Structuring is a parental response to young children’s behavior that may foster children’s attempts to use cognitive skills to engage in self-regulation. Using a rural, economically strained sample, parental structuring in response to 127 eighteen-month-olds’ negative emotion was observed during a home visit. Children’s distraction, a useful cognitive strategy when waiting for a reward, was assessed during a laboratory wait task at 18, 24, 36, and 48 months. More frequent parental structuring at child age 18 months predicted more developmental growth in children’s use of distraction between 18 and 48 months, in contrast with parental directives. Consistent with Kopp’s (1989) framework, parental structuring may capitalize on children’s cognitive development to play a unique role in fostering children’s self-regulation of negative emotion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology