Behaviour regulation in the family context in Estonia and Sweden

Boel De Geer and Tiia Tulviste


The aim of the study is to compare the regulatory speech used by parents and children in three different groups: Swedes in Sweden, and Estonians in Estonia and Sweden. 54 families with children of 9-13 were videotaped during mealtime. All regulatory speech aimed at controlling behaviour was identified and coded according to sentence form used for regulation as well as outcome (response). Estonians in Estonia used behaviour directives most frequently, and favoured the direct imperative form of regulatory language over declaratives and questions used by Estonians and Swedes in Sweden. Although the outcomes of regulation were mainly compliance in all groups, Estonian children living in Sweden complied significantly less than Swedish children. The results also show that Estonian children in Sweden have been influenced by the Swedish preference for regulating by declaratives and questions, using more questions and fewer imperatives than their mothers.

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