Forces That Shape Parenting Infants

A critical step on the path to fully understanding parenting is to evaluate forces that first shape it. The origins of individual variation in maternal and paternal infant caregiving—whether beliefs or behaviors—are extremely complex, but certain factors seem to be of paramount importance: (1) actual or perceived characteristics of infants, (2) biological determinants, (3) features of personality, and (4) contextual influences, including social situational factors, SES, and culture.

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