Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Parental Effects on Peer Sociability


One of the goals of parenting is to help your children develop social skills. This can sometimes be a challenging task.

Consider the following quote:

Parents “have the complex task of adjusting their demands and disciplinary methods flexibly to the developing capacities of the child so as to encourage social responsibility without discouraging independence and individuality” (Baumrind, 1978, p. 249).

So how do we help our children?

Parents have both indirect and direct effects on peer sociability.

· In Indirect effects: Parental effects where the parent’s goal is not explicitly to modify the child’s relationships with peers

o For example, the type of attachment you foster with your child can have an effect on the child’s ability to develop positive relationships among the peer group later in life. A child who has a secure attachment is going to be have an easier time fostering relationships with peers than a child who has an insecure attachment.

· D Direct effects: Parental effects which directly determine the amount of contact a child has with peers

o For example, parents have a direct effect as they act as facilitators and mediators. As parents enroll children in organized play groups or activities, chauffeur children from one place to another, and teach children in how to initiate and maintain peer contacts they have a direct impact on the child’s ability to develop positive relationships among the peer group.

These points come from Dr. David Nelson SFL 335 Lecture at Brigham Young University

These are just a few examples of both the indirect and direct effects parents have on children’s peer sociability. What are some other ways that we can help our children develop positive relationships among the peer group?

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