Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Shelley L. Knudsen Lindauer


Shelley L. Knudsen Lindauer


Randall M. Jones


Donald V. Sisson


Many factors influence preschool children's expectations for parental discipline. Parent characteristics such as personality, values, social class, and disciplinary methods can affect the expectations children have for parental discipline. Children's ability to understand and interpret parental messages can also influence how they will respond. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration in order for effective communication between parents and children to occur.

In this study, preschool children's expectations for parental discipline were examined by using puppets to reenact three different types of disciplinary situations: prudent, moral, and social-conventional. Children, acting as their mother, used puppets to role play six disciplinary puppet vignettes. Their responses to each vignette were then categorized. Mothers' views on child-rearing issues were also garnered by their responses to the Parental Authority Questionnaire. Forty children (20 males, 20 females), ranging in age from 4-l to 66 months. along with their mothers ili = 40). participated in the study. The children were currently attending the Child Development Laboratory at Utah State University

An analysis of variance test (child's gender [2) x child 's response to puppet vignette [3 or 4)) for each maternal PAQ subscale (permissive, authoritarian, authoritative) for each puppet vignette was performed (three subscale scores x six puppet vignettes). A statistically significant relationship between mothers' scores on the authoritative subscale and children's responses to the lighting matches vignette was revealed. The second statistically significant difference emerged between PAQ scores for mothers of boys and mothers of girls on the authoritarian sub scale for the bedtime vignette. The adjusted mean score was significantly higher for mothers of boys than for mothers of girls. Finally, a chi-square analysis was computed comparing children's responses to prudent, moral, and social-conventional vignettes. A statistically significant relationship emerged between children's responses to the prudent, moral, and social-conventional puppet vignettes. Correctional responses were used most frequently for the prudent and moral vignettes, and positive responses were used most frequently for the social-conventional vignettes.