problems;

  • Finally, parents react to child-initiated trajectories.

    Trajectories are useful images for thinking about development because one can easily visualize concepts like "detours," "roadblocks" and "off-ramps," Holden says. Detours, he says, are transitional events that can redirect a pathway, such as divorce. Roadblocks are events or behavior that shut down a potential trajectory, such as teen pregnancy, which can block an educational path. Off-ramps are exits from a positive trajectory, such as abusing drugs, getting bullied or joining a gang.

    Holden says there are other ways parents influence a child's progress on a trajectory, such as through modeling desired behaviors, or modifying the speed of development by controlling the type and number of experiences.

    Some of the ways in which children react to trajectories include accepting, negotiating, resisting or rejecting them, he says.

    "Some factors that also can influence trajectories include the family's culture, their income and family resources, and the quality of the parent-child relationship," says Holden. "What this model of parenting helps to point out is that effec
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  • Contact: Margaret Allen
    mallen@smu.edu
    214-768-7664
    Southern Methodist University
    Source:Eurekalert

    Page: 1 2 3 4

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