The Relation of Dialogic, Control, and Racial Socialization Practices to Early Academic and Social Competence: Effects of Gender, Ethnicity, and Family Socioeconomic Status

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Abstract

This research tests the relations of parental practices to child competence and assertions that practices differ by gender of the child. Home-based interviews and structured observations of parent–child interactions were conducted with an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of families (N = 501) whose 4-year-old children were served in public prekindergarten. Study data confirmed the importance of parental practices for children’s academic and social competence but did not support claims that use of any of the practices was related to the child’s gender. Significant differences were found for economic status on dialogic practices and for ethnicity on control and ethnic socialization. Poor parents employed dialogic practices less than nonpoor parents’ and African American parents employed dialogic practices less often and control and ethnic socialization more often than European Americans. Dialogic practices were related to competence, but parental control and ethnic socialization were not.

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