Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Edwards, C.P., Sheridan, S.M., & Knoche, L. (2010). Parent-child relationships in early learning. In E. Baker, P. Peterson, & B. McGaw (eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, Volume 5, pp. 438-443. Oxford,England: Elsevier.


Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Parental behavior during a child’s first five years of life is critical for the development of important social and cognitive outcomes in children that set the stage for life-long adaptation and functioning. This chapter will review some of the key findings about the importance of parent-child relationships in early learning. Three dimensions of parent behavior will be described as “parental engagement”: (a) warmth and sensitivity, (b) support for a child’s emerging autonomy, and (c) active participation in learning. Cross cultural variations in which the styles of these behaviors are expressed are also considered, contrasting physical, social, and cognitive styles of communicating parental care.