Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sells, James Nathan, 1958-||Wickman, Scott A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Parent and child--Illinois


This research was a quantitative, descriptive field study of parenting stress and daily parenting hassles as predictors of difficult mealtime interaction with four-year-old children in two-parent homes. Parents of four-year-old children visiting five pediatric clinics in a tri-county area of a north central state were asked to voluntarily complete a questionnaire regarding common child behavior problems. Parents willing to participate in further research regarding mealtime were mailed additional questionnaires and checklists used for identification of daily parenting hassles and child behavior problems. Ten families were identified as having high levels of daily parenting hassles and ten families were identified with low levels. Each family consisted of a two-parent home with a four-year-old child and at least one sibling. None of the children had symptoms of chronic illness, developmental delay or behavior disorder. The children were identified as a sample of common four-year-olds. Family mealtime interaction was videotaped on two consecutive evenings. The four-year-old was clearly seen on each videotape and all other family members could be heard and at least partially seen. The first twenty minutes of each meal or the complete meal if it was less than twenty minutes was used for statistical analysis. Trained raters observed and coded child and parent behavior during each mealtime. Family interaction was rated by measures of task accomplishment, affect management, communication, behavior control, interpersonal involvement, roles, and overall family functioning. The family functioning scores and the parent/child behaviors were averaged for statistical analysis. Families identified with high levels of daily hassles were compared to families with low levels of daily hassles. The low hassle parents demonstrated better affect management, behavior control, and roles than high hassle parents. Children in both high and low hassle families demonstrated equal amounts of noncompliance, disruptive behavior, and food consumption. Lower levels of daily parenting hassles rather than any particular child characteristics resulted in more positive parent-child interaction and better overall family functioning.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [87]-95)


x, 122 pages




Northern Illinois University

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