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9.10: Stages of Parenting

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    Ellen Galinsky traced six distinct stages in the life of a parent in relation to their growing child. Much like how a child moves through stages. By looking at these different stages of parenting, those who work with children and youth can gain some insight into parental needs and concerns. [114]

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Stages of Parenting


    Age of Child

    Main Tasks and Goals

    Stage 1: The Image-Making Stage

    Planning for a child; pregnancy

    Consider what it means to be a parent and plan for changes to accommodate a child.

    Stage 2: The Nurturing Stage


    Develop an attachment to child and adapt to the new baby.

    Stage 3: The Authority Stage

    Toddler and preschool

    Parents create rules and figure out how to effectively guide their child’s behavior.

    Stage 4: The Interpretive Stage

    Middle childhood

    Parents help their children interpret their experiences with the social world beyond the family.

    Stage 5: The Interdependence Stage


    Parents renegotiate their relationship with adolescent children to allow for shared power in decision-making.

    Stage 6: The Departure Stage

    Early adulthood

    Parents evaluate their successes and failures as parents.



    Pause to Reflect

    How does understanding these stages assist in your work with parents?

    This page titled 9.10: Stages of Parenting is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Cindy Stephens, Gina Peterson, Sharon Eyrich, & Jennifer Paris (College of the Canyons) .