Mothers' strategies for regulating their toddlers' distress
Though theories of emotion regulation acknowledge the important roles of caregivers, few studies have examined parents' strategies for helping children regulate distress. In this study, 140 mothers' strategies were coded during a situation in which their toddlers (12-, 18-, 24- and 32-month-olds) were required to wait (parent-active). Children were also observed in a delay situation in which they regulated distress independently (parent-passive). Mothers initiated less active engagement with their older as compared to younger toddlers, and there were age-related increases in children's initiation of play activities with their mothers. Verbal strategies increased from 12 to 18 months and thereafter decreased. Controlling for children's levels of distress in the parent-active situation, mothers who were more active had children who were more distressed when regulating independently. Results suggest that parents tailor their regulatory strategies to their children's capacities and that children require opportunities to autonomously regulate emotions to develop regulatory skills. Copyright © 1998 Ablex Publishing Corporation.
Infant Behavior and Development
Grolnick, Wendy S., "Mothers' strategies for regulating their toddlers' distress" (1998). Psychology. 486.