With regard to cultural-historical and activity approaches, collaborative activity with an adult, including communication as a type of meta-activity, is considered to be the necessary mechanism of child development. A child is considered to be an active partner, possessing his/her own motives, and is guided by mental representations of the parent and interactions with him/her. Russian psychologists have developed a range of parenting style classifications; however, these styles primarily emphasize a parent’s position, contrary to methodological perspectives, with inadequate consideration of a child’s own agency. The aims of the current research were to investigate actual goal-oriented interactions between preschoolers and their parents and to outline certain patterns (types) of interactions, considering both partners and analyzing interac- tions according to the activity model. A total of 75 parent-child dyads (children aged from 4.6 years to 6.11 years) participated in “collaborative activity trials” in which the observational method was based on the activity approach. Cluster analysis (k-means clusterization) revealed five different groups of parent-child dyads: conflictual, harmonious, distant and two-fold dominant (with dominant parent or dominant child). Between-group comparisons (Mann-Whitney U test) showed significant differences in a range of parameters of activity and emotional components of interactions. The harmonious type of interactions is not prevalent, although subgroups with different types of domination are the most common, which may be attributed to cultural peculiarities. Domination-subordination misbalance does not seem to seriously distort the normal developmental trajectory; however, in cases of conflictual and distant dyads, interactional issues might hinder the course of goal-oriented activity, which might serve as a predictor for potential difficulties in further learning.
Keywords: parent-childhood interactions, parenting styles, collaborative activity, parental scaffolding, preschooler