Early Maternal and Child Influences on Children's Later Independent Cognitive and Social Functioning

The present study examined whether parenting and child characteristics of 2- and 3H-year-old children had common paths of influence on their 4H-year independent cognitive and social functioning. Structural equation modeling was guided by hypotheses that assumed children's later independence is...

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Published in: Child development Vol. 71; no. 2; pp. 358 - 375
Main Authors: Landry, Susan H, Smith, Karen E, Swank, Paul R, Miller-Loncar, Cynthia L
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Published: Boston, USA and Oxford, UK Blackwell Publishing 03-01-2000
Blackwell Publishers Inc
Blackwell Publishers
Blackwell
Wiley Subscription Services, Inc
University of Chicago Press for the Society for Research in Child Development, etc
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Summary: The present study examined whether parenting and child characteristics of 2- and 3H-year-old children had common paths of influence on their 4H-year independent cognitive and social functioning. Structural equation modeling was guided by hypotheses that assumed children's later independence is facilitated by specialized parental support in early social interactions. To address the importance of variability in early development for understanding children's later independence, we included 104 term and 185 preterm children, as they are known to differ in early skills. As predicted, mothers' maintaining of children's interests indirectly supported 4H-year cognitive and social independence through a direct, positive influence on 2- and 3H-year skills. Directiveness positively supported children's early cognitive and responsiveness skills but by 3H years, high levels of this behavior had a direct, negative influence on their cognitive and social independence at 4H years. Whereas high levels of maintaining interests across these ages support later independence, directiveness needs to decrease in relation to children's increasing competencies. Results support a theoretical framework that emphasizes the importance of the social context for understanding the origins of children's later independent functioning.
ISSN: 0009-3920
1467-8624
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.00150