The relation between parental attributions and harsh discipline during toddlerhood: Are there differences between fathers, mothers, sons and doughters?
Leeuw, N. de
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Harsh discipline is punishing in a harsh way to discipline a child, which in time can lead to emotional and behavioural problems. In the present research the relationship between child-responsible attributions and harsh discipline has been studied, specifically focussing on differences between mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. The data has been gathered though the means of self-report. Parents of 127 toddlers (M=34.09 months, SD=8.56, 46.9 % boys) were asked to fill in questionnaires. Paired t-tests showed that mothers appear to make more child-responsible attributions than fathers. For the use of harsh discipline no differences between mothers and fathers were found. Neither were any differences found in the level of child-responsible attributions or use of harsh discipline in regard to sons or daughters. Next to that, a Pearson analysis showed that for mothers higher scores on child-responsible attributions are related to higher scores on harsh discipline. This relation was not found for fathers. In conclusion, only the sex of the parent seems to influence the making of child-responsible attributions and whether this leads to harsh discipline. The sex of the child does not seem to affect either the making of child-responsible attributions nor the use of harsh discipline. As harsh discipline can lead to emotional and behavioural problems in children, for future research it would be valuable to further explore these sex differences between mothers and fathers.