Parenting behaviour is determined by a range of factors including personality, psychopathology, values, social support, child characteristics and socio-cultural influences. It has also been suggested that an individual's style of child-rearing is influenced by the style of parenting that they experienced as children. The relationships between children who fail-to-thrive and their parents are often characterized by interactional difficulties. Previous research using retrospective accounts suggested that mothers of children who fail-to-thrive for non-organic reasons themselves showed high levels of abuse, neglect, and deprivation during their childhoods. However, to date no one has investigated prospectively what kinds of parents failure-to-thrive individuals become. This paper examines the parenting experiences of individuals who had received psychosocial intervention for their non-organic failure-to-thrive as children over 20 years ago. Results suggest that where initial intervention failed to bring about long-term changes in family interactional patterns, there was a greater incidence of failure-to-thrive in the next generation. These families were characterized by dissatisfaction with the child, high levels of stress associated with the parenting role, and low levels of social support. However, where the family environment in the original study had changed substantially, the former clients' outcomes were more positive with their own children. These parents tended to find interaction with their children more rewarding, had good support networks and low levels of stress. The characteristics of particular cases are discussed in detail to illustrate differences between these two groups of individuals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)