Parenting Capacity

In this study from Australia, four different professions (social workers, psychologists, lawyers & judges) had different ratings of how important these factors were, but all agreed on the following 6 main elements:

INSIGHT:  defined as “an awareness of one’s role as a parent, including understanding your individual child, their needs and your ability to provide for those needs.”

  • Knowing the individual child
  • Acknowledging limitations as a parent

WILLINGNESS AND ABILITY:  defined as “ a parent’s motivation to parent coupled with a sufficient capability to parent long-term”.

  • Parent at all times, accept responsibility, and attempts to improve
  • Ability to provide for the child’s needs, manage competing demands, organize the household, and have skills to manage behavior.

ATTENDING TO DAY-TO-DAY VERSUS COMPLEX OR LONG-TERM NEEDS:  meeting the physical, emotional, safety, discipline and cognitive needs of the child, to enable the child to develop into a well-adjusted human being.

PUTTING THE CHILD’S NEEDS BEFORE THEIR OWN:  requiring acknowledging the child as a dependent person, this protective function could entail sacrifice of relationships for the safety of the child, and protecting the child from distressing emotions, situations and conflicts.

FOSTERING ATTACHMENT:  defined as “the need for caregivers to encourage bonding and attachment with a child in order to establish security, comfort and confidence.”  This requires providing comfort, nurturing and sensitivity toward the child.

CONSISTENCY VERSUS FLEXIBILITY:  defined as “ the ability of a parent to provide consistent parenting in all regards, however at the same time remain flexible and open to change.”

  • Consistency – providing a stable and secure environment, consistent discipline, boundaries, routines, and pattern of parenting.
  • Flexibility – Parent’s ability to be receptive to ideas and advise, change behavior or attitude when problems arise
  • Eve, Byrne, and Gagliardi.  What is Good Parenting?  The Perspectives of Different Professionals.  Family Court Review, Vol. 52, No. 1, January, 2014, 114-127.