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Parenting Strategies in Office Practice: Helping Parents Through the Challenges


Reviewers: Hannah Kaufman, BA, MSS, MHSc, University Health Network and University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto
Patricia Mousmanis, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Coordinator, Healthy Child Development Program, Ontario College of Family Physicians; Chair, Child and Adolescent Health Committee, College of Family Physicians of Canada
Laurie Green, MD, CCFP-EM ,Staff Physician, Department of Family and Community Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital; Lecturer, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

Posted: January 6, 2016    Format: PDF
Parenting Strategies in Office Practice: Helping Parents Through the Challenges

By: ,


Topic(s): Working With Families


Poor attachment and parenting practices can have significant long-term consequences on a child’s subsequent mental and physical development. Families often consult family physicians for general advice on parenting and childrearing, especially when confronted with their child’s behavioural or developmental issues. One factor to be considered as a common cause of childhood behaviour problems is parental and family stress; the physician should include an assessment of the family and the couple’s relationship as part of their assessment. During their training, family physicians have no special educational instruction in advising on parenting, except for their own family-of-origin experiences or any personal parenting courses they may have taken. They also have varying degrees of skill and interest in dealing with these problems, which some may consider outside the medical model and therefore not part of the office repertoire. However, the family physician is frequently the only resource available to parents and, because of their long-term relationships and frequency of well-baby visits, is uniquely positioned to provide timely advice and education around parenting issues. The family physician is also well placed to act as the child’s and family’s advocate in liaison with school systems, legal authorities, community agencies, and mental health professionals.

This is one educational module in a series produced by the Working With Families Institute to provide a learning resource for physicians dealing with common medical and psychosocial issues that have an impact on families. The modules seek to bridge the gap between current and best practice, and provide opportunities for physicians to enhance or change their approach to a particular clinical problem. They use a problem-based style and real case scenarios that pose questions to the reader. The cases are followed by an information section based on the latest evidence, case commentaries, references and resources. The modules are designed for either individual learning or small group discussion.