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The current study focused on the childhood to adolescence transition and sought to determine why some children are more compliant than others as well as why children comply more often with some of their parents’ rules than with others. Indices of parents’ agency and children’s agency were tested as predictors of compliance. Parent-based decision-making and parents’ responses to expressed disagreement served as indices of parents’ agency while children’s beliefs regarding the legitimacy of parents’ rules and felt obligation to obey rules served as indices of children’s agency. Parent–child dyads (n = 218; 51 % female, 49 % European American, 47 % African American) were interviewed during the summers following the children’s 5th (M adolescent age = 11.9 years) and 6th grade school years. Children who felt that their parents’ rules were more legitimate were more compliant overall than were children who felt that the rules were less legitimate. Children compiled more with rules governing topics perceived to be legitimately regulated by parents, when parents made more decisions regarding the topic and when parents responded to disagreement by standing strong. Results were generally consistent across parents’ and children’s reports of compliance and across cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. At the transition from childhood to adolescence, only children’s agency explained why some children are more compliant than others, but parents’ and children’s agency helped to explain why children complied with some rules more than others.
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- Compliance with Parents’ Rules: Between-Person and Within-Person Predictions
Emily S. Kuhn
Jenny Mai Phan
Robert D. Laird
- Springer US