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Numerous studies have established that role stress experienced by parents has an impact on their perceptions of their child’s behavior, the quality of their parent-child interactions, and their child’s overall adjustment. Significant numbers of parents do experience the parenting role as stressful, often because they have concerns about whether their child’s behavior is within normal limits. Having seen parenting stress frequently while counseling parents and children, we reasoned that providing individualized developmental information to parents could reduce their parenting stress, and in turn result in positive consequences for parents and for children.

This article describes a brief intervention we developed, Developmental Assessment & Feedback, which involves assessing children for their social, emotional, and cognitive development and psychological adjustment and provides their parents with individualized feedback on the assessment. The procedure provides developmental information and suggestions for dealing with common concerns about child behavior, thereby reducing parenting stress. The Developmental Assessment & Feedback intervention also provides the counselor with a wealth of information that can be used to plan treatment goals for parents and/or their children, and presents an opportunity to establish credibility and rapport with parents at the outset.


Originally published in Counseling Vistas. 2010. Retrieved from