Disciplinary encounters between young boys and their mothers and fathers: Is there a contingency system?

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In a study with 46 sets of male twins and 44 male singletons (mean age 32.4 mo), parents' actions preceding verbal control, considered in addition to their verbal control, were analyzed as 2nd-order antecedents of child compliance. When added to a simple command, physical control detracts from the effectiveness of the command to procure compliance, but positively toned action increases it. Analysis of parents' responses to children's compliance or noncompliance revealed that they were both most often followed by parental nonresponse. The mother tended to react more often to compliance than the father did. The father's presence affected the mother-child interactions beneficially, but she was the major disciplinarian. The kind of response made by parents was generally more a function of the overall base rate of the different parental action categories than a response determined contingently by the child's act. In natural encounters, the control system seems somewhat erratic. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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