Maternal teaching strategies and cognitive tempo in young children
Wilgen, Julie Mapes
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The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between cognitive tempo (reflection-impulsivity) in children and specific labeling and focusing behaviors of mothers as they taught their children two problem-solving tasks. Two measures of cognitive tempo were administered to 44 preschool children, ages 46 to 67 months. The children and their mothers were then placed together in a structured laboratory setting. Maternal behaviors were videotaped while the mothers taught their children a block-sorting task and engaged in a discussion of alternatives to a photographed problem situation. Results indicated that there was a significant relationship between children's cognitive tempo and maternal specificity on the block task but not on the photo problem. Mothers of impulsive children used more statements relevant to task solution than did mothers of reflective children. There was also a significant relationship between children's cognitive tempo scores and self-report data from mothers on their general parenting style. Discussion centered on explaining these results and addressing methodological issues relative to maternal behaviors and cognitive tempo in young children.