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Subject Area

Psychology

Abstract

The current qualitative study explored the positive, internal, and growth-enhancing experiences hearing parents derived from raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Based on characteristics of parents’ process and outcomes of the parenting experiences, three distinct parent patterns were identified. Reflective Positive Parents reflected deeply about their experiences, quickly and easily identified positive experiences, and were open to making adjustments to meet their child’s needs. Engaged Parents contemplated their experiences, yet decisions about how to best support their children in many remained unresolved; this group identified both positive and negative aspects of parenting and attempted to align their decisions with both the needs of the child and the recommendations of professionals. The third group, Compliant Parents, described positive experiences yet struggled to provide examples; data from observations were typically not consistent with their description. These parents typically followed the advice of professionals and showed less reflection about the decisions they had made. In the current project, employing a positive psychology lens led to a new and potentially beneficial way of thinking of differences among parents. These differences focus on pathways to personal growth and happiness, pathways that may well lead people to flourish.

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