The influence of the mother's parenting styles of warmth and control on her preschooler's emotional language and emotional behaviour
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The major purpose of this longitudinal research was to explore the role of Baumrind's (1978) parenting styles of warmth and control (PSR) in preschoolers' emotional language and the embedding of that language, from the perspective of the theories on the social construction of emotions (Harre, 1986; Vygotsky, 1994). PSR warmth and control together are authoritative with positive effects while the lack of either warmth or control is non-authoritative with negative effects. PSR (observation) was measured from coding of videotaped interaction of mother-child dyads during difficult tasks. PSR (upbringing) was obtained from a questionnaire on the mother's recollections of the warmth and control during her childhood. PSR (beliefs) was obtained from a questionnaire of the mother's beliefs in parenting. Emotional language was obtained from audiotapes of three narratives of the preschoolers' past emotional experiences elicited by their mothers. Emotional language was coded for positivity, uniqueness and amount. The secondary purpose of this research was to explore the role of PSR (upbringing) and PSR (beliefs) on preschoolers' emotional behaviour and to replicate the influence of PSR (observation) on that behaviour. Emotional behaviour was measured from coding of the videotaped interaction of mother-child dyads. The research was repeated one year later. There were two age groups of mother-child dyads: younger (30 months, n=39) and older (48 months, n=37). This research mainly replicated previous research for the mothers' observed PSR on the younger groups' emotional behaviour (positivity) but the effect was less for the older group. As predicted the mothers' observed PSR had a strong influence over their preschoolers' emotional language (positivity, uniqueness and amount). The mothers' remembered PSR from upbringing had a strong influence over their preschoolers' emotional behaviour and language. The mothers' beliefs in PSR had a moderate influence on their preschoolers' emotional behaviour and language. All these influences were concurrent and longitudinal. When contrary to the hypotheses for behaviour (positivity) and language (positivity and uniqueness), upbringing PSR impacted on non-authoritative observed PSR to have positive effects. When contrary to the hypotheses for behaviour (positivity) and language (uniqueness and amount), beliefs in PSR impacted on non-authoritative observed PSR to have [line missing here on originals] influence of the mothers' observed, upbringing and beliefs in PSR on their preschoolers' emotional language (positivity, uniqueness and amount) has not featured in previous research nor has it been acknowledged in the parenting style literature. General implications are outlined and suggestions are discussed for parenting education re beliefs and for a positive acceptance of their own parental upbringing. Reappraisal of PSR includes the possible addition of 'autonomy' and for 'warmth' to have more depth as in 'emotion-coaching' (Gottman, Katz & Hooven, 1996). Suggestions are proffered for future research.