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Positive Parenting: Supportive parenting best for kids

A new study shows how parents respond to their child’s emotions matters – a lot.
Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 8:11 AM EDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (WILX) -

From fear to stress, the global pandemic has forced children everywhere to deal with a wide range of emotions and feelings. Some might act out, while others learn to keep their cool. But a new study shows how parents respond to their child’s emotions matters – a lot.

When your child loses control, how do you act? A new study shows a parent’s response to big emotions can impact kids’ behavior. Researchers followed 207 children in kindergarten, first, and second grades. The kids were all from high-risk, urban communities who were at risk for aggressive behaviors when they started school. Scientists observed parents’ interaction with the children and teachers reported on the kids’ behavior each year.

Results showed parents who were emotionally supportive had kids who did not become more aggressive as they grew older. On the flip side, aggressive behavior worsened each year in kids whose parents were less emotionally supportive. To be emotionally supportive means labeling and validating children’s emotions, encouraging emotional expression and helping children understand why they may feel upset. An approach that could help all kids manage their feelings.

Only ten percent of the parents in the study consistently displayed emotionally supportive parenting techniques when interacting with their children. Authors of the study say while emotionally supportive parenting won’t erase the effects of adversity, it does help flatten the curve when it comes to aggressive behavior in these kids.

Copyright 2020 WILX and Ivanhoe Broadcast News. All rights reserved.

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