Triadic interaction among young children and their mothers and fathers
Recent research into the interaction which occurs between mother, father and child has tended to view the interaction as two dyadic interactions, one occurring between the mother and the child and the other occurring between the father and the child (Barton and Tomesello, 1994). None of these studies have viewed the triadic interaction which exists when mother, father and child are present as anything other than a series of dyadic interactions. In this study, three groups of children aged 12 months, 24 months and 36 months were videotaped for 15 minutes with their fathers and mothers while they ate lunch. Three additional children and their parents were followed in a longitudinal study. The interactions were coded from the videotapes. Included in the coding were turns that were monadic, dyadic, double dyadic and triadic and thus incorporated interactions which are exclusive to polyadic interaction. It was found necessary to include non-verbal behaviors to assist in the definition of the turn and its direction within the interaction. The work examines the way infants and young children gain access to the triad and how the interactive behavior changes as the child's communicative competence develops. The changes in parental interaction styles are also analyzed as a function of the age of the child.