Child aggression and parenting behavior: Understanding the child-driven effects with parents’ emotion regulation as a moderator

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Abstract

The present study examined the longitudinal relations between child aggression and coercive parenting behaviors and the moderating role of parental emotion regulation strategies in these relations. The sample of this study were 168 children (88 girls; Mage = 60.97 months, SD = 5.51) and their parents recruited from five kindergartens. At Time 1 (T1), parents reported their own use of coercive parenting behaviors (i.e., physical coercion and psychological control) and emotion regulation strategies (i.e., suppression and reappraisal). A coloring task was administered to assess the child’s aggression at the child’s kindergarten. At Time 2 (T2; approximately 6 months later), mothers and fathers again reported their coercive parenting behaviors. Results indicate that suppression served as a moderator in the relations between child aggression and mothers’ coercive parenting behavior. Specifically, (a) T1 child aggression was not directly predictive of T2 coercive parenting behaviors; (b) child overt aggression at T1 was associated with increased coercive parenting behaviors at T2 among mothers reporting higher use of suppression and was associated with decreased coercive parenting behaviors at T2 among mothers reporting lower use of suppression; (c) T1 child covert aggression was associated with increased T2 psychological control among mothers with more use of suppression and was associated with decreased psychological control among mothers reporting lower use of suppression. Reappraisal was not a moderator in the relations between child aggression and coercive parenting behaviors. These results shed light on the relations between child aggression and coercive parenting behavior as a function of parents’ emotion regulation strategy. Copyright © 2023 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-634
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume37
Issue number5
Early online dateMar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Citation

Tao, S., & Lau, E. Y. H. (2023). Child aggression and parenting behavior: Understanding the child-driven effects with parents’ emotion regulation as a moderator. Journal of Family Psychology, 37(5), 624-634. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0001081

Keywords

  • Child aggression
  • Coercive parenting
  • Suppression
  • Reappraisal
  • Early childhood

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