Parenting Practices and Child Misbehavior: A Mixed-Method Study of Italian Mothers and Children
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. SYNOPSIS: Objective. The present study uses a mixed qualitative and quantitative method to examine three main research questions: What are the practices that mothers report they use when trying to correct their children’s misbehaviors? Are there common patterns of these practices? Are the patterns that emerge related to children’s well-being? Design. Italian mother–child dyads (N = 103) participated in the study (when children were 8 years of age). At Time 1, mothers answered open-ended questions about discipline; in addition, measures of maternal physical discipline and rejection and child aggression were assessed in mothers and children at Time 1, 1 year later (Time 2), and 2 years later (Time 3). Results. Mothers’ answers to open-ended questions about what they would do in three disciplinary situations were classified in six categories: physical or psychological punishment, control, mix of force and reasoning, reasoning, listening, and permissiveness. Cluster analysis yielded three clusters: Group 1, induction (predominant use of reasoning and listening; 74%); Group 2, punishment (punitive practices and no reasoning; 16%); Group 3, mixed practices (combination of reasoning and punishment, as well as high control and no listening; 10%). Multiple-group latent growth curves of maternal physical discipline, maternal rejection, and child aggression were implemented to evaluate possible differences in the developmental trends from Time 1 to Time 3, as a function of cluster. Conclusions. Qualitative data deepen understanding of parenting because they shed light on what parents think about themselves; their self-descriptions, in turn, help to identify ways of parenting that may have long-lasting consequences for children’s adjustment.
Bombi, AS; Di Norcia, A; Di Giunta, L; Pastorelli, C; Lansford, JE
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