The article by title Impact of the parenting style of foster parents on the behavior problems of foster children by Maria J. Fuentes is about a study that seeks to assess the prevalence of behavior problems among foster children and the role played by the quality of the emotional relationship with foster carers and the kind of discipline they use as regard internalizing and externalizing problems among foster children. Additionally, the article seeks to aid foster parents to acquire positive parenting strategies and avoiding authoritarian and permissive parenting. The study published in the article was part of a project of excellence funded by the Government of Andalusia.
The participants for this study
The participants for the study were 104 foster children (56 boys and 48 girls) and their respective 86 foster families which corresponds to71 foster fathers and 86 foster mothers. At the time of data collection, the mean age of the foster children was 11 years old while that of their foster mothers and foster fathers was 46.6 years and 47.9 years respectively.
The methodology used to collect data
First off, contact to foster families and information about the foster placements was sanctioned and provided by the child protection services. The foster parents were administered with both the Rules & Demands scale and the Affect & Communication scale. The former comprised of 30 items distributed across three factors (10 items each) while the latter comprised of 20 items distributed across two factors (10 items each). Factor 1 of the Affect & Communication scale evaluated the warmth, interests, and communication expressed by foster parents in relation to the foster child while factor 2 assessed the degree of criticism or rejection shown by foster parents towards the foster children. Conversely, the three respective factors that the Rules and Demands scale assessed were; authoritative parenting (explanation of rules and an explanation of why they must be respected), authoritarian parenting (imposition of rule compliance coupled with strong demands), and permissive parenting (absence of rules/weak demands that they are complied with). What is more, foster parents were given an instrument referred to as the CBCL/6-18 which they used to assess behavioral problems in foster children.
The results of the study revealed that warmth and a positive parenting approach, combined with engaging with the foster child are associated with fewer behavioral problems while criticism/rejection, authoritarian and permissive parenting explained externalizing problems (37% of the variance). Moreover, criticism/rejection and authoritarian parenting explained total problems (29% of the variance). These results indicate that criticism/rejection on the part of foster parents, along with the use of inept parenting styles (authoritarian and permissive), has a significant effect in relation to the behavior problems of foster children (Fuentes, 2015). No significant relationship was found between the behavior problems presented by foster children and both the parenting style of foster parents and the kind of affect they display.
The article assesses the role that foster parents play in terms of tackling the behavior problems that foster children present. It was concluded that rejection and the use of negative parenting styles are more likely to lead to an increase in problem behavior in foster children while warmth, combined with a positive parenting approach and engaging with the foster child was linked with few problem behaviors. The results suggest that importance should not only be given towards helping foster parents acquire positive parenting strategies but also to avoid authoritarian and permissive treatment.
Fuentes, M. J., Salas, M. D., Bernedo, I. M., & García-Martín, M. A. (2015). Impact of the parenting style of foster parents on the behavior problems of foster children. Child: Care, Health & Development, 41(5), 704–711. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12215