"I am not quite sure how to deal with kids like that..." Understanding the unmet needs of parents and early childhood educators in responding to early childhood aggression. (2020)
Type of ContentElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsLim, Xue Ling Melissashow all
Background: Parents’ and early childhood educators (ECEs) response toward young perpetrators and victims of physical aggression (PA) and relational aggression (RA) is critical in the intervention of early childhood aggression. Thus, it is important to provide caregivers with the right support to respond to aggressive situations. It is uncertain if the Incredible Years Series (IYS), a popular parent and teacher programme in New Zealand, is adequately supporting parents and educators in addressing PA and RA in early childhood. Moreover, no research has directly asked parents and educators about the types of support they want/need even though interventions are often dependent on the caregivers.
Method: 20 parents and 37 early childhood educators of children aged 3 to 5 years old participated in a semi-structured interview. Three questions regarding how participants respond to early childhood PA and RA scenarios and the types of support they want/need were extracted from the interview. Qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis were used for data analysis. Results: The themes of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and authority-based were most frequently reported by participants responding to perpetrators in the PA scenario. Victims were responded to with intervention strategies that relieve distress in the PA scenario. Intervention strategies in the themes of SEL, authority-based, and information seeking were most frequently suggested in the RA scenario. Victims in RA scenarios are commonly responded to with intervention strategies in the theme of SEL. A comparison of suggested intervention strategies with the recommended strategies of IYS found some alignment. However, the IYS does not provide information and strategies on RA and supports for victims are limited. Parents and educators shared a variety of support they want/need that are unique to their individual context. Conclusions: This study contributes to the paucity of research on supporting parents and ECEs in responding to young perpetrators and victims of PA and RA. It highlights the gaps that are present between research and practice regarding interventions on PA and RA. There is a lack of parent and teacher programmes that are suitable for addressing both PA and RA in early childhood. Recognition on the types of supports wanted/needed will assist future intervention programmes and professionals in providing targeted supports that are responsive to the individual context of parents and educators.