Families and parents have the most central and enduring influence on children's lives. Parenthood is not instinctive, but is rather an evolutionary procedure throughout the child's life-course. This book looks at the pattern of family structures, which has evolved as a result of social, cultural and economic changes. An overview of parental monitoring and the development of two new retrospective monitoring scales is examined. This book also focuses on certain parenting styles, stressors, and practices which promote positive and negative child behaviours. The goodness-of-fit concept is emphasised, which concentrates specifically on how a poor fit between the temperament behaviours of infants and young children and parents' expectations and parenting skills can stress and challenges the parent-child relationship and potentially lead to poor child outcomes.
Among other issues, this book addresses the relations of maternal emotional availability with infant smiling and crying, the importance of measuring parental brain and physiological systems, the effect of working class mothers on their emotional availability to their children, and the variety of patterns that a parent must adopt in daily life to cope with situations of conflict to promote processes of emotional and social adaptation in their children.