Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Past research examining parenting variables in relation to the development of prosocial reasoning in children has been minimal. Here, 27 two-parent families with a ﬁrst-born four-and-one-half-year-old child were studied. Children’s prosocial reasoning was measured using Eisenberg’s Prosocial Reasoning Task. Aspects of a model of socialization proposed by Darling and Steinberg (1991) which includes parenting values, styles and practices were used here to generate predictions regarding preschoolers’ socialization. Parents’ authoritativeness of style was measured based on Baumrind’s paradigm (1971). Also measured were the values parents chose as being important for their children, and parents’ moral orientation (care versus justice) in the stories they told regarding value teaching to children. Finally, parents’ sophistication of care reasoning was measured using a dilemma from Skoe’s (1991) Ethic of Care Interview (ECI). The correlations of these various parenting variables with children’s prosocial reasoning generally were weak and non-signiﬁcant. The few exceptions to this were that authoritative mothering was positively and signiﬁcantly correlated with daughters’ choice to help the needy other, mothers’ sophistication of care reasoning was negatively and signiﬁcantly correlated with sons’ choice to help the needy other, and fathers’ sophistication of care reasoning was negatively and signiﬁcantly correlated with daughters’ use of hedonistic reasoning. It was suggested that parental stylistic variations such as those studied here may not have had time to operate extensively enough on the domain of preschoolers’ reasoning about moral issues in order to have an observable relationship with children’s varying abilities in prosocial reasoning.
Tzavelas, Stacey, "The relations of parenting characteristics and parents' levels of care reasoning to preschoolers' prosocial reasoning" (1998). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 666.