[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
This study is a longitudinal exploration of relations between parents' and children's provision of narrative structure in joint retellings of the past and children's developing personal narrative skills. Fifteen White, middle-class families participated when children were 40 and 70 months old. At both ages, mothers and fathers talked separately with children about shared past events and uniformed experimenters elicited children's personal narratives. Whereas mothers and fathers did not differ in how they structured past narratives, children narrated differently with fathers than with mothers. Further, even at 40 months, girls' narratives were more contexted and evaluative than boys, but parents' provision of narrative structure increased similarly with daughters and sons over time. Children's early abilities to provide evaluative narratives was a strong predictor of their later abilities to provide evaluative narratives; maternal emphasis on evaluations also predicted children's later narrative structure. Parental and child influences on personal narrative skill development are discussed.