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2016 Doris Lecture: Judi Smetana, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Adolescent-Parent Relationships: Developmental Processes and Cultural Variations
Judi Smetana, University of Rochester

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Nevin Welcome Center, The Plantations

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Parent educators and faculty review latest parenting research

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Dinah Castro, Maxine Cohen, Kerri Reda, and Tim Jahn in conversation at the in-service.

The annual Parenting in Context in-service event brings together Cornell researchers with New York State parent educators and others who work with families and youth for networking, professional development workshops, and presentations.

The 2015 in-service, held September 16-17, featured presentations on topics such as parenting in the digital age, custodial grandparent families, cognitive development in social context, positive discipline strategies, and adolescent well-being amidst family instability. Presenters included Rachel Dunifon and Laura Tach from policy analysis and management, Michael Goldstein from psychology, Chris Watkins, director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, local school social worker Melissa Enns, and Parenting In Context staff Kimberly Kopko and Eliza Cook.

Participants came from 9 counties across New York State and left the following feedback on the event:

The updates and research presentations are always thought-provoking and reinforce our connection to the university. It is so important to those of us in the field.

It was very helpful to better understand the environment and dynamics of niche families--grandfamilies and fragile families. Presentations being research-based reminded me of its importance.


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US parents continue to use spanking despite the evidence against it

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Kimberly Kopko

The majority of American parents still use spanking to discipline their children despite overwhelming evidence that it is ineffective and detrimental. In practice, research findings are often no match for cultural norms and closely-held beliefs about the physical punishment of children. Kimberly Kopko, director of the BCTR's Parenting in Context Initiative, comments on the subject in a recent article. The specific case she refers to below involves a Liberian native living in the US who "hot peppered" his two young sons (details in the full article, link below).

"There has to be appreciation and understanding of culture, but if you're harming a child, you're harming a child," said Dr. Kimberly Kopko, who runs Cornell University's Parenting in Context initiative.

As for cultural norms, Dr. Kopko said, "I do appreciate and understand the cultural issues around those sorts of things, however, you're talking about a Liberian family that was living in the U.S. If that family was living in Sweden, it would likewise not be legal."

Sweden banned spanking in 1979, and 45 nations have since followed suit, most of them in Europe and South America.

America's a different story, though.

"We're very individualistic and private, and so we're not run like a European country where a lot of this is more out in the open," Dr. Kopko said. "I think many Americans take the view of, 'What happens in my home is my business, it's not yours.'"

On a policy level, authorities here are more reluctant to step in and tell parents how to parent, she said.

"I'm persuaded by data, and the data has consistently told us, consistently, that spanking is not good," she said. "Now research versus personal belief? You can line up a thousand research studies in front of some parents who believe that spanking is good, and they're still going to believe spanking is good."

The Parenting in Context Initiative provides research-based resources for parent educators and develops new curricula to enhance existing programs. They also provide training and tools useful in evaluating parenting programs. Their web site has some resources intended directly for parents, including Parent Pages, which summarize the latest research, and information on parenting programs in New York State.


Spank or not to spank? Child endangerment arrests stir debate -

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Parent educators and researchers discuss recent findings at in-service event

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CCE's Jackie Davis-Manigaulte in discussion with parent educators

CCE's Jackie Davis-Manigaulte in discussion with parent educators

This September 22-23 thirty-six parent educators, BCTR staff, and others who work with families and youth gathered for a 2-day Parent Education In-Service, run by the BCTR's Parenting In Context Initiative. Participants from 13 counties across New York State viewed presentations on topics such as adolescent anger, child feeding practices among low-income mothers of preschool children, poverty and child development, and using news and social media to promote county associations.

On September 23rd Bronfenbrenner Lecturer Richard Lerner met with the group for a one-hour Q&A session. Lerner is the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and the Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. His work integrates the study of public policies and community-based programs with the promotion of positive youth development and youth contributions to civil society. In-Service participants then attended the Bronfenbrenner Lecture later that day.

A parent educator in attendance said, "It is reassuring to hear research that supports what I teach."

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ACT teams with communities to better support young parents

(0) Comments  |   Tags: ACT for Youth,   Jane Powers,   Jutta Dotterweich,   parenting,   youth,  

Erin Graupman, District Coordinator of Student Health Services,  Rochester City School District

Erin Graupman, District Coordinator of Student Health Services, Rochester City School District

This July Pathways to Success community teams from Buffalo, the Bronx, and Rochester met for the first time on campus. They reviewed the results from needs and resources assessments of services and support available for young parents in their respective cities. Funded by the New York State Department of Health, and administered through the BCTR's ACT for Youth Center of Excellence, the Pathways to Success Initiative pairs one public school district with one community college (in Buffalo, the Bronx, and Rochester). The aim of this initiative is to create community infrastructure that will help expectant and parenting teens and young adults improve their health, education, and self-sufficiency, as well as strengthen their families.

Jane Powers, director of ACT for Youth, explains the importance of this initiative,

This project tries to improve outcomes for this population, who are prone to fall through the cracks of our service delivery systems. Often they don’t finish school and don’t get prenatal care, which can compromise their future health, occupational and economic outcomes.

To inform the initiative, ACT for Youth developed a process that engaged each community in the assessments. The community partners gathered data through a series of key informant interviews with local agencies. Then ACT for Youth staff consulted expectant and parenting youth by conducting focus groups in each community. Data from the interviews and focus groups were coded here at Cornell. ACT for Youth staff then travelled to each community to discuss findings in “data dialogue” sessions that allowed for rich and locally-based reflection and planning.

