Background\ud Extant research has traditionally associated children's achievement motivation with socio-emotional parental behaviours such as demonstrations of affect, responsiveness, and the degree of parental control.\ud \ud Aims\ud This study explored the extent to which parental socio-emotional and instructional behaviours (including the contingency of instructional scaffolding) both related to children's mastery and performance tendencies towards homework-like activities.\ud \ud Sample\ud The study involved nine underachieving primary-aged children and their parents, with four children showing predominantly mastery-oriented behaviours in the homework context and five showing predominantly performance-oriented behaviours.\ud \ud Methods\ud An in-depth observational analysis of video-recorded parent–child interactions during four homework-like sessions was carried out for each case. Socio-emotional and instructional parental behaviours were coded and subjected to nonparametric quantitative analyses. Subsequently, thick descriptions of parent–child interactions were used to identify critical aspects of parental assistance.\ud \ud Results\ud Moderate cognitive demand was associated with mastery orientation, while negative affect was related to performance orientation. As revealed quantitatively and qualitatively, socio-emotional and instructional parental behaviours were also associated with each other, forming distinct profiles of parental behaviours related to children's homework motivation.\ud \ud Conclusions\ud The findings support the idea that instructional parental behaviours are as important as socio-emotional ones in the analysis of children's homework motivation. The value of observational methods in investigating the target variables is discussed
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