Strengthening child compliance through positive parenting practices: what works?

J Clin Child Psychol. 1997 Dec;26(4):433-40. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp2604_12.


Examined the laboratory playroom behavior of 36 normal mother-child dyads during a competitive game in which the mothers gave periodic instructions to their children. The dyads were equally divided into a control group, and two experimental groups in which mothers were taught to use positive parenting in the form of mirroring or praise. The game activity was videotaped and observers coded rates of child compliance, maternal instructions, mirroring and praise, and the mothers' overall responsiveness to their children's full repertoire of behaviors. After the game, mothers and children were interviewed separately to assess their satisfaction with the game interaction. Results showed higher percentages of child compliance and higher ratings of dyadic satisfaction for the experimental groups. However, maternal responsiveness proved to be the only significant predictor of these dependent measures, suggesting that mirroring and praise are specific markers for a more complex parenting process. Implications of these results for parenting practices and parent training are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Behavior* / classification
  • Child Rearing / psychology
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Observation
  • Parenting* / psychology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reinforcement, Verbal
  • Videotape Recording