Parent Perceptions of Child Behavior: Factors Associated with Social Skills in Kindergarten Students

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Associations between informant rating of children’s social competence and self-regulation are well documented across different forms of self-regulation, including temperamental effortful control and executive functioning (Spinrad et al., 2006). Several studies have shown correlations between informants’ ratings of the importance and of the frequency of particular social skills. However, studies have not considered whether parents’ perceptions of a skill’s importance varies with their perceptions of their child’s self-regulation. This study tested the hypothesis that parent perceptions of the importance of their child’s social skills and their perception of their child’s self-regulation as well as their interaction would contribute to their ratings of social skills frequency among kindergarteners (n = 113). Findings with kindergarteners showed that parents’ importance ratings and self-regulation ratings contributed uniquely to variance in reported social skills and that the relation between rated importance and rated skills was moderated by self-regulation. As self-regulation ratings increased, so did the relationship between social skills importance and frequency. The importance of a given social skill relates to its reported frequency, but higher self-regulation is associated with greater social skills, regardless of parent importance ratings.