Parental "Presence": Quantity, Quality and Types of Parental Involvement
Prepared by Ann Murray and Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith
API Research Group, for Attachment Parenting Month, “Giving Our Children Presence,” 2008
Given that Attachment Parenting International recently celebrated Attachment Parenting Month with the theme of promoting “parental presence,” it is appropriate to look at the research literature on parental involvement and its effects. Oddly enough, some of the most recent solid data collected on this issue comes from the large multisite NICHD longitudinal study of early child care. Many articles based on the NICHD study have focused on the impact of child care, but a broader view incorporating parental measures was published in the 2006 issue of the American Psychologist (NICHD, 2006). The NICHD researchers reported that although quality child care was influential, parenting variables were two to three times more powerful in predicting outcomes for the children, emphasizing the important role of parents even when children spend any hours in the care of others. Recommendations from the study included increasing the quality of child care, especially for infants and toddlers, but also, importantly, educing the amount of time that children need to spend in child care through promoting paid parental leave and flexible working hours, and funding programs that support sensitive and responsive parenting.