Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-14-2022

Document Type



Benda, A. 2022. Associations Between Tasks-oriented Dynamic Parent-Child Interactions and Elementary School Students' Behavioral Regulation in the Classroom. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Ali Benda 2022.


The current study examined the associations between task-oriented parent-child interactions and children’s classroom behavior. More specifically, we examined how parent-child interactions are correlated with teachers’ reports of children’s behavioral regulation in the classroom. A preliminary sample of 54 second-grade students and their parents were invited to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to complete a lab assessment, which included a parent-child interaction task where the dyad was asked to work together on math and reading problems as they normally would at home over the course of ten minutes. These interactions were recorded and later coded using second-by-second momentary coding. The codes were mapped onto State Space Grids (SSG), which allow researchers to visually track temporal changes in the development of a process or interaction. The region of interest within the current study is task-oriented parent-child interactions, defined as the child being on-task while the parent is following the child’s lead or passively engaged, or the child being off-task, withdrawn, or defiant while the parent is directing/redirecting. The data obtained from these grids were cross-referenced with three different surveys that the children’s teachers completed reporting on children’s behavioral regulation in the classroom. Results suggest that students in the sample showed low levels of problematic externalizing behaviors, such as arguing, disrupting, or fidgeting, and moderate to high levels of task-oriented behaviors, such as completing tasks and paying attention. The SSG coding demonstrated that most parent-child dyads remained task-oriented throughout the Homework Help task. There were no statistically significant correlations between task-oriented parent-child interactions and teacher report of students’ behavioral regulation due to the small sample size, however, current results suggest task-oriented parent-child interactions may be correlated with children’s flexible shifting between tasks and rules in the classroom. Next steps include continued collection of teacher data and coding of parent-child interactions.