Family Roles in Young Children's Emerging Peer-Related Social Competence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The purpose of this chapter is to explore linkages between two arenas of social competence, family and peer, with a focus on linkages between one particular subsystem within the family (parent-child) and a child's relationships with peers. It is important to emphasize, however, that parent-child relationships are embedded within many different kinds of contexts that influence their characteristics but are seldom included as a part of the research on family-peer linkages. These include family system factors such as emotional climate and marital satisfaction, as well as individual characteristics of family members such as gender, age, and psychological well-being. Many family contexts may also be directly influenced by having a child with a disability (Guralnick, 2005). Parents' ideas and beliefs about children and parenting, including ideas that reflect cultural background, also influence what parents do with their children (Harkness & Super, 1995; Schneider, Smith, Poisson, &Kwan, 2000). Children's development provides another important context for understanding parent-child and child-peer relationships. Expectations for social competence as well as linkages between family and peer would be expected to differ depending on children's ages and developmental abilities. Depending on the particular disability and/or its severity, children may have strengths and deficits or delays that are directly related to social interaction (e.g., visual or hearing impairment) or central to development of emotional understanding and social competence (e.g., cognition, communication). Disabilities also may influence important contributors to social competence such as attention regulation (Dawson et al., 2004; Kasari, Freeman, Mundy, & Sigman, 1995), emotion recognition (Kasari, Freeman, & Hughes, 2001), and use of words to express internal states (Beeghly & Cicchetti, 1997). Linkages between parent-child relationships and children's competence with their peers are embedded within both family and developmental contexts for all children.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication Social Competence of Young Children
Subtitle of host publicationRisk, Disability, and Intervention
EditorsW H Brown, S L Odom, S R McConnell
PublisherPaul H Brookes Publishing
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9781557669230
StatePublished - 2008


  • *Family
  • *Parent Child Relations
  • *Peer Relations
  • *Social Interaction
  • *Social Skills
  • Childhood Development
  • Disabilities
  • Family Members


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