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Close X. None of the predictors was significantly related to Suggestion. The first analysis examined longitudinal growth in executive function. Estimation of a quadratic growth curve did not converge.
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On average, children at age three had an executive function score of 1. We included child gender, year of preschool at study entry, child age at home visit, and duration of the birthday party as covariates. None was a significant predictor either singularly or jointly tested using a likelihood ratio test , so we report results from the analysis without the covariates for parsimony. Thus, children who received higher amounts of Management-Suggestion during the birthday party task tended to have higher executive function at age three but showed slower growth as they approached and completed kindergarten.
The findings with respect to Management-Direction language were essentially the opposite of those for Management-Suggestion.
Children who received more Management-Direction utterances during the birthday party task tended to have lower executive function skills at age three, but their rate of executive function growth across the transition to kindergarten was not connected to the frequency with which they heard these utterances. Latent growth curve model of executive function with management language predictors.
Verbal self-regulation over time in preschool children at risk for attention and behavior problems.
As a final point, we examined the data to make sure that results were not artifacts of a ceiling effect on the HTKS scores. Using statistical methods for censored data, treating maximum scores as missing, and removing individuals with a maximum score at any occasion from the data did not have any impact on the results.
The current study extends past findings regarding the impact of parental control and management by examining specific parental verbalizations within the context of a play activity in the home. This study provides a simple, straightforward measure of parental management strategies: an observational coding system that gauges how frequently parents use directives or provide opportunities for children to choose their next behavior or action.
A factor analysis revealed that, of the six types of management language that were originally coded, only two main types of utterances emerged: Direction commands that do not solicit child input and Suggestion questions and comments that invite the child to make a choice or provide an opinion regarding the course of the activity. Descriptive data showed that across parents, the most common instance of Direction language involved dictating what children should do without qualification e.
Other kinds of remarks, included Qualified Directions, Simple Suggestions, and Choices were used much less frequently.
This coding scheme further differentiates among the types of parental language explored in prior work Kochanksa et al. As such, it provides a portrait of the management techniques used by parents in this middle- to upper-income community. Moreover, the coding system reveals which kinds of language seem to be used together, and which e.
Patterns of association were largely consistent with initial hypotheses, as children who received relatively high amounts of Direction tended to have lower EF skills at age three, whereas children who received more Suggestion tended to have higher EF at that early point in time. Regardless of initial skill level, all children showed substantial growth on our measure of EF. However, the use of Direction at age three was not significantly linked to executive function growth during preschool and kindergarten, while children who received high amounts of Suggestion grew at a significantly slower rate.
In this way, parents of three-year-olds with low EF might use management language that is more controlling, perhaps to remind and encourage children to manage their behavior, or to prevent children from behaving in inappropriate or impulsive ways.
The same dual explanations are relevant for the finding that children who received relatively high amounts of Suggestion tended to have high initial levels of EF. On one hand, it is plausible that suggestions allow very young children to make choices in a structured and constrained way that is appropriate for their emerging language, cognitive, and attention skills.
Regarding change over time, the findings with respect to directive language shed light on the mixed conclusions of past studies of this type of parent utterance. The current study was able to model change in the same measure of EF across several time points, showing that children with poor EF skills received many commands at age three, but that directive language did not seem to prevent them from developing EF skills. In contrast, increased Suggestion language was associated with slower executive function growth. By providing more commands, parents of children with poor executive functions skills at age three may have helped their children catch up to their peers over time.
Conversely, children who received more Suggestion language may have showed slightly slower growth because they had already developed many of the skills needed to succeed on the EF task. An additional, more nuanced possibility is that although Suggestion language offers some degree of choice, the specific kinds of Suggestion utterances most frequently captured during this activity may not have provided ideal opportunities for children to practice executive function as they grew older, because they tended to promote one particular course of action over others.
Other kinds of Suggestion talk, such as transfer, might be most helpful in this area as children progress through the school transition period. The descriptive statistics indicate that growth on the HTKS measure slowed across the last two assessments, fall and spring of kindergarten. It is important to acknowledge several challenges inherent to the study of management language.
A major challenge in coding management language was determining whether certain parent questions and statements constitute directive or suggestive language. These utterances, termed Ambiguous Suggestions, are questions that are often spoken with an intonation indicative of a command.
In these situations, whether or not the child has been granted a degree of choice or control is ambiguous, and seems to depend on the dynamics of the interaction between each parent and child. Indeed, the factor analysis revealed that this type of utterance loaded onto both the Direction and Suggestion factors.
These types of utterances continue to pose a hindrance to achieving excellent inter-rater reliability and will remain a challenge in future studies of management language. Relatedly, a second limitation of this study is that the sample of families studied was notably advantaged in terms of maternal education, an important indicator of socioeconomic status.
Thus, the sample did not permit an examination of socioeconomic differences in management language. A more heterogeneous sample could provide the opportunity to identify differences in this aspect of parent behavior, and to connect them with child executive function outcomes. The birthday party activity was generally familiar to and very enjoyable for children and parents; thus, it did not elicit much inappropriate behavior from children, nor did it require a lot of behavioral control on the part of the parent.
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