Conditions underlying parents' knowledge about children's daily lives in middle childhood: Between- and within-family comparisons

Ann C. Crouter, Heather Helms-Erikson, Kimberly Updegraff, Susan M. McHale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the correlates of mothers' and fathers' knowledge about the daily experiences of their firstborn (M = 10.9 years) and secondborn (M = 8.3 years) children in 198 nondivorced, predominantly dualearner families. Results revealed between- and within-family differences in knowledge as a function of mothers' work involvement, sibship composition (i.e., sex, birth order), children's personal qualities (e.g., temperament), and parents' personal qualities (e.g., education, gender role attitudes). Mothers' knowledge did not vary as a function of how much they worked outside the home, but fathers knew more about their children's activities, whereabouts, and companions when their wives worked longer hours. Parents knew more about their younger than their older offspring. Both mothers and fathers knew more about offspring of the same sex than about opposite-sex children, leading to greater within-family differences in families with mixed-sex siblings. Perhaps because parental involvement and monitoring are more "scripted" for mothers than fathers, fathers' knowledge was more consistently related to their children's characteristics than was mothers.'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-259
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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