Preschool Children's Social Status and Maternal Instructions to Assist Group Entry

Alan Russell, Victoria Finnie

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    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Mothers' preparatory instructions (comments, helpful advice, and suggestions) intended to assist their child in subsequently joining the play of an unknown pair of children were studied. What mothers said to their child while they actually joined in (contemporaneous instructions) was investigated, as well as their claims about the kind of feedback they would give the child after the play. Mothers of popular, rejected, and neglected children were compared. It was hypothesised that the instructions mothers gave would parallel the known group-entry behavior of these groups of children. Hypotheses were substantially supported for mothers of popular children, moderately supported for mothers of neglected children, and less supported for mothers of rejected children. The most consistent finding was that mothers of popular children were more likely to suggest a group-oriented entry strategy to their child. These results tend to support previous studies suggesting that there are links between the social behavior of parents and their children and that family experiences may be involved in the acquisition of peer relationship skills. The mechanisms by which such family influence might operate are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)603-611
    Number of pages9
    JournalDevelopmental Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1990


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