Parents and children: interplays and pathways to early development

John Hobcraft, University of York

This paper uses data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to explore the ways in which characteristics and behaviours of one or both parents and of the child interplay in the pathways to early development. The MCS has collected a rich array of information on these characteristics and behaviours when the cohort members were aged 9 months, three and five years. The key developmental indicators cover the cohort members’ cognition, behaviour and health measures at ages 3 and 5 and, for those in England at age 5, the teachers’ assessments for the Foundation Stage Profile.

The focus of this paper is on the series of measures that try to capture parenting or parental behaviours and parent-child interactions. There are a wide range of such measures, some of which are hard to classify or lack conceptual clarity, and there are several issues of overlap and possible duplication. The goals of the analysis are to disentangle which measures succeed in capturing significant pathways through parenting or parent-child interactions to developmental outcomes and the findings will be placed within the relevant literature.

Presented in Session 82: The linked lives of parents and children