This research advances our understanding of what constitutes a "good parent" in the course of actual social interaction. Examining video-recorded naturally occurring parent-teacher conferences, this article shows that, while teachers deliver student-praising utterances, parents may display that they are gaining knowledge; but when teachers’ actions adumbrate student-criticizing utterances, parents systematically display prior knowledge. This article elucidates the details of how teachers and parents tacitly collaborate to enable parents to express student-troubles first, demonstrating that parents display competence -- appropriate involvement with children’s schooling -- by asserting their prior knowledge of, and/or claiming/describing their efforts to remedy, student-troubles. People (have to) display competence generically in interaction. By explicating how parents display competence, this article offers insights for several areas of communication research.

Publication Date

Winter 2-2015

Journal Title

Journal of Communication

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type