Parental Encouragement and Discouragement during Science Problem-Solving: A Function of Parental Beliefs Based on Gender
A total of 154 families were included in the larger study in which this study is situated. A sub-sample of 32 parent-child dyads (balanced in terms of parent and child gender and ethnicity) were randomly selected for in-depth content analysis of transcript and video data. The fourth-grade students and their parents were recruited from elementary schools, community recreation centers, and public libraries. Each dyad participated in six science activities while researchers audio and video recorded sessions, which were then transcribed and coded for expressions of encouragement and discouragement. Parents filled out questionnaires while children were interviewed. Parents did not report that science was more important for one gender over the other. A significant difference in encouragement and discouragement based on child gender was not found. A significant difference in encouragement based on parental beliefs was not found, but a significant difference in discouragement based on parental beliefs was found. Neither parental beliefs nor parental behaviors predicted how children rated interest in the science activities they participated in. The implications and limitations of this study are discussed.