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The Effects of Child-Teacher Relationships on Interpersonal Problem-Solving Skills of Children

Ocak, Sakire PhD

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e3181f27769

Early positive relationships between children and adults are critical in the acquisition of children's problem-solving skills. The early teacher-child relationship has an important role in how a child negotiates the conflicts and manages relationships with peers. Our purpose was to evaluate the effect of the teacher-child relationship at kindergarten entry on the problem-solving skills of 5- and 6-year-old children. We examined how teachers' ratings of their relationships with their students had an impact on children's interpersonal problem-solving skills. We found that teachers perceive more conflicts with children who articulated either too few or too many problem-solving strategies. Teachers' perceptions of conflictual relationships with children were associated with the child's use of aggression during structured problem-solving interviews. Teachers' perceptions of conflicts were not, however, associated with children's prosocial problem-solving strategies. Our pilot results suggest that teachers may require different management strategies for children who demonstrate aggression and who are less likely to articulate positive alternatives.

Preschool Education Department, Faculty of Education, Ege University, Bornova, Izmir, Turkey.

Correspondence: Sakire Ocak, PhD, Preschool Education Department, Faculty of Education, Ege University, 35100 Bornova, Izmir, Turkey ( or

©2010Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.