14 SES 09 B, Family Learning, Parental Knowledge, Competence and Expectations
Parenting competence is a family issue which deserves social and education attention given the effects it might produce on children's development. These effects can be classified in four main areas: 1) Physical Health and Safety (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2015); 2) Emotional and Behavioral Competence (Osofsky and Fitzgerald, 2000), 3) Social Competence (Durlak et al., 2011) and 4) Cognitive competence (Gottfried, 2013). Research shown that these effects affect children´s behavior not just at home but also at other contexts they interact with, as the school, the community and their peers. Children's healthy self-regulatory practices and positive habits required for academic success might derive from positive parenting competences. These effects might affect all developmental stages of the children, but of course, children are more vulnerable when they are small (from 0 to 8 years old); this suggests deeper research should be done on this developmental stage. The importance of parenting competences increases when considering the many circumstances that may make family life difficult nowadays (Ram &Hou, 2003): both parents working outside at the same timetable, difficulties to conciliate family, work and personal times (Baxter & Alexander,2008), the variety of family typology (Amato, 2010), the pressure for children's academic achievement, school absenteeism, the risk associated to a misuse of information and communication technologies and social networks, among others, are some of the factors affecting the quality of family coexistence and parents-children relationships. Due to these and other factors, some parents feel stressful and doubt about being able to cope with their parenting responsibilities; especially when their children are adolescents and their mutual interactions might become tense. In order to prevent family conflicts associated to children's behaviour, effective parenting competences are necessary since children are small and parents have the opportunity to positively influence their behavior through modeling as observational learning (Alvero, Austin, 2004; Bandura, Grusec, Menlove, 1966). Positive parenting means, among other competences, being assertive and authoritative, able to control the own-emotions, to build a positive self-esteem, to communicate respectfully with children and to solve common problems by negotiating, not imposing. In order to identify parenting competences and the extend parents need support in this regard, valid and reliable scales should be built taking into consideration the age of the children.
Taking these ideas into consideration, the objective of this study is to analyse the metric characteristics of the Parenting Competence Scale for Small Children (0-6 years old) based on the Emotional and Social Parenting Competence Questionnarire by Martínez-González (2009). The original scale was adapted with the aim to identify key emotional and social parenting competences in parents with small children and to assess the extend they might need educational support on this matter. This objective is framed into the Council of Europe Recommendation 2006/19 on Policies to Promote Positive Parenting in Europe. The scale includes items on parenting competences regarding three main domains: 1) knowledge-cognition (facts, information, and skills gained through experience or education), 2) attitudes-motivation (viewpoints, reactions about parenting roles or child development), and 3) practices-behavior (parenting approaches to childrearing).
Participants 1684 Spanish parents with small children from 0 up to 6 years old took part voluntarily in the study. The sample was selected at random in the region of the Principality of Asturias (North of Spain) considering 3% of margin of error and 99% confidence level. Gender distribution was 802 male-fathers (47.62%) and 882 female-mothers (52.37%). As for educational level: 44.2% higher education; 39.6% high school; and 16.2% compulsory education. Research Instrument and data analysis Parents were asked to fill in the Emotional and Social Parenting Competence Questionnarire (Martínez-González, 2009) composed of 39 items Likert type scale of four alternatives (from 1-Total Disagreement to 4-Total Agreement). The initial reliability of the scale analyzed through Cronbach Alfa (Cronbach, 1951) was .824, excellent, according to George and Mallery (2003). The Classical Test Theory was considered to analyse both items characteristics and the structure of the scale (Kerlinger, 2002; Muñíz, 2005). Missing values were checked with MCAR test (Little, 1998) and their estimation was made by Expectation-Maximization method (Dempster, Laird&Rubin, 1977; Pigott, 2001). Adjustment of items to normal distribution was consider if skewness and kurtosis values were within the interval [2, 7] (Curran, West y Finch, 1996). The whole sample was randomly divided in two subsamples with 842 participants each one in order to study the factor structure or construct validity. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was carried out on the first subsample; the cases of application were verified by Kaiser–Meyer–Olkim (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy (Kaiser, 1974) and Bartlett’s test of sphericity (Bartlett, 1950). A factor loading >0.40 was established as criterion for factors variable retention. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was carried out with the second subsample correlating error measurements (Byrne, 2001), to do a cross-validation (Browne and Cudeck, 1993). The scale’s internal consistency or reliability was estimated by using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (Cronbach, 1951); it was also calculated if the items were deleted, as well as the corrected item-total correlation. Lastly, concurrent validity was analysed by using Pearson correlation between the resulting factors and external items, previously selected as criterion. These items were given to participants together with the questionnaire to be answered at the same time.The responses to these items were based on the same Likert scale used in the questionnaire’s items in order to facilitate correlation analysis. Collected data were loaded and analysed using SPSS 18.104.22.168 and AMOS 22.0.0.
