Understanding preemptive parenting: Relations with toddlers' misbehavior, overreactive and Lax Discipline, and praise

Carey Bernini Dowling, Amy M. Smith Slep, Susan G. O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The relations among preemptive parenting (i.e., a hypothetical set of strategies parents can use prior to child misbehavior that serves to prevent or avoid undesirable child behaviors), dysfunctional discipline, and praise were examined. Forty mother-toddler (M age=26.15 months, SD=5.60) dyads interacted in a standard laboratory task designed to elicit misbehavior and discipline. Observational data indicated that preemptive parenting contributed to the prediction of child misbehavior above and beyond the prediction from dysfunctional discipline and praise but did not contribute uniquely to the prediction of mother-reported externalizing behavior problems. Further analyses indicated that child misbehavior mediated the relation between preemptive parenting and over reactive, but not lax, discipline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-857
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this