Thompson, Margaret J.J., Raynor, Alex, Cornah, Deborah, Stevenson, Jim and Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S.
Parenting behaviour described by mothers in a general population sample
Child: Care, Health & Development, 28, (2), . (doi:10.1046/j.1365-2214.2002.00258.x).
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Objectives: To collect mothers' reports of the range of behaviours used by them in the management of their children's difficult behaviour.
Design: A cross-sectional study using an interview with both semi-structured and open-ended question routes.
Sampling frame: The population of mothers with 10-year-old children living in the New Forest region of Hampshire, UK.
Methods: Mothers (n = 67), selected from the sampling frame, were interviewed about the range of parenting behaviours they used in the management of their children's difficult behaviour.
Results: Mothers reported a wide range of behaviours. Both authoritative (e.g. reasoning was mentioned by 42%) and authoritarian (e.g. the use of physical punishment was mentioned by 37%) behaviours were mentioned frequently. Although the different behaviours within these domains were intercorrelated, there was little overlap between the two domains. The use of praise for good behaviour seemed to be independent of other behaviours. There was no association between mothers' parenting behaviours and the behaviour problems of their children.
Conclusions: These data suggest that parenting takes many forms, with variations of behaviour across the 'normal' range being unlikely to represent a significant risk to children's development. Public funding for parenting education should be targeted at those children who are at significant risk from extreme forms of parenting.
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