Mothers' and fathers' beliefs about and spontaneous participation in their toddlers' pretend play

Wendy L. Haight, Ross D. Parke, James E. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

A sociocultural theory of pretend play must account for intracultural variation in parents' participation in their toddlers' pretending. European-American, middle-class husbands (N = 29) and wives (N = 29) were observed separately during parent-child play, and then interviewed separately at home. Both fathers and mothers generally characterized pretend play as an enjoyable activity, facilitative of children's creativity and cognitive development. In addition, most mothers and fathers were observed to participate in pretend play with their children. Individual differences in parents' beliefs and their actual participation in pretend play were related, but these relations differed by parent gender. These data underscore the importance of interpreting intracultural variation within a broader cultural context; in this case, parents' gender roles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-290
Number of pages20
JournalMerrill-Palmer Quarterly
Volume43
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997

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