Psychology of parenting

Study level: Graduate study programme in psychology
Lecturers: Gordana Keresteš, Ph.D.
Language: Croatian
Semester: 1st od 3rd (winter)
Status: elective
Form of instruction with class hours: 45 hours of lectures and 30 hours of seminars
Prerequisites: none
Student evaluation: individual and group written assignments during class, oral exam

Course description

Determinants of parenting (characteristics of parents, characteristics of child, contextual factors). Individual differences in parental behavior (dimensions and styles of parenting). Transition into parenthood and stages of parenting (parenting infant, preschool child, school child and adolescent; parents of adult children). Influences of parental behavior on child behavior and development. Parental role and personal development of parents. Parental role and other life roles. Infertility and life without children. Parenting in special circumstances (adolescent parents, single-parent and reconstructed families, parenting child with the special needs, foster parenting and adoptive parenting). Educating parents.

Course objectives

Students will become familiar with the field of psychology of parenting, and will comprehend the complexity and importance of the roles of mother and father in modern societies. Students will gain understanding of the influences of parental behavior on child behavior and development as well as of the impact of parental role on personal development in adulthood. After completing the course the students will be able to apply their knowledge to promoting optimal parenting behaviors in practice.

Required readings

Holden, G. W. (2009). Parenting – a dynamic perspective. SAGE.


Martin, C.A. & Colbert, K.K. (1997). Parenting: A life span perspective. NY: McGraw-Hill.

Recommended readings

Bornstein, M.H. (2002). Handbook of parenting. Vol. 1-5. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.