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Parent's and Children's Behavior Improve Together through Therapy

In years past, research has shown that self-efficacy in parenting helps children develop socially and emotionally. For readers who are about to google “efficacy”, it is “the ability to produce a desired or intended result.” However, Parenting Self-Efficacy, or PSE, is a little bit more specific in definition. PSE is defined as beliefs or judgments about one’s own competency or ability to successfully carry out one’s parenting roles.

Jared Warren, BYU professor of psychology, examined parenting self-efficacy and how it related to therapy outcomes in a large group of youth receiving outpatient therapy at a community mental health clinic.

Three aspects of PSE were studied: parental connection between the parent and child, the effect of social processes on a child’s development of identity, efficacy and worth, and parental control of behavior, and behavioral influence. What Dr. Warren and his colleagues found was very interesting: during the course of child therapy parents’ levels of self-efficacy improved as their children’s symptoms improved.

Parents’ levels of self-efficacy did not predict how much their children’s symptoms would improve, rather, regardless of their initial level of PSE, their self-reported feelings of efficacy increased at the same time as their children’s symptoms were decreasing.

“Helping parents increase PSE through training interventions, increased understanding of developmental norms, or more accurate explanations for their child’s behavior may result in them putting forth more effort in their parenting roles, responding more effectively to problem behavior, or striving to provide more positive experiences for their children,” Warren said.

Warren said as parents do this, it will also help their children’s symptoms and problem behaviors improve. The results from this study will be used in future therapy with children.

Parent and child therapy are available at the clinic year-round, and the costs are minimal. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit our website or call 801-422-7759.