Parenting practices, aggressive response evaluation and decision, and social difficulties in kindergarten children: The role of fathers

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The association between fathers' parenting characteristics and their preschool children's social information processing (SIP) patterns is an understudied research topic. Hence, the current study aims to bridge this gap by examining whether there are differences between mothers' and fathers' parenting characteristics and their children's SIP patterns as well as their social functioning in school, with a specific focus on children's aggressive response evaluation and decision (RED) and social difficulties in kindergarten. Using a multimethod (self-reports and direct assessments) multi-informant (mother, father, child, and teacher) design, we collected data from 115 kindergarten children, their mothers, and their fathers, tapping the parents' perceptions of the relationships with the child and parenting style; the child's aggressively biased RED, and the child's social difficulties in kindergarten. We found that fathers' parenting capacities are associated with children's aggressively biased RED, whereas no such associations were found for mothers. In addition, aggressively biased RED mediated the association between fathers' authoritative parenting style and the child's maladaptive behavior in kindergarten. There were no differences between fathers and mothers in relation to social difficulties in kindergarten, with both parents' authoritative parenting style associated with less social difficulties. However, sex moderated this association in mothers as their authoritative style was associated with social difficulties in boys but not in girls. This difference was not found in fathers. On the other hand, fathers' authoritarian parenting style was associated with aggressive RED in boys but not in girls. The tentative nature of these findings and the need for replications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-160
Number of pages13
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation under Grant Number 492/16 to Yair Ziv. The authors would like to thank all families and research assistants participating in this study. They would also like to thank Inbar Sofri and Einat Elizarov who very skillfully managed and coordinated the research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC

© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • aggression
  • decision making
  • early childhood
  • fathers
  • parenting
  • social information processing
  • Parenting
  • Humans
  • Child, Preschool
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Female
  • Fathers
  • Social Adjustment
  • Schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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