Reginald L. Cox

Reginald L. Cox

As the final step in this process, staff from each community project came together in Ithaca on July 14-15, 2014. The first day was dedicated to connecting across the communities, followed by workshops given by Jutta Dotterweich (ACT for Youth director of training and technical assistance) on collaboration, systems-level change, and sustainability. On the second day, groups focused on finding common themes, defining and prioritizing actionable steps, and a hearing a closing talk on engaging fathers from a regionally known expert, Reginald L. Cox, director of the Fatherhood Connection.


 New York communities join to help teen parents - Cornell Chronicle

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2014 CCE summer interns begin work with BCTR researchers

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Each year the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Summer Internship Program connects undergraduates with faculty research projects, helping Cornell fulfill its land grant mission by engaging students in outreach. From research to education and program development, interns are involved in a wide spectrum of activities which they document by blogging. Findings are presented in the late summer at a poster event on campus.

This year BCTR researchers are involved with four summer intern projects, reaching eight counties:

Building a Community Legacy Together Program Evaluation
Faculty: Karl Pillemer
Location: CCE Orange County and CCE Genesee County
Student blog

Parent Education in New York City: The Parenting A Second Time Around (PASTA) Project
Faculty: Rachel Dunifon
Location: CCE New York City
Student blog by Paisley Marie Terenzi

Refugee Family Child Care Provider Project
Faculty: John Eckenrode with Lisa McCabe
Location: CCE Madison-Oneida County
Student blog by Emily Nina Satinsky

Research for the Continuous Improvement of 4-H
Faculty: Stephen Hamilton
Location: Erie (base), Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming Counties
Student blog by Katrina Simon


BCTR connections at the CCE student poster showcase
2012 CCE Student Poster Event showcases summer research projects


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Pillemer study finds that mothers’ favorites remind them of themselves

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0967_12_002.jpgFindings from research by J. Jill Suitor, Megan Gilligan, and the BCTR's Karl Pillemer examining mothers' favoritism was published this month in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The study was particularly concerned with patterns of favoritism over time. A recent Daily Mail article outlined the study's results:

Mothers favour children who remind them of themselves over those who are successful or well behaved, a seven-year study has found.

The study led by Jill Suitor, professor of sociology at Purdue University, interviewed 406 mothers aged between 65 and 75, asking which of their children they would most like to be their primary care giver.

The researchers found that the mothers were more likely to choose the child who they perceived as having similar beliefs and values to themselves even if they had other more stable or financially independent children.

And around three-quarters of them picked the same child at the start of the study as they did seven years later, suggesting children with similar beliefs stayed in favour for the long-term.


Continuity and Change in Mothers' Favoritism Toward Offspring in Adulthood - Journal of Marriage and Family

Mothers' favorite children are those who remind them of themselves NOT the most successful or best-behaved - Daily Mail

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The serious effects of physical discipline

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The BCTR's Evidence-Based Living blog reports on a new systematic review showing the wide-reaching, negative effects of physical discipline on children. BCTR director John Eckenrode is quoted in the post, saying, in part:

We know that there are tested and effective ways to support parents so that they can better provide a safe and supportive environment for their children without resorting to physical punishment

The serious effects of physical discipline

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Fifty parent educators attend the 2013 Parenting in Context In-Service event

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CCE parent educator Denyse Variano of Orange County

Approximately 50 Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) parent educators from across New York State gathered in Ithaca for the 2013 Parent Education In-Service. The annual event is sponsored by the Parenting in Context Initiative in the College of Human Ecology and was held on the Cornell University campus on January 14th and 15th, 2013. The In-Service provides parent educators with professional development opportunities including presentations on the latest research on parenting and families as well as the latest evidence on effective parenting programs from Cornell professors and Senior Extension Associates. The event also provides a forum for educators to communicate their knowledge from the field back to the researchers.

Presenters included Kelly Musick, Jennifer Tiffany, Rachel Dunifon, Kimberly Kopko, and Lisa McCabe.

Presentations provided information on translational research and updates on the Parenting In Context project and also highlighted CCE innovative parent education programs for teen parents as well as a Facilitator Training Workshop.

Rachel Dunifon

Parenting in Context researchers, led by Rachel Dunifon, associate professor of policy analysis and management and director of Parenting in Context and Senior Extension Associate Kimberly Kopko, Co-Director of the Project, also presented the results of their annual assessment of CCE parent education programs statewide. Nearly 800 New Yorkers across 11 counties participated in 22 different programs in 2011-12, with many of them reporting, via program evaluations, significant improvements in their parenting skills.

Prior to the In-Service event, the Parenting Education Program Work Team (PWT) held their biannual meeting. The Parenting Education PWT was initiated in March 2004 with the primary goal of fostering communication among parenting educators, as well as providing support and resources to educators throughout New York State. Faculty presenters shared information about new research projects and opportunities for parent educator involvement as well as a panel presentation, Strengthening Campus-County Connections: New Projects and Examples of Past (and Ongoing) Successes, that featured a number of faculty discussing the ways in which they connect their research with parent educators and families in their respective communities.

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Parenting in Context Annual In-Service Conference

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Jan. 25-26, 2012, BCTR's Parenting in Context project sponsored the annual Parent Education In-Service.  Presenters included Jennifer Tiffany, Janis Whitlock, Maria Fitzpatrick, Rachel Dunifon, and Kimberly Kopko and nearly 50 parent educators from across NY state attended.

Presentations provided information on translational research and gave updates on the Parenting In Context project, but also highlighted the successful CCE programs PS: It Works! Communication Skills for Peers-Parent-Partners and Child Neglect and Maltreatment, Shaken Baby Syndrome, among other topics. The conference was an opportunity for researchers to provide some current findings and for educators to communicate their knowledge from the field back to the researchers.

Read the Cornell Chronicle article on the conference here.

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