British Journal of Educational Psychology

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British Journal of Educational Psychology - Early View Articles, Pages ${blockparams.parentJournalIssue.pageRange}

Educating parents to improve parent–child interactions: Fostering the development of attentional control and executive functioning

Background Parent–child interaction is essential in the development of attentional control (AC) and executive functioning (EF). Educating parents in AC and EF development may help them to respond more adaptively to their child's developmental needs. Aim This study aimed to investigate whether parents can be educated to improve interactions with their child through a compact psycho‐educational programme that focuses on fostering the development of AC and EF. Sample Parents and their children in a low‐risk sample of four‐ to eight‐year‐olds were randomly assigned to either the educational programme condition (N = 34) or the control condition (N = 36). Methods Parental supportive presence and intrusiveness were observed during home visits, and children's performance‐based AC and EF were assessed before and after the four‐session programme. Result Parents in the educational programme improved significantly in support ( = .19) and intrusiveness ( = .09) compared to controls. There was no short‐term programme mediation effect on child AC and EF through parental support and intrusiveness. This study showed, however, that parents who improved after the educational programme had children who improved on AC and EF. Conclusion Parent–child interaction can be enhanced in a low‐risk sample of four‐ to eight‐year‐olds using a compact educational group programme within the school community. Future studies should aim at examining variations in programme responsiveness and assessing associations between parent–child interaction and AC and EF over time.

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