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Ask the Experts

Question:

How would parenting styles be a focus of attention in the mental health setting?

Answered by: Anne Marie Albano

Over 50 years of research has established a negative cycle of child and parent interaction in the maintenance of many mental health and behavioral problems in children.

While the research does not seek to assign "fault" or blame, it does make clear that certain parenting practices and styles can serve to increase disruptive behavior or, at the very least, maintain it. Hence, specific parenting strategies and parenting programs have been developed, tested, and proven effective in changing undesirable behavior in children and adolescents.

Specialized interview techniques and observations of the parent-child interaction can help to identify non-effective parenting behavior and then through parent education and therapy, teach effective parenting strategies to increase appropriate and healthy behaviors in the child and in the parent-child relationship.