Two-step (if -then) behavioral contingencies in the naturally occurring conflicts of 2- and 4-year-old siblings were identified and described. Children’s crying, compliance, ignoring, opposition, power, and reasoning strategies were examined to determine how they were used immediately following opposition, power, and reasoning from siblings and power and reasoning from mothers. Children responded to their opponents’ behaviors in a highly consistent manner across the different strategies observed. The behavioral patterns children used showed more extensive reciprocity of reasoning than of power. In addition, children were sensitive to the status of their opponent (e.g., they complied after their mothers used power strategies but were less likely to do so after their siblings used such strategies; also, younger children ignored sibling opposition, while older children responded to it with power). The utility of considering the sequential nature of behavior, not simply the average occurrence of different strategies, is highlighted.
Perlman, Michal and Ross, Hildy S.
"If -Then Contingencies in Children’s
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 51
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol51/iss1/4