Mother-child and father-child dyadic interaction: Parental and child bids and responsiveness to each other during early childhood

Sylia Wilson, C. Emily Durbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


In accord with the now prevailing ecological view that both parent and child play an active role in shaping their interactions, the present study assessed the number of bids by parents and children for social engagement, compliance, and emotion regulation, and the quality of each partner's responsiveness to these bids, in a sample of mothers and fathers of 3-, 4-, and 5/6-year-old children (N = 145). Consistent with developmental changes in early childhood, parents made fewer attempts to influence or regulate older children's mood, older children made more influence but fewer negative bids, and both parents and children used social bids most frequently. There were consistencies within a particular family system, but also distinctions-mothers made more social and mood-regulating bids, whereas fathers made more influence attempts. Results speak to the importance of considering both parental and child behaviors during multiple developmental periods in investigations of the evolving parent-child relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-279
Number of pages31
JournalMerrill-Palmer Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013


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