Impact of the parenting style of foster parents on the behaviour problems of foster children


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Abstract

BackgroundFew studies have analysed the effects of the parenting style used by foster carers on children's behaviour problems. This study examines 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.MethodsParticipants were 104 foster children (56 boys and 48 girls) and their respective foster families. The Child Behaviour Checklist, the Affect and Communication Scale, and the Rules and Demands Scale were completed by foster parents. A series of linear regression analyses were performed using the stepwise method.ResultsThe main findings were as follows: an authoritarian parenting style explained the internalizing problems presented by foster children (11% of the variance); criticism/rejection, authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting explained externalizing problems (37% of the variance); and criticism/rejection and authoritarian parenting explained total problems (29% of the variance). These results indicate that criticism/rejection on the part of foster parents, as well as the use of inappropriate parenting styles (authoritarian and permissive), has an important effect in relation to the behaviour problems of foster children.ConclusionsThis highlights the key role that foster carers play in terms of tackling the behaviour problems that foster children present. The findings also suggest that preparation for fostering should focus especially on ways of helping foster parents both to acquire positive parenting strategies and to avoid authoritarian and permissive parenting.

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