The links between marital relations, parenting, and children's higher and lower forms of play in the day care peer group were determined. Forty dual-earner couples provided assessments of their real and ideal modes of parenting, marital stress, and marital companionship. Their preschoolaged children who had been enrolled in day care for an average of 2 years were observed during peer group play in their day care centers. There were few significant differences between mothers and fathers in their assessments of their marital relations and modes of parenting. Mothers and fathers expressed a good deal of discrepancy between their real and ideal modes of parenting. Regression analysis revealed direct associations between maternal marital stress and maternal guilt and anxiety, dramatic and functional play; mothers' marital companionship also showed direct associations with solitary and functional play. Modes of parenting did not show significant associations with children's play behaviors. The findings are discussed with respect to the direct influence of marital relations on children's social skills with peers in day care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science