Mothers' and fathers' socializing behaviors in three contexts: Links with children's peer competence

Gregory S. Pettit, Elizabeth Glyn Brown, Jacquelyn Mize, Eric Lindsey

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43 Scopus citations


Links were examined between parenting behavior and preschool-aged children's peer competence. Mothers and fathers were observed with their children in contexts designed to elicit parent - child play, involvement in child - peer play, and social coaching. Child competence was assessed via peer and teacher ratings. Mothers' and fathers' behaviors were largely independent, both within and across contexts. Parent - child play was associated with boys', but not girls', peer competence. Mothers' coaching was associated with girls', but not boys', competence. Mothers' involvement in child - peer play predicted lower levels of child competence, whereas fathers' involvement predicted higher levels of competence. A regression analysis showed that mothers' social coaching and father - child play additively and incrementally predicted children's social skillfulness. Findings are discussed in terms of a model of the context-specific, differential socialization of boys and girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-193
Number of pages21
JournalMerrill-Palmer Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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