Mothers' and fathers' interaction with preschoolers in the home in Northern Thailand: Relationships to teachers' assessments of children social skills

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Jaipaul Roopnarine


Mothers, Fathers, Preschoolers, Thailand, Children, Social skills

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology | Sociology


Family researchers have become increasingly interested in uncovering parenting behaviors in different cultures and their connection to different aspects of children's development. The present study investigated gender-of-parent and gender-of-child differences in participation in a wide range of social and cognitive activities, and the link between parent-child activities and children's social skills in preschool in Northern Thailand. Using ecocultural theory as a guide, some everyday activities of mothers and fathers with children were observed for 2 hours in the home in 53 families residing in Chiang Mai Province. Additionally, teachers provided assessments of children's general social skills in preschool using the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales (PKBS). The data revealed that mothers were significantly more likely to engage in general conversations, to dress, assist with homework, tell stories, to praise, and use commands and reasoning with children than fathers. There were no significant differences between mothers and fathers in the display of affection, teasing/joking with children, comforting children when distressed, feeding children, and in their modes of play interactions with children. Parents treated boys and girls quite similarly. There were significant associations between parental involvement in play and discipline and children's social skills in preschool. Data are discussed with respect to changes in culturally driven parent-child practices and cultural developmental pathways to social competence.


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