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Developing Caring Relationships Among Parents, Children, Schools, and Communities

Developing Caring Relationships Among Parents, Children, Schools, and Communities

July 2007 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"This text provides a fresh look at an important topic—teachers and families working collaboratively. A strong blend of research and practical application is presented."

—Beth Nason Quick, Tennessee State University

"I was captivated by an innovative and a gentle, humanistic approach to viewing families and working with parents in parenting education."

—Gloria Wenze, University of Scranton

"A synthesis of theory, research, and practice couched in a very readable text... a provocative examination of teacher and parent relationships that holds the promise of a better future for the next generation of educators and parents. This book should fan the flames of professional reflection and professional practice."

William McInerney, University of Toledo

Developing Caring Relationships Among Parents, Children, Schools, and Communities looks at parent-professional-child relations very differently than other books in this area. Author Dana McDermott focuses on parents and teachers as adult learners who should be growing and learning along with the children in their care. Accessibly written, the book synthesizes the latest theories and research on parent-and adult-child relations and on adult learning and development, focusing on a dynamic process rather than a static role and, on all the social-contextual factors affecting parents, teachers, and children.

Key Features

  • Focuses on parents and teachers as adult learners: This will supplement traditional books on family involvement or parent child relations which rarely drill down to understand parents as anything more than a conduit to a child's development.
  • Emphasizes the dynamic process of parenting and teaching: The author provides a useful tool, or a caring decision-making process, for parents, children, and professionals to think through any issues they face so that everyone's needs are considered in any interaction.
  • Provides a theory to practice model to support parents, families, and teachers: This book lays out a theory of what parents and teachers need to care for children and themselves and then shows how to put these theories into practice in preK—12 schools.
  • Uses narratives to demonstrate applications of theory and research: The latest theories and research are woven into stories from the voices of parents, teachers, and children.
  • Explores research from diverse cultures: The book looks at many schools around the world and from various socioeconomic backgrounds to identify their common and differentiated concerns.
  • Includes additional web resources: Questionnaires, workshops, newsletters, model development information, resource material and other exemplary projects/resource sites can be found in the appendices located at

Intended Audience

This supplemental text is designed for undergraduate and graduate courses such as Parents/Home-School Relations in Early Childhood and Elementary Education; Parenting; and School and Community Relations in departments of education, psychology, family studies, health sciences, and social work.

List of Appendices
Introduction: Thinking Mindfully About Parents
Part I. Understanding Parents Within Their Cultural Context
1. Understanding Parent Involvement and Engagement in Schools Today
Framing the Issues

Traditional Definitions of Parent Involvement

Political, Philosophical, Social, and Cultural Issues

New Paradigms and New Solutions: Focus on Engagement


2. Understanding Theories and Research on Parenting
Early-20th-Century Theorists

The Interactionists

Trait Theorists

Bidirectional and Transactional Theories

Humanistic Theorists

Social-Cognitive Theories

Family Systems Theories

Social Relationships Theories

Bioecological Systems Theory

Family Support and Empowerment


3. Understanding the Elements of Parenting and Caring: Theories and Research
Defining Parents

A Case Study Illustrating What Parents Do

The Parenting Process: A Theoretical Framework

Research Demonstrates the Complexity of the Parenting Process

The Parenting Process and Parental Thinking

Parental "Ways of Knowing"

Research on Parental Thinking

Exemplary Programs Support Parents as Lifelong Learners

Characteristics of Confident and Competent Parenting and Caring


4. Understanding Parents and Teachers as Lifelong Learners
Parents and Teachers Are Lifelong Learners

Case Studies Examining Parent and Teacher Learning Needs

Improving Parent-School Engagement and Learning

Connecting Adult Learning and Adult Development

Importance of Parent and Teacher Development

Parent-Teacher Learning and Development Collaborations


5. Understanding Culturally Diverse Parents and Teachers
What Is Cultural Context?

Terms and Questions That Aid Our Understanding

The Role of Stories in Cultural Identity

Some Questions Enhance Our Understanding of Parents

Parents' Beliefs About Children's Needs: Collective Versus Individual Focus

Parental Goals

Parents' Thinking and Behaviors Toward the Child and Others

Parents' Ideas About the Nature of Children

Parents' Own Status and Context

Self-Efficacy, Socioeconomic Status, and Cultural Context

A Rationale for Using Questions to Understand Parents


Part II. From Theory to Practice: Fostering Caring and Culturally Sensitive Parent-Child-School-Community Relationships
6. Fostering Caring Ways of Relating
Adult Learning Principles Frame the Model

Meta-Parenting Is Another Helpful Construct

A Caring Model of Parenting and Relating

The Parenting-Caring Connection

Parenting-Caring and Adult Learning

Case Studies Exemplify the Caring Process

Generalization of the Parenting-Caring Model

Summary and Concluding Thoughts

7. Understanding Parents' and Teachers' Concerns
Concerns of Parents of Diverse Socioeconomic Backgrounds

Some Common Concerns

Parents' Concerns by Age and Grade of Child

Control: A Common Concern for All Parents

Other Factors Related to Parental Control

Communication: Another Common Concern

Case Study: A Communication Solution

Communication and Explanatory Style

Communication With Parents, Teachers, and Schools

Communication Experts Listen to Parents

External Threats

Summary: Historical Consciousness

8. Providing Developmental Opportunities for Parents and Teachers
Needs of Adults Caring for Children

Parents and Teachers Seek Guidance and Support

Faculty Learn and Grow Together

Parents, Teachers, and Staff Grow and Learn Through the PEI

Reflection on Practice Benefits Everyone

Parent-Teacher Discussions Are Also Helpful

Stories as a Way That Adults in Children's Lives Learn From Each Other

Other Models to Support Parent and Teacher Development

Summary and Concluding Thoughts

9. Ensuring That the Next Generation of Parents Is Prepared for Their Role
Background and Rationale

Parent-Infant Visits: A Powerful Teaching Tool

The Many Reasons for Teaching Parenting and Caring

Advocates for the Cause

What Children Learn in Parenting-Caring Classes

International Movement for Parenting in Schools

Teaching Parenting Throughout the School Years

Results Demonstrate Student Learning

Students Contribute Meaningfully to Their Community

Parenting Courses as a Requirement for High School Graduation


About the Author

"Long-time family educator Dana McDermott has written a volume with a large arc that deserves attention by all working with families. Published as a textbook, its readership should go beyond students to educators, administrators, social workers, and many others that are part of the caring circles for parents and children. The book is conversational. It utilizes a theory to practice model so that readers can read and explore the inextricable links between developmental wisdom and best practice with families.  She is contextual in her viewpoint, exploring the many demands on parents AND on those that serve them. Respect for self and others jumps from the pages. This volume should sit along side the best of our books on group leadership, parent child communication, your favorite “arenting”book, resiliency materials and related books. If so, you will be picking this one off the shelf regularly to enhance your perspectives and your work."

Ted Bowman

This text is for a graduate course and I chose it because it delves deeper into the theory and practicalities of developing partnerships with families.

Dr Rene Garrison
School Of Education, St Bonaventure University
May 12, 2014

Excellent resource for students who are learning about the importance of working with the wider school community.

Miss Syreeta Charles-Cole
Education, Carshalton College
March 27, 2014

Not only is this book written in a excellent way it is also a practical fantastic resource. Another fantastic book that will allow us to get the students prepared for their placements.

Miss Amy Smith
Early Years and Child care, Wakefield College
March 26, 2014


Mrs Andrea Morgans
General Education, Cardiff and Vale College
November 21, 2013

subjects were not directly related to course goals

Dr Lillian Breckenridge
Religion Dept, Oral Roberts University
October 19, 2013

Easy to read and sectioned for ease of use by students.

Miss Johanne Child
early years, Wakefield College
September 13, 2013

some key chapters to support the module building effective relationships with children and young people

Mrs Evonne Parker
School of education , Blackburn College
December 4, 2012

This book gives a great insight into the multi disciplinary approach. It will be recommended as a useful tool particularly when covering this topic.

Mrs Gwyneth Walsham
School of Teaching and Learning, Gateshead College
July 12, 2011

Very easy read... I think students will actually read this text!

Ms Beth Pinheiro
School Of Family Consumer Sci, Bowling Green State University
April 18, 2011
Key features

 Focuses on parents and teachers as adult learners

· Focuses on the dynamic process of parenting and teaching

· Provides a theory to practice model to support parents, families and teachers

Provides a tool or guide for thinking through problems and finding solutions that take into consideration the needs of all involved

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.