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: Developing social competence in early childhood is beneficial for children’s academic, emotional, and social outcomes, and is influenced by the parenting children receive.

This review aims to evaluate research on parenting and social development in early childhood to assess the parenting strategies that best promote early social competence. Drawing on the tenets of Bandura’s Social Learning Theory and knowledge of early childhood, the review hypothesized that connected, consistent, and supportive, yet firm, parenting would be positively associated with social competence development during early childhood, and that harsh and rigid parenting would be negatively associated with this development. This hypothesis was confirmed for both mothers and fathers in the reviewed studies that did not account for temperament and challenged by the studies that did evaluate temperament. The research involving temperament suggested that the beneficial and detrimental parenting behaviors proposed in the review’s hypothesis may require adjustment for children with different temperaments. These studies highlight how important it is for parents to socialize their child in a way that fits their child’s temperament. The implications of these findings for parenting interventions are noted, and the limitations and possibilities for future research are highlighted.


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20 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Parenting and the Development of Social Competence in Early Childhood

  • Journal title
    • International Social Science Review

  • Volume
    • 97

  • Issue
    • 4

  • Date submitted

    20 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Meredith Karam, M.Ed & MA is a doctoral candidate in Human Development at The Catholic University of America. Kathryn Amey Degnan, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at The Catholic University of America.