Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Parental Socialization of Emotion: How Mothers Respond to Their Children's Emotions in Turkey

Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Parental Socialization of Emotion: How Mothers Respond to Their Children's Emotions in Turkey

Article excerpt


The purpose of emotion socialization is to support the emotional competence of children (Friedlmeir, Corapci, & Cole, 2011). Parents' emotion socialization practices influence their children's learning process of recognizing and labeling emotions, their children's psychological and behavioral capacities for emotional regulation, and their children's strategies for helping other people in emotional situations (Debaryshe & Fryxell, 1998). The emotional understanding and emotional regulation abilities of young children are highly related to their social competences (Garner & Power, 1996) and their school adjustments (Shields, Dicstein, Seifer, Giusti, Magee, & Spritz 2001). Socially and emotionally less competent preschoolers are more likely to experience transition problems into kindergarten and show long-term academic and social problems (Bornstein, Hahn, & Haynes, 2010).

Parents socialize their children's emotions in three main mechanisms: a- Parents' reactions to children's expressions and experiences of their emotions (Eisenberg, Cumberland, & Spinrad, 1998), which is also called 'coaching of children's emotions' (Denham, 1998); b-Parental discussion of emotion; and c- Parents' ways to express their own emotions (Eisenberg et al., 1998), and the ways they handle their own emotions (Cunning, 2002), also known as 'modeling' (Denham, 1998).

Several studies have indicated that parents', especially mothers', reactions to their children's emotions are strongly related to children's emotional competence (Denham & Kochanoff, 2002; Denham, Bassett, & Wyatt, 2007; Hastings & De, 2008; Fabes, Leonard, Kupanoff, & Martin, 2001; O'Neal & Magai, 2005; Ramsden & Hubbard, 2002; Yagmurlu & Altan, 2010). If parents react negatively towards their children's emotional displays, children feel anxious whenever they again face an emotionally evocative situation. Additionally, parents' punitive reactions to children's negative emotions are related to children's intensive experiences and expressions of these emotions (Buck, 1984; Fabes, et al., 2001). Ramsden and Hubbard (2002) have found that mothers' low level of acceptance of the emotions of their children is related to a low level of emotional regulation in their children, which in turn is reflected in high levels of aggressive behavior. If parents ignore or minimize their children's emotions, these children are more likely to be unhappy and fearful (Denham et al. 2007). In addition, Hastings and De (2008) found that mothers' failure to notice or respond to their children's negative emotions related to more internalizing problems in children. Furthermore, mothers' minimization of negative emotions is connected to less social competence in older preschoolers. In another study, children's emotional difficulties were found to be related to parents' lack of accepting or supportive responses (O'Neal, & Magai, 2005). Yagmurlu and Altan (2010) indicated that inhibited young Turkish children had a low level of emotion regulation. Moreover, less emotional competence in Turkish preschoolers was related to having very punitive mothers (Corapci & Yagmurlu, 2008). Finally, mothers' encouragement of young children's emotional expressiveness has been related to children's emotional competence and positive social behaviors (Denham & Kochanoff, 2002). There are very few scales to assess parents' responses to children's emotions (i.e. CCNES, Fabes et al., 2001). Existing scales generally examine mothers' responses to anger and sadness. Distinguishing mothers' emotion socialization strategies for different emotions would provide researchers with more detailed information and the opportunity to study the relationship between children's emotional competence and emotion-specific socialization strategies.


The purpose of the current study was to investigate mothers' preferences when responding to their children's emotions in Turkey. …

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