Research Topic

Application of the Third Generation of Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches to Parenting

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In recent years, there has been growing interest in understanding how the so-called third generation of cognitive-behavioral approaches can help parents develop a more positive and secure relationship with their children. Third-generation models and intervention approaches include acceptance and commitment ...

In recent years, there has been growing interest in understanding how the so-called third generation of cognitive-behavioral approaches can help parents develop a more positive and secure relationship with their children. Third-generation models and intervention approaches include acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness-based approaches, compassion-focused therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy, among others. These approaches share the idea that controlling and/or avoiding difficult thoughts and emotions are often part of the individual’s problems or difficulties. Therefore, rather than trying to change the content, form, and frequency of internal events, these approaches focus on helping individuals change their relationship with their internal events.

An increasing number of researchers and practitioners have attempted to examine how third-generation approaches, particularly mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches, can contribute to better parenting results and the design of more efficacious parenting interventions. For instance, it has been proposed that bringing mindful attention to parent-child interactions may improve the quality of parenting, foster a more positive parent-child relationship, and promote a better psychological functioning of children and their parents. Other emotion regulation processes, such as compassion and acceptance, have also proven to play an important role in the way parents think and feel about parenting and in the way they interact with and relate to their children.

However, the application of third-generation cognitive-behavioral therapies and concepts to parenting is still in its infancy, and further research is needed to explore the potential of these approaches to enhance existing parenting interventions or to inform the development of new parenting interventions targeting different groups of parents and their children. More research is also needed to understand how mindfulness, (self-)compassion, acceptance and other psychological processes may influence parenting practices, the parent-child relationship, and the child’s socio-emotional development.

The aim of this Research Topic is to bring together research papers focused on the application of third-generation cognitive-behavioral therapies and models to parenting. We encourage researchers from different disciplines to submit empirical studies exploring the role of concepts and methods such as mindfulness, acceptance, compassion, values, meta-cognition, and other related concepts in parenting or describing empirically based parenting interventions informed by third-generation cognitive-behavioral therapies. We are interested in interventions delivered in different formats (e.g., group, online), and we welcome reviews, meta-analyses, and commentaries in this area. Studies can be focused on any phase of the life cycle (e.g., transition to parenthood, infancy, adolescence) and can include normative or clinical samples of parents and/or parent-child dyads.

Specific topics can include but are not limited to the following:
- Mindful parenting;
- Compassionate parenting;
- Parental psychological flexibility;
- Mindfulness- and acceptance-based parenting interventions.

By sharing new empirical findings on the links between parenting, the parent-child relationship, and psychological processes such as compassion and acceptance as well as the existing and evolving parenting programs, we hope to promote a stimulating and enriching exchange of ideas between researchers, educators, and practitioners or other colleagues interested in these fields.


Keywords: Parenting, Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches, Third Generation, Mindfulness, Acceptance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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