Verbal rationales and modeling as adjuncts to a parenting technique for child compliance

Child Dev. 1984 Aug;55(4):1290-8.


The purpose of this study was to examine whether the effectiveness of a behavioral parenting technique with children in 2 age groups (3-4 1/2 or 5 1/2-7 1/2 years) is facilitated by introducing the procedure to the child by verbal rationales and/or modeling adjuncts. Mothers were taught to implement a procedure in which they ignored their children following child noncompliance to a maternal command. 80 mother-child pairs were assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: ignoring training, ignoring plus verbal rationale, ignoring plus verbal rationale and modeling, or control. Each mother issued a set of 20 standard commands to her child in a laboratory playroom. Dependent measures included observations of child compliance and inappropriate behavior and self-report of parental satisfaction and child comprehension. Children in the rationale and rationale-plus-modeling conditions were more compliant and less inappropriate than children in either of the other 2 conditions, and their mothers reported greater satisfaction than mothers in the ignoring condition. Older children were more compliant, were quicker to comply, and demonstrated a greater comprehension of the contingencies than younger children. There was no differential responsivity in either age group between the rationale and rationale-plus-modeling adjuncts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Rearing
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior*
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Parents / education
  • Verbal Behavior*