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J Child Lang. 2010 Nov;37(5):1065-88. doi: 10.1017/S0305000909990201. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Behaviour regulation at the family dinner table. The use of and response to direct and indirect behaviour regulation in ten Swedish families.

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  • Department of Communication, Media and IT, Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden. asa.brumark@sh.se


This study explores parents' and children's use of and response to direct or indirect behaviour regulation in a family context. Ten families with two children each were divided into two groups depending on the age of the children (6-7 and 10-11 years or 10-11 and 13-14 years). Video-recorded regulatory dinner talk was transcribed, coded and analysed with regard to directness or indirectness in relation to behavioural outcome. Dinner talk was predominantly direct, but younger children were addressed by direct regulators as two-thirds of all regulators, whereas the opposite was seen with older children. Though children also tended to be direct, younger children used three times as many direct regulators as older ones. Compliance appeared in two-thirds of all direct regulators, but almost one-half of all indirect regulators were not complied with. Differences between groups were furthermore distinguished by instances of compliance: those who were most non-compliant were the children in group 2.

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