Effects of Preemptive Parenting on Misbehavior, Negative Affect, Praise, Overreactive and Lax Discipline
Dowling, Carey Bernini
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The effects of preemptive parenting (i.e., a form of preventive parenting that occurs prior to child misbehaviors and is comprised of strategies the parent uses to prevent or avoid undesirable child behaviors) on child misbehavior and negative affect and maternal praise and overreactive and lax discipline were examined while mothers were on the phone and children were to play independently. Forty-four mothers and their 24- to 47-month-old toddlers were randomly assigned to either a basic group or an enhanced group. Mothers learned either a basic set of preemptive strategies (setting up the task in a firm and confident manner and giving effective commands, which are similar to strategies included in many parenting interventions) or an enhanced set of preemptive strategies (setting up the task in a firm and confident manner plus engaging and monitoring their children) for managing their children's behavior. Observational data indicated that the hypotheses that the groups would differ significantly on misbehavior, negative affect, and overreactive discipline were not supported; but, consistent with the hypotheses, mothers in the enhanced group engaged in higher percentages of praise and in lower levels of lax discipline than the mothers in the basic group. Future research should examine the enhanced set of strategies further with a stronger manipulation, as well as explore whether adding the enhanced set of strategies to current parenting interventions results in the interventions being more effective at improving child and maternal behaviors.