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During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents faced difficult circumstances in balancing work, household, childcare and distance learning support for school-age children without the help of their regular support systems such as schools, childcare and often other family members too. A new longitudinal study in Germany examined daily parenting behavior during the restrictions and closings caused by the pandemic from the end of March to the end of April 2020. Studies have shown that autonomous parenting (which offers meaningful decisions where possible) contributed to the positive well-being of children and parents .

The results were published in an article on child development written by researchers at DIPF | The Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education and the Center for Research on Individual and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA) in Frankfurt am Main were written.

“We examined whether or not parenting behavior that supports autonomy facilitates adaptation and well-being in children. We also examined whether such parenting behavior helps create a positive emotional climate that benefits both parents and children,” said Andreas B. Neubauer. Postdoc at DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education. “The results suggest that autonomous parenting behavior is positively associated with both better children’s well-being and greater fulfillment of parents’ needs.” According to the authors, such parenting behavior requires parental energy and vitality, but also contributes to each other.

Participants for the online study were recruited through social media, a press release, and contacts with school and parent-teacher associations. In the study, parents of school children were assessed using online questionnaires over three weeks using the following methods:

  • 970 parents completed an online questionnaire after which they could register for a second part of the study (562 parents took part).
  • In the second part of the study, parents (mostly female and well educated) received 21 online questionnaires a day for three consecutive weeks with questions such as “As far as possible, I let my child decide what they wanted to do today” or “My child could do as far as possible possible do what it wanted today. “After three weeks, they also received a final questionnaire.
  • Parents were asked about their parenting behavior, the extent to which their psychological needs were met, and their child’s well-being.

In addition, the parents were asked once before the 21-day period and again after the 21 days about their own well-being, their perception of the family climate and their child’s behavior.

“Our results from the daily questionnaires suggest that autonomous supportive parenting is beneficial for both children and parents,” said Florian Schmiedek, professor and head of the department for cognitive development at DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education. “Helping parents make their day-to-day parental decisions could be an effective way to improve the family climate and children’s well-being during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The authors recognize several limitations in the present study: Only one aspect of autonomous parenting was assessed (“choice within limits”), the questionnaire was previously only used with adolescents, the reports were only received from the perspective of predominantly female parents and one daily low compliance rate (however this was considered reasonable given the demanding period).

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More information:
A little autonomy support goes a long way: Daily parenting that supports autonomy, well-being of children, meeting parents’ needs and changing the adaptation of children, families and parents during adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic, child development (2021). DOI: 10.1111 / cdev.13515 Provided by the Society for Research into Child Development

Quote: Certain parenting behaviors related to positive changes in well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic (2021 January 19) were discovered on January 19, 2021 from -positive-well- retrieved. being-covid-.html

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