Masters Thesis

Parenting behaviors linked to child language development: associations among vocabulary, parent interactions, and parents' knowledge of child development in high income households

This study aimed to examine the relationship among parents’ knowledge of child development, parent-child interactions, and child’s language ability in upper-middle class to high-income households. This study examined which specific parenting behaviors during parent-child interactions were related to parents’ knowledge of child development and child language ability. This study further examined how the gender of the child was related to the parent behaviors shown during parent-child interactions. Children were between 3 and 6 years old and primarily spoke English. Parents filled out a parenting knowledge and demographics assessment, child vocabulary was assessed, and the parent and child interacted for ten minutes while being video-recorded. The video was later coded for parent behaviors. Results showed that parents’ knowledge of child development was related to smiling more often and asking the child for information during an activity. There was no significant relationship between parents’ knowledge and child vocabulary scores, nor between parent behaviors and child vocabulary score for either females or males. However, several parenting behavior items were correlated with male children’s vocabulary scores, suggesting that the variability in the vocabulary scores may be related to the differences in experiences each child has.