SYNOPSIS: Objective. Drawing on existing literature concerning the interrelations among toddler fearful temperament, maternal protective parenting, and maternal cognitions, the current study sought to test how mothers’ abilities to predict their children’s distress expressions and behaviors in future novel situations (“maternal accuracy”), may be maintained from toddlerhood to children’s kindergarten year. Design. A sample of 93 mother-child dyads completed laboratory assessments at child age 2 and was invited back for two laboratory visits during children’s kindergarten year. Fearful temperament, age 2 maternal accuracy, and protective behavior were measured observationally at age 2, and children’s social withdrawal and kindergarten maternal accuracy were measured observationally at the follow-up kindergarten visits. Results. We tested a moderated serial mediation model. For highly fearful children only, maternal accuracy may be maintained because it relates to protective parenting, which predicts children’s social withdrawal, which feeds back into maternal accuracy. Conclusions. Maternal accuracy may be maintained across early childhood through the interactions mothers have with their temperamentally fearful children. Given concurrent measurement of some of the variables, the role of maternal cognitions like maternal accuracy should be replicated and then further considered for inclusion in theories and studies of transactional influences between parents and children on development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology