US expert Marc Bornstein to give talk on positive parenting

Marc Bornstein, senior investigator and head of Child & Family Research at the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development in Washington, DC, will talk about positive parenting Wednesday as part of the Faculty of Health’s LaMarsh Speaker Series.

The talk, “Positive Parenting and Positive Development in Children” will take place Wednesday, Nov. 17, from noon to 1pm at the Executive Learning Centre, X106 Seymour Schulich Building, Keele campus. A reception will follow, from 1 to 2pm at the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution. Everyone is welcome to attend, but as space is limited, it is requested that you RSVP for both the talk and the reception at

Right: Marc Bornstein

Armed with the knowledge that things do not always go well in child development, policy-makers, educators and parents share the laudable and well-intentioned goal to develop preventions, interventions and remediations in the service of children, says Bornstein. “But treatment is not just fixing what is broken; it is also nurturing what is best. My talk takes a ‘positive youth development’ perspective as its starting point.”

In the first part of the talk, Bornstein will look to the literature to define prominent positive characteristics and values in children. In the second part, he will address the important goal of how children can be best helped to achieve those positive characteristics and values.

“To do this, I will show how parents, who are children’s primary advocates and their front-line defence, are the corps most available and in the greatest number to lobby and labour for children,” says Bornstein. “I discuss direct effects of parents on children as well as indirect effects. I focus on both childhood and adolescence and incorporate new work on brain development. Finally, I discuss a specificity principle that may guide future thinking and action in positive child development.”

As a researcher, Bronstein has received numerous awards for his research from such organizations as the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, the American Psychological Association, the National Institutes of Health, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the American Mensa Education & Research Foundation. In 2008, he was recognized by the Society for Research in Child Development for his efforts in the international and cross-cultural realm with its Distinguished International Contributions to Child Development Award.

Bornstein has been a faculty member at Princeton University and New York University, and a visiting scientist, fellow and professor at more than eight universities and research institutes, including the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, University College London, Université René Descartes in Paris, the University of Tokyo and the Sorbonne.

In addition to hundreds of scientific papers, he is co-author of the widely used Development in Infancy book series and editor of other book series, including The Crosscurrents in Contemporary Psychology, Monographs in Parenting and Handbook of Parenting. He is the founding editor of Parenting: Science and Practice and has written several children’s books.

Bornstein is also co-editor of a new book that York psychology Professor Maria Legerstee is publishing with University of Toronto Professor David Haley. The book, The Developing Infant Mind: Integrating Biology and Experience, will be released later this year by Guilford Press.

Bornstein’s research interests include the origins, status and development of psychological constructs, structures, functions and processes in the first two years of life; the effect of child characteristics and activities on parents; and the meaning of variations in parenting and in the family across different socio-demographic and cultural groups.

The talk is joint venture hosted by the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution, Echo’s Ontario Women’s Health Council Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research and The Lillian & Don Wright Foundation.

For more information, visit the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution website. For more information on the LaMarsh Speaker Series, visit the Faculty of Health website.