Parental depression affects the child’s ability to support emotions. Consequently also the acquisition of emotional regulation skills.
A recent study investigated the relationship between parental depression , emotional socialization and the development of emotion regulation. This is in relation to children during infancy and childhood . It is the parents who influence the way children demonstrate their emotions by giving emotion regulation strategies. Then the children learn and then use.
Parents diagnosed with depression are less able to support the child’s emotions . This is because persistent negativity, apathy, and irritability cause them to respond inefficiently to their children’s requests for emotional support. For example, mothers with depression are more likely to influence children to learn inappropriate responses to negative experiences. What’s more, they can monitor children with coercion. Depressed parents usually tend to use responses that require low emotional engagement while minimizing the children’s emotions. Furthermore, the latter with depressed parents may perceive emotions more intensely and express them in a more dysregulated way than children of their age.
The link between parental depression, emotional socialization and children’s emotional responses must also consider the age difference . For this reason, the experts conducted the study in question in infants and toddlers. Older children reported the greatest use of cognitive avoidance and expressive suppression. Younger children tend to use social support seeking more.
The results of the study demonstrate how a parental supportive socialization is linked to greater emotional regulation abilities of children. The non-supportive one instead with punitive and minimizing reactions represents an obstacle for the ability to regulate in children. An emotional regulation deficit can lead to consequences such as difficulties in emotional functioning. This seems to be at the basis of the development of psychopathologies (depression and behavioral disorders).
- What impact does parental depression have on children’s emotional regulation? (stateofmind.it)