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Parents' Reactions to Children's Negative Emotions: Relations to Children's Social Competence and Comforting Behavior

Nancy Eisenberg, Richard A. Fabes and Bridget C. Murphy
Child Development
Vol. 67, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 2227-2247
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131620
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131620
Page Count: 21
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Parents' Reactions to Children's Negative Emotions: Relations to Children's Social Competence and Comforting Behavior
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relations of mothers' and fathers' reported emotion-related practices to parents' and teachers' reports of third-to sixth-grade children's social skills, popularity, and coping, as well as the quantity and quality of children's comforting of an infant. Mothers' problem-focused reactions tended to be positively associated with children's social functioning and coping, whereas maternal minimizing reactions tended to be linked to lower levels of social competence and high levels of avoidant coping. There were few findings for fathers' reactions, although fathers reported fewer problem-focused reactions with socially competent, in contrast to less competent, daughters. Emotion-focused and problem-focused maternal reactions, as well as encouragement of the expression of emotion, were associated with boys' children's comforting behavior, although a moderate level of maternal encouragement of the expression of emotion was associated with quality of girls' comforting.

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