Maternal Parenting Attitudes and Preschoolers’ Hot and Cool Executive Functions

Open access


The relationships between maternal parenting attitudes and preschoolers’ hot and cool executive functions (EF) were examined. Forty-eight children aged 3 to 4 years and their mothers took part in the study. Self-report questionnaire concerning parenting attitudes was obtained from the mothers of children who performed a set of EF tasks. Additionally, both maternal and child verbal ability were controlled. It was found that maternal parenting attitudes were related only to child cool EF. Protecting attitude was positively related to child inhibitory control and autonomy support was negatively related to child set-shifting ability. Further analyses revealed that maternal autonomy support accounted for unique variance in child set-shifting, above and beyond the child’s age. On the other hand, protecting attitude accounted for unique variance in child inhibitory control, above and beyond child verbal ability. The findings provide further evidence for the importance of mother-child relationships in children’s EF development.

Baldwin, A. L., Kalhorn, J., & Breese, F. (1945). Patterns of parent behavior. Psychological Monographs, 58(3), 51–75.

Benasich, A. A., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1996). Maternal attitudes and knowledge of child-rearing: Associations with family and child outcomes. Child Development, 67(3), 1186–1205.

Bernier, A., Carlson, S. M., & Whipple, N. (2010). From external regulation to self-regulation: Early parenting precursors of young children’s executive functioning. Child Development, 81(1), 326–339. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01397.x

Bernier, A., Carlson, S. M., Deschênes, M., & Matte-Gagné, C. (2012). Social factors in the development of early executive functioning: A closer look at the caregiving environment. Developmental Science, 15(1), 12–24. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2011.01093.x

Bibok, M. B., Carpendale, J. I. M., & Müller, U. (2009). Parental scaffolding and the development of executive function. In C. Lewis, & J. M. Carpendale (Eds.), Social interaction and the development of executive function. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 123, 17–34.

Blair, C. (2003). Behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation in young children: Relations with self-regulation and adaptation to preschool in children attending Head Start. Developmental Psychobiology, 42(3), 301–311.

Blair, C., Granger, D. A., Willoughby, M., Mills-Koonce, R., Cox, M., Greenberg, M. T., … the FLP Investigators (2011). Salivary cortisol mediates effects of poverty and parenting on executive functions in early childhood. Child Development, 82, 1970–1984. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01643.x

Booth, J. N., & Boyle, J. M. E. (2009). The role of inhibitory functioning in children’s reading skills. Educational Psychology in Practice, 25(4), 339–350. doi: 10.1080/02667360903315164

Bornstein, M. H., Putnick, D. L., & Lansford, J. E. (2011). Parenting attributions and attitudes in cross-cultural perspective. Parenting: Science and Practice, 11(2–3), 214–237. doi: 10.1080/15295192.2011.585568

Bush, G., Luu, P., & Posner, M. I. (2000). Cognitive and emotional influences in anterior cingulate cortex. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, 215–222. doi: 10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01483-2

Campbell, S. B. (1995). Behavior problems in preschool children: A review of recent research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 113–149. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.ep11545649

Carlson, S. M. (2005). Developmentally sensitive measures of executive function in preschool children. Developmental Neuropsychology, 28(2), 595–616. doi: 10.1207/s15326942dn2802_3

Carlson, S. M., Davis, A., & Leach, J. (2005). Less is more: Executive function and symbolic representation in preschool children. Psychological Science, 16(8), 609–616. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01583.x

Carlson, S. M., Mandell, D. J., & Williams, L. (2004). Executive function and theory of mind: Stability and prediction from ages 2 to 3. Developmental Psychology, 40, 1105–1122.

Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral science. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Cuevas, K., Deater-Deckard, K., Kim-Spoon, J., Watson, A. J., Morasch, K. C., & Bell, M. A. (2014). What’s mom got to do with it? Contributions of maternal executive function and caregiving to the development of executive function across early childhood. Developmental Science, 17(2), 224–238. doi: 10.1111/desc.12073.

Fay-Stammbach, T., Hawes, D. J., & Meredith, P. (2014). Parenting influences on executive function in early childhood: A review. Child Development Perspectives, 8(4), 258–264. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12095

Gerstadt, C. L., Hong, Y. J., & Diamond, A. (1994). The relationship between cognition and action: Performance of children 3½–7 years old on a Stroop-like day-night test. Cognition, 53, 129–153. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(94)90068-X

Haman, E., Fronczyk, K., & Luniewska, M. (2012). Obrazkowy Test Słownikowy – Rozumienie (OTSR). Podręcznik [Picture Vocabulary Test: Comprehension (PVTC). Manual]. Gdańsk, Poland: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych i Pedagogicznych.

