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Give Your Family
A Strong Start

Every child deserves a strong parenting team. Get ready now before the arrival of your new baby with the proven Family Foundations series.

“As a Family Foundations instructor and long-time childbirth and parenting educator, I endorse the solid, effective, and evidence-based techniques used in Family Foundations. There is ample time in the classes for the couples to practice the techniques, build upon them at home, and get feedback from the instructors. By presenting this material to the couples while pregnant, they have time to become comfortable with them prior to giving birth — and then become better communicators, partners, and parents.”

– Brigid Grode, RNC, CPCE, CD (DONA)

About Us

Background

Family Foundations is a program proven to help couples maintain strong family bonds, reduce stress, and raise healthy well-adjusted children. It was developed and researched by Mark Feinberg, Ph.D., and is the result of years of his work as a clinical psychologist, family therapist, and prevention scientist at Penn State University.  Many colleagues, professionals, and families also contributed to the development and testing of Family Foundations, and we appreciate all of their support.  NIH provided funding for the research testing the program’s benefits.  

 

Core Values Behind Family Foundations

 

Evidence based

We develop educational and support materials for families with a commitment to making sure they work. This is what sets us apart from most other developers of products and services for new families: We are committed to an evidence-based approach.  This means that we rely on research studies to indicate whether or not programs are actually helpful.  Just as you want to know that the medicine your doctor prescribes has been tested and found effective, we also think that health-promoting programs should be supported by rigorous research.

 

Safety

Some educational and support programs that have been widely distributed were actually later found to be harmful to children or families. Because we have conducted research on Family Foundations before offering it to the public, you can be sure that the program does not cause harm. And because our results have been published in high quality, peer-reviewed scientific journals, you can be confident that the program produces the benefits we describe.


Flexibility

Our philosophy in developing materials is that you are the expert on what works best for you and your family. We provide enough flexibility within the materials and exercises so that you can bring your wisdom and values to the experience and develop a path that will work for your family. We provide tools and information based on research with families and children.  But it is up to you to adapt these tools for your own family's needs and values.

 

Some educational and support programs that have been widely distributed were actually later found to be harmful to children or families. Because we have conducted research on Family Foundations before offering it to the public, you can be sure that the program does not cause harm. And because our results have been published in high quality, peer-reviewed scientific journals, you can be confident that the program produces the benefits we describe.

Our philosophy in developing materials is that you are the expert on what works best for you and your family. We provide enough flexibility within the materials and exercises so that you can bring your wisdom and values to the experience and develop a path that will work for your family. We provide tools and information based on research with families and children.  But it is up to you to adapt these tools for your own family's needs and values.

The Future of Family Foundations

We’re now working on expanding Family Foundations with colleagues around the country to create versions for teen parents, adoptive parents, gay/lesbian parents, parents of special needs children, and others. We’re working on creative ways to utilize technology to deliver the information and tools. And community agencies and federal departments are recognizing the benefits that this approach provides new parents. For example, the U.S. Department of Defense is training family service providers to offer the program to military families. And soon, we hope to extend Family Foundations to help you support your child into the Terrible Two’s and beyond.

Quotes

See supporting citations below, but first some quotes:


Nora Ephron (Heartbreak)
“Now, of course, I realized something else no one tells you; that a child is a grenade. When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was.”

New York Magazine
“This is the brutal reality about children—they’re such powerful stressors that small perforations in relationships can turn into deep fault lines.”

Research Evidence

Clarifying the Relationship Between Parenthood and Depression R.J. Evenson & R.W. Simon. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2005, 46: 341–358

Adding A Baby To The Equation: Married And Cohabiting Women's Relationship Satisfaction In The Transition To Parenthood. Mortensen Ø, Torsheim T, Melkevik O, Thuen F. Family Process 2012, 51(1):122-39.

The Effect Of The Transition To Parenthood On Relationship Quality: An 8-Year Prospective Study. Doss BD, Rhoades GK, Stanley SM, Markman HJ. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 2009, 96(3):601-19.

Baby Smiling

Results

Research shows that
Family Foundations benefits parents and children:


Higher Social
Competence in Children

(3 years of age)

Higher Social Competence in Children

Lower Depression
in Mothers

(6 months after birth)

Lower Depression in Mothers

Lower Parental Stress

(6 months after birth)

Lower Parental Stress

Lower aggression in boys

(3 years of age)

Lower aggression in boys

Higher positive
parenting teamwork

(1 year after birth)

Higher positive parenting teamwork