Children’s emotion regulation and attachment to parents: Parental emotion socialization as a moderator

Emine Ahmetoglu1, Gökçen Ilhan Ildiz2, Ibrahim H. Acar3, Amy Encinger3
1Department of Preschool Education, Faculty of Education, Trakya University, Turkey
2Child Development Program, Namik Kemal University, Turkey
3Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States
Cite this article:  Ahmetoglu, E., Ilhan Ildiz, G., Acar, I. H., & Encinger, A. (2018). Children’s emotion regulation and attachment to parents: Parental emotion socialization as a moderator. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46(6), 969-984.

Volume 46 Issue 6 | e6795 | Published: June 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6795

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We examined the associations among parental emotion socialization, and children’s emotion regulation and attachment to parents. In particular, we examined the moderating role of parental emotion socialization in the relationship between children’s emotion regulation and attachment to parents. Participants were 78 Turkish children (49 boys) aged from 60 to 77 months and their parents. Parents reported on the socialization strategies they used for their children’s emotions and on their children’s emotion regulation, and we assessed children’s attachment to parents via the Doll Story Completion Task. Results revealed that parents’ minimization reaction to children’s emotions moderated the association between children’s emotion regulation and attachment to parents. When parents’ response was punitive, children with poor emotion regulation displayed stronger attachment to parents than children with robust emotion regulation did. In addition, girls had a more secure attachment to parents than boys did. Our results highlight the importance of children’s emotion regulation and parental emotion socialization for children’s secure early attachment to parents.

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