Holden, G. W., & Buck, M. J. (2002). Parental attitudes toward childrearing. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting. Vol. 3. Being and becoming a parent (2nd ed., 537–562). New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hongwanishkul, D., Happaney, K., Lee, W. S. C., & Zelazo, P. D. (2005). Assessment of hot and cool executive function in young children: Age-related changes and individual differences. Developmental Neuropsychology, 28(2), 617–644. doi: 10.1207/s15326942dn2802_4

Hughes, C. H., & Ensor, R. A. (2009). How do families help or hinder the emergence of early executive function? In C. Lewis, & J. M. Carpendale (Eds.), Social interaction and the development of executive function. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 123, 35–50. doi: 10.1002/cd.234

Jacques, S., & Zelazo, P. D. (2005). Language and the development of cognitive flexibility: Implications for theory of mind. In J. W. Astington, & J. A. Baird (Eds.), Why language matters for theory of mind (pp. 144–162). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Karreman, A., van Tuijl, C., van Aken, M. G., & Deković M. (2006). Parenting and self-regulation in preschoolers: A meta-analysis. Infant and Child Development, 15(6), 561–579. doi: 10.1002/icd.478

Kerr, A., & Zelazo, P. D. (2004). Development of “hot” executive function: The children’s gambling task. Brain and Cognition, 55, 148–157. doi: 10.1016/S0278-2626(03)00275-6

Kochanska, G., & Murray, K. (1996). Inhibitory control in young children and its role in emerging internalization. Child Development, 67(2), 490–507. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.ep9605280323

Landry, S., Smith, K., & Swank, P. (2006). Responsive parenting: Establishing early foundations for social, communication and independent problem solving skills. Developmental Psychology, 42(4), 627–642. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.42.4.627

Lewis, C., Koyasu, M., Oh, S., Ogawa, A., Short, B., & Huang, Z. (2009). Culture, executive function, and social understanding. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 1(123), 69–85. doi: 10.1002/cd.236

Matczak, A., Jaworska, A., Szustrowa, T., & Ciechanowicz, A. (1995). Bateria Testów APIS-Z. Podręcznik [The APIS-Z Battery. Manual]. Warszawa, Poland: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych PTP.

Matte-Gagne, C., & Bernier, A. (2011). Prospective relations between maternal autonomy support and child executive functioning: Investigating the mediating role of child language ability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110(4), 611–625. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2011.06.006

Plopa, M. (2008). Więzi w małżeństwie i rodzinie. Metody badań [Bonding in Marriage and Family: Assessment Methods]. Kraków, Poland: Wyd. Impuls.

Pluess, M., & Belsky, J. (2010). Differential susceptibility to parenting and quality child care. Developmental Psychology, 46(2), 379–390.

Pridham, K., Denney, N., Pascoe, J., Chiu, Y., & Creasey, D. (1995). Mothers’ solutions to childrearing problems: Conditions and processes. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57(3), 785–799. doi: 10.2307/353932

Razza, R. A., Martin, A., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2012). Anger and children’s socioemotional development: Can parenting elicit a positive side to a negative emotion? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(5), 845–856. doi: 10.1007/s10826-011-9545-1

Rhoades, B. L., Greenberg, M. T., Lanza, S. T., & Blair, C. (2011). Demographic and familial predictors of early executive function development: Contribution of a person-centered perspective. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 638–662. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2010.08.00

Rochette, É., & Bernier, A. (2014). Parenting, family socioeconomic status, and child executive functioning: A longitudinal study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 60(4), 431–460.

Roe, A., & Siegelman, M. (1963). A Parent-Child Questionnaire. Child Development, 34, 355–369.

Roskam, I., Stievenart, M., Meunier, J., & Noël, M. (2014). The development of children’s inhibition: Does parenting matter? Journal Of Experimental Child Psychology, 122, 166–182. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2014.01.003

Russell, B. S., Londhe, R., & Britner, P. A. (2013). Parental contributions to the delay of gratification in preschool-aged children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(4), 471–478. doi: 10.1007/s10826-012-9599-8

Sabbagh, M., Xu, F., Carlson, S., Moses, L., & Lee, K. (2006). The development of executive functioning and theory of mind: A comparison of Chinese and U.S. preschoolers. Psychological Science, 17(1), 74–81. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01667.x

Salonen, P., Leopla, J., & Vauras, M. (2007). Scaffolding interaction in parent–child dyads: multimodal analysis of parental scaffolding with task and non-task oriented children. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 22(1), 77–96.

Schroeder, V. M., & Kelley, M. L. (2010). Family environment and parent–child relationships as related to executive functioning in children. Early Child Development and Care, 180(10), 1285–1298. doi: 10.1080/03004430902981512

Silverman, I. W., & Ippolito, M. F. (1995). Maternal antecedents of delay ability in young children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16(4), 569–591. doi: 10.1016/0193-3973(95)90005-5

Szlendak, T. (2003). The neglected playground. Childhood parenting styles and educational inequalities. Report. Warsaw: Instytut Spraw Publicznych.

Vinden, P. G. (2001). Parenting attitudes and children’s understanding of mind. A comparison of Korean American and Anglo-American families. Cognitive Development, 16(3), 793–809. doi: 10.1016/S0885-2014(01)00059-4

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Weiland, C., Barata, M. C., & Yoshikawa, H. (2014). The co-occurring development of executive function skills and receptive vocabulary in preschool-aged children: A look at the direction of the developmental pathways. Infant and Child Development, 23(1), 4–21. doi: 10.1002/icd.1829

Zelazo, P. D., Qu, L., & Müller, U. (2005). Hot and cool aspects of executive function: Relations in early development. In W. Schneider, R. Schumann-Hengsteler, & B. Sodian (Eds.), Young children’s cognitive development. Interrelationships among executive functioning, working memory, verbal ability, and theory of mind (pp. 71–93). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Zelazo, P., & Carlson, S. M. (2012). Hot and cool executive function in childhood and adolescence: Development and plasticity. Child Development Perspectives, 6(4), 354–360. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2012.00246.x

Polish Psychological Bulletin

The Journal of Committee for Psychological Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences

Journal Information

CiteScore 2016: 0.33

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.185
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.258


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 157 157 29
PDF Downloads 66 66 11