Su Wang, Xiaosong Gai

Bidirectional Relationship between Positive Parenting Behavior and Children’s Self-Regulation: A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • General Psychology
  • Genetics
  • Development
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

In this study, we used a cross-lagged design to explore the relationship between children’s self-regulation and positive parenting behaviors. Children aged 3 years (N = 84) were tested individually three times a year for their hot and cool self-regulation, while their parents’ positive parenting behaviors (warmth, structure, and autonomy support) were collected through questionnaires. In the structural equation panel model, bidirectional relations between children’s inhibitory control and parental positive parenting were found. Children’s inhibitory control and positive parenting predicted changes in each other for the first six months. Such a reciprocal relationship also existed between parental autonomy support and children’s inhibitory control. There was a cross-lagged effect between parental warmth and children’ inhibitory control rather than a simultaneous relation. Children’s inhibitory control positively predicted parental structural behaviors rather than vice versa. Children’s delayed waiting and positive parenting (autonomy support) were only positively correlated, rather than having a lagging effect. All the relationships faded over time.

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