Parental reactions to children’s negative emotions: Relationships with emotion regulation in children with an anxiety disorder.


Research has demonstrated that parental reactions to children’s emotions play a significant role in the development of children’s emotion regulation (ER) and adjustment. This study compared parent reactions to children’s negative emotions between families of anxious and non-anxious children (aged 7-12) and examined associations between parent reactions and children’s ER. Results indicated that children diagnosed with an anxiety disorder had significantly greater difficulty regulating a range of negative emotions and were regarded as more emotionally negative and labile by their parents. Results also suggested that mothers of anxious children espoused less supportive parental emotional styles when responding to their children’s negative emotions. Supportive and non-supportive parenting reactions to children’s negative emotions related to children’s emotion regulation skills, with father’s non-supportive parenting showing a unique relationship to children’s negativity/lability.