Children’s demands for parental action
Keywords:deontic authority, directives, socialization, parent–child interaction, agency
Theory and research on parent–child interaction generally make a priori assumptions of asymmetry in authority between parent and child. Rather than investigating how children exercise autonomy by resisting parental authority, I examine their methods for exercising deontic authority in interaction with their parents. Using conversation analysis and drawing on Stevanovic and Peräkylä’s distinction between deontic status and stance, I analyse video-recorded naturally occurring interactions in which children issue demands to their parents, thus claiming a high deontic stance. Parents may choose to comply and reinforce the claim or not. Domains of deontic authority are (re)negotiated when children pursue compliance; though children can test the boundaries of their authority, parental responses reinforce them, reifying their own authority.
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