As we all know, parenting has never been an easy task. Parents often get involved in situations where they feel the need to get angry with their children, so that they can learn right from wrong. Besides, many parents are too worried about being good parents that they miss out what’s most important: to help their children control their emotions so that they can be happy. Parents who constantly get angry and overreact to situations may not be helping their children at all, even though they might think they are.
According to Bandura’s Social Learning theory, children observe how other individuals behave, including their parents, and may later imitate those behaviors. As soon as babies are born, they start to decipher their social world and begin to learn everything about it. Researchers have found that babies tend to misbehave and get upset more than normal, whenever they have parents who constantly overreact and get angry.
A study was done by researchers from Oregon State University, in which data from 361 families that were linked to adoption was collected, toddlers from these families were studied and followed from 9 to 27 months of age. It was found that adoptive parents who overreacted when their children made some mistakes or misbehaved had significantly negative effects on them. For instance, their children misbehaved more, and were quicker to anger compared to other 2-year-old children.
It’s normal for 2-years-old to misbehave and get emotionally upset. However, if your child has increased negative emotions when he is younger, it may affect how many behavioral problems he’ll display when he gets to 2 years old.
As we now know, the transition to toddlerhood may be really challenging, but has a great impact on a child’s future development. Toddlers tend to exhibit negative emotions and behavioral problems, but parents can positively influence them by not overreacting or getting easily angry. Remember, babies are humans who make mistakes too. So, next time that your baby accidentally throws his soup plate to the floor, think before getting mad at him.
To read more on this topic, feel free to consult:
Lipscomb, S.T., Leve, L.D., Shaw, et al. (2012) ‘Negative emotionality and externalizing problems in toddlerhood: Overreactive parenting as a moderator of genetic influences’, Development and Psychopathology, 24(1), pp. 167–179. doi: 10.1017/S0954579411000757.