Assessing Specific Discipline Techniques: A Mixed-Methods Approach
This study explored, in a community sample of mothers of toddlers, parenting beliefs and values, to gain insight into the parent–child relationship. Acceptance of specific discipline techniques (DTs), and their actual use in daily life were examined. A mixed-methods approach comprising three different methods was used: (1) parenting beliefs and values were explored with Q-methodology; (2) acceptance of the DTs was assessed with the questionnaire Dimensions of Discipline Inventory; and (3) actual use of those DTs in daily-life incidents of discipline was documented using ecological momentary assessment for ten consecutive days. The results showed the mothers’ parenting beliefs and values reflected a warm parent–child relationship. The mothers rated explaining rules, timeout, removal of privileges, and social reinforcement as moderately to highly acceptable. However, planned ignoring received a low acceptance rating. Mothers’ high acceptability ratings of the DTs contrasted with moderate use when they were faced with their misbehaving child, with the exception of explaining rules, which was always manifested. Yelling and spanking received the lowest acceptance ratings. Nonetheless, in daily life, yelling was employed as often as timeout. These findings suggest the need for more attention to be paid to both acceptance and daily use of specific DTs in order to highlight DTs which parents may have difficulty implementing.
KeywordsParental discipline Toddler Mixed-methods Q-methodology Ecological momentary assessment
This study was funded by a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Grant: PMCDP1_129171. The authors are grateful to Prof Marcel Trudel for providing the CRPR French translation, and to research assistants (Floriane Lovis, Stephanie Houriet and Cyrielle Rossier) for their role in data collection.
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