The importance of mothers' and fathers' positive parenting for toddlers' and preschoolers' social-emotional adjustment
SourceParenting, Science and Practice, (2021)
19 april 2021
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
Parenting, Science and Practice
Objective. Parental support, stimulation, positive discipline, and structure are all important for social-emotional adjustment of toddlers and preschoolers. However, less is known about the relative importance of these positive parenting practices. The current cross-sectional study examines the associations between positive parenting practices and child social-emotional difficulties in relation to child age and parental gender. Design. 446 Dutch families (446 mothers, Mage = 33.51 years; 446 fathers, Mage = 35.63 years) rearing a child (46.9% boys) between 17 and 48 months of age (Mage = 31.64) participated. Parents reported on their own positive parenting practices, and mothers reported on child externalizing and internalizing behaviors as an indication of social-emotional difficulties. Results. Increased support from both mothers and fathers, and maternal provision of structure are associated with lower levels of child externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Positive discipline from both mothers and fathers, however, is related to higher levels of child externalizing and internalizing behaviors, and stimulation from both mothers and fathers is unrelated to either. These associations are not moderated by child age and are similar for mothers and fathers, except maternal structure is linked to lower levels of child externalizing and internalizing behaviors, whereas paternal structure is unrelated to child social-emotional difficulties. Conclusions. The present study underscores the significance of investigating the effects of multiple positive parenting practices simultaneously and calls for involving both mothers and fathers in parenting programs.
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