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Supporting Parent Well-Being and Effective Parenting Practices

Supporting children’s well-being means supporting their parents, too

When parents develop positive relationships with their children, children are more likely to be happier, healthier, and more resilient. They grow up with strong social skills, learn to be empathic and curious, and are better able to regulate their emotions.

In our research, we evaluate practical approaches to promote warm, responsive, consistent parenting which increases children’s social and emotional competence. Our findings inform our programs, which are infused with mindfulness and resilience practices for parents to support their stress-management, emotion regulation and well-being.

Our goal is to support parents with the skills they need to connect fully with their children, and create nurturing, responsive and consistent relationships so their children can flourish.

Addressing Adversity & Inequity

Our work with parents is closely connected to our focus on addressing adversity and inequity. Parents experiencing adversity now or in the past may face their own emotional and mental health challenges. We are deeply committed to developing trauma-informed, evidence-based practices that provides all parents with the support they need – so everybody thrives.

Research Topics Include

  • Association of parental mental health with parenting behaviors, children’s neurobiological-basis of self-regulation, and child well-being
  • Two-generation approach to enhancing parent well-being and effective parenting practices with mindfulness and self-compassion 
  • Parenting and emotion coaching interventions for children in high-risk contexts

Current Research, Projects & Programs

Parenting Resources

From tip sheets to guided meditations, we offer parenting resources that are rooted in research, simple to access and easy to incorporate into your life. Visit Resources >

NEW Moms Connect: Nurturing Emotional Well-being

We are exploring the benefits of different mindfulness and self-compassion based programs for mothers during the perinatal period. To our knowledge, this is the first large study on mindfulness with families living in a low-income context. Learn about NEW Moms >

Research Study: SEACAP

We’ve been studying how mindfulness-based parenting can impact a child’s social and emotional well-being – especially for families dealing with adversity and inequity. Learn about SEACAP >

Related Resources


Preliminary Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Perinatal Mindfulness-Based Well-Being and Parenting Programs for Low-Income New Mothers

This CCFW multidisciplinary collaboration demonstrated the effectiveness of perinatal mindfulness and parenting programs in supporting maternal and infant mental health. We are grateful for the participation of the new mothers who contributed to this project.

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Utilizing Family Skills as a Protective Shield for Families Living Through War, Displacement and Other Challenging Contexts

Parenting can be challenging at the best of times, let alone parenting children through war or refugee contexts. Global conflicts entail many changes for children and their families, with the potential for acute and longer-term impact on well-being and mental health. What can we do to help? Effective parenting can act as a protective shield against the difficulties that children face in challenging times.

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We Are the Medicine: Possibilities for Flourishing Through Difficult Times

This session with Dr. Christina Bethell presented new research and approaches to promote child and family well-being using a positive approach to health that fosters self, family and community-led healing of the trauma and adversity concentrated in many of our families and communities today.

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Caring for Children through Conflict and Displacement

This PDF booklet for caregiving in conflict settings has been developed by Professor Rachel Calam, Dr Aala El-Khani and Dr Kim Cartwright. This booklet is also available in Malay, Myanmar, Pashto, Russian, Ukranian, and Vietnamese. 

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Prevention through Family Skills and Resources For Caregiving In Conflict, Crisis or Stressful Settings

This webpage by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime provides open access family skills resources in a variety of languages for those at risk of mental health problems due to armed conflict and displacement.

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Academic Partners

We collaborate with partners in a variety of fields, both across the University of Washington and at other universities and research centers.
UW School of Nursing
UW School of Nursing
UW College of Education
UW School of Public Health
UW Psychology
UW Psychology
UW Psychology

Learn More

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