Linking Parenting Styles to Parent and Child Behaviors in a Joint Task

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This study explored: 1) the link between parenting questionnaire data and parenting behaviors in a parent-child play task, with the aim of creating a short behavioral task to more sensitively empirically measure parenting; 2) how parenting measures relate to child behaviors, including child helping and compliance/noncompliance; and 3) how different contexts, namely the presence or absence of time pressure during a joint task, affect parent-child relationships. Thirty-five 3- to 4.5-year-old children and one of their parents participated in four behavioral tasks, and questionnaire data were collected for each parent-child dyad. Authoritative parenting style scores were related to increases in the amount of commands and praise used during the behavioral tasks, as well as a decrease in the number of questions used. Authoritarian parenting style scores were related to an increase in the amount of negative feedback used. Permissive parenting style scores were not significantly related to any parenting behaviors. No parent measures were found to be significantly related to child behaviors, possibly due to the child measures not being sensitive enough. When comparing how parents and children behaved under time pressure, parents used less praise, less questions, more commands, and more negative feedback, whereas children complied significantly less on average under pressure. Findings suggest that the dyadic relationship is affected by the context in which it is found, and that using behavioral measures leads to a more robust understanding of individual parenting practices and effects. Future directions and improvements to the current study are discussed.





Kohler, Celia (2019). Linking Parenting Styles to Parent and Child Behaviors in a Joint Task. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

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