European-American and African-American Mothers' Emotion Socialization Practices Relate Differently to Their Children's Academic and Social-emotional Competence


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Abstract

The current study examines whether the relation between mothers' responses to their children's negative emotions and teachers' reports of children's academic performance and social-emotional competence are similar or different for European-American and African-American families. Two hundred mothers (137 European-American, 63 African-American) reported on their responses to their five-year-old children's negative emotions and 150 kindergarten teachers reported on these children's current academic standing and skillfulness with peers. Problem-focused responses to children's negative emotions, which have traditionally been considered a supportive response, were positively associated with children's school competence for European-American children, but expressive encouragement, another response considered supportive, was negatively associated with children's competence for African-American children. The findings highlight the need to examine parental socialization practices from a culturally specific lens.

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