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The Construct of Rules in Middle Childhood: How Rules are Negotiated and the Process of Leeway

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Title: The Construct of Rules in Middle Childhood: How Rules are Negotiated and the Process of Leeway
Author: Robson, Jane
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Program: Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Advisor: Kuczynski, Leon
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of rules which are historically conceptualized as static and unidirectional constructs strictly enforced by parents. This behavioural perspective is focused on parents as active agents and children immediately obey parental requests (Patterson, 1982). In contrast, a developmental perspective was used in this study in which rules are flexible and coconstructed by parents and children (Parkin & Kuczynski, 2012). Forty families participated in open-ended interviews; each family had one child between the ages of eight and thirteen. A thematic analysis was conducted and results suggested that rules were constructed by a bidirectional process in which parents and children were active agents. Parents most commonly perceived the rules to be flexible, coregulated and inherent - few parents described firm and explicit rules. Rules were developed by negotiation, based on the child’s development and by accommodating external influences. Leeway was an inherent, expected component of parent-child interactions
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3946
Date: 2012-09
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