Metaparenting: associations with parenting stress, child-rearing practices, and retention in parents of children at risk for ADHD

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Abstract

The aim of the study is to investigate metaparenting (effortful, deliberate cognition about parenting) in parents of children at risk for ADHD including predictors, correlates, and intervention outcomes. Parents (n = 68) of children with significant ADHD symptoms (i.e., ≥6 inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive symptoms with impairment in ≥2 settings, mostly un-medicated) provided ratings of metaparenting, parenting stress and practices, and child ADHD symptoms before and after parent training. Parents were predominantly Caucasian, in their upper thirties, and most had schooling beyond high school. We investigated the relation between metaparenting and baseline predictors, and whether metaparenting predicted (1) parenting behaviors at baseline, (2) attrition, and (3) parenting stress and parent/child behaviors at outcome. More educated mothers, with fewer people living in the home, and higher levels of parenting stress, reported more metaparenting. Parents with lower problem-solving and assessing scores reported more inconsistent parenting, and those with lower problem-solving scores were more likely to drop out of parent training. Higher problem-solving and reflecting scores at baseline were associated with more parental stress. Higher reflecting at baseline predicted child hyperactivity/impulsivity at outcome. Our findings indicate metaparenting is associated with parenting behaviors and decisions to complete parent training. Furthermore, metaparenting appears to be a complex, finely nuanced construct with both positive and negative associations with reports of parenting practices and stress.