Both Exploratory and Confirmatory factor analysis established five factors explaining 42.7% of variance. These factors were made up of 15 items from the initial ones. The resulting factors were named “Self-regulation”-Factor1, "Self-Esteem"-Factor2, "Assertive Communication"-Factor3, "Imposition"-Factor4 and "Non-Assertive Communication"-Factor 5. An optimal level of internal consistency was found for the total scale (Cronbach's α=.69), with the following values on each factor: .78- Factor 1; .69-Factor 2; .58-Factor 3; .63-Factor 4 and .58-Factor 5. The scale obtained seems a valid and reliable measure of emotional and social parenting competences for parents with small children. The factors obtained are in line with the parenting competences described by the specialized literature on the matter, mentioned in the theoretical background on this proposal. It can be used to assess both parenting competences and parenting programmes delivered with parents with small children. Suggestions for further analysis include exploring possible associations between the factors obtained and relevant socio-demographic family diversity variables such as gender and parents' educational level. Discussion on the findings should take into consideration the Council of Europe Recommendation (2006)19 on Policies to Support Positive Parenting in Europe.
Alvero A.M, Austin J. (2004). The effects of conducting behavioral observations on the behavior of the observer. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 37, 457–468 Amato, P. R. (2010). Research on divorce: Continuing trends and new developments. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(3), 650–666. Bandura A, Grusec J.E, Menlove F.L. (1966). Observational learning as a function of symbolization and incentive set. Child Development, 37, 499–506 Baxter, J., & Alexander, M. (2008). Mothers' work-to-family strain in single and couple parent families: The role of job characteristics and supports. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 43(2), 195-214. Council of Europe (2006). Recommendation Rec(2006)19 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on Policy to Support Positive Parenting. Explanatory Report. Strasburg. Durlak JA, Weissberg RP, Dymnicki AB, Taylor RD, Schellinger KB (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1):405–432. Gottfried AW (2013). Home Environment and Early Cognitive Development: Longitudinal Research. London, UK: Academic Press; 2013. Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1999). Análisismultivariante (5ª ed.) [Multivariate analysis (5th ed.)]. Madrid: Prentice Hall. Institute of Medicine and National Research Council (2015); Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success; Board on Children, Youth, and Families. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Allen L, Kelly BB, editors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Kaiser, H. F. (1974). An index of factorial simplicity. Psychometrika, 39, 31–36. doi:10.1007/bf02291575. Kerlinger F.N. (1964). Foundations of Behavioural Research. New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston. Martínez González, R.A. (2009). Programa-Guía para el Desarrollo de Competencias Emocionales, Educativas y Parentales [Programme-GuidefortheDevelopment of Emocional, Educative and ParentingCompetences]. Madrid, Ministerio de Sanidad y Política Social. Muñiz J. (2005). Classical test models. In B.S. Everitt and D. C. Howell. Encyclopedia of Statistics in Behavioral Science (Vol.1: 278-282). Chichester: UK, John Wiley & Sons Ltd Osofsky JD, Fitzgerald HE. (2000). Handbook of Infant Mental Health. Vol. 1. Chichester, UK: Wiley; 2000. Pigott, T. D. (2001). A Review of Methods for Missing Data. Educational Research and Evaluation,7(4), 353-383.
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