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Differentiated Links Between Educational Practices of Fathers and Mothers and the Presence of Behavioral Difficulties in Boys and Girls of Preschool Age

Thérèse Besnard, Jacques Joly, Pierrette Verlaan, France Capuano

In this study, the author compared the educational practices of fathers and mothers of children who present exteriorized behaviour problems with those of parents whose children do not (n = 626 children, average age: 5.6 years). She also examined the relationships between the level of the behavioural difficulty experienced by the children and the educational practices of their parents, taking into account the gender of both parent and child. The results indicate that a feeling of insufficient parental competence is interconnected with the difficulties experienced by the children, irrespective of the gender of parent or child. The results also show a differentiated linkage, more particularly that of the improper use of discipline, especially as concerns boys and that of a low level of paternal commitment, especially as concerns girls. The discussion brings out the possible spin-off from a differentiated approach to the two parents.