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24-07-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2018

Mothers’ Emotional Expression and Discipline and Preschoolers’ Emotional Regulation Strategies: Gender Differences

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2018
Auteurs:
Xiaoyan Chen, Xixian Wu, Yifang Wang

Abstract

The early development of children’s emotional regulation benefits children with regard to their interpersonal relationships, academics, and mental health. Individual children may use different strategies to regulate their emotions. Because mothers are often children’s main caretakers, maternal emotional expression and discipline may be related to their children’s emotional regulation strategies (ERSs) and may reveal gender differences. Hence, we used questionnaires to survey 498 mothers of 3–5-year-old children in China to examine gender differences in the relationship between maternal emotional expression and discipline and boys’ and girls’ ERSs. The study results are as follows: (1) Maternal negative emotions were correlated with girls’ use of passive behaviors and venting, and maternal positive emotions were related to both girls’ and boys’ use of cognitive reconstruction and problem solving and to girls’ use of alternative activity. (2) The relationships between maternal nonviolent discipline and children’s use of problem solving and between maternal physical assault and children’s use of problem solving, self-consolation and venting existed only for girls. Additionally, maternal psychological aggression was correlated with both girls’ and boys’ use of venting. These findings suggest that the intervention for and prevention of children’s ERSs may be somewhat different for boys and girls in China.

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