Growth modeling was used to examine the relation of early parenting behaviors (averaged across 6 and 12 months) with rates of change in children's cognitive-language and social response and initiating skills assessed at 6, 12, 24, and 40 months. Groups of full-term (n = 112) and very low birth weight children, divided into medically low (n = 114) and high risk (HR; n = 73), were included to evaluate whether children who vary in their rate of development are influenced in different ways by early parenting styles. Parenting behaviors that were sensitive to children's focus of interest and did not highly control or restrict their behaviors predicted greater increases and faster rates of cognitive-language and social development, with relations stronger for the HR versus the other two groups. These maternal behaviors may provide the support all infants need to establish an optimal early foundation for later development and the specific support HR children need to learn in spite of early attentional and organizational problems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies