Parental Meta-Emotion Philosophies and Socialization on African American Children’s Social Skills
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Preparing a child for the world is an enormous undertaking. Parents are tasked with engaging in various forms of socialization to prepare their children for the world. One such form is emotional socialization. This process of teaching one’s child(ren) about emotions is influenced by the parents’ own emotional experiences. The current study examined emotional socialization among 51 African American parents (e.g., biological mothers and fathers) and their young children (five to seven years old) from low to upper income backgrounds. The parental meta-emotion philosophies (PMEP) framework was used to measure how parents deal with their own emotions, and how they engage in emotional socialization practices with their children. Three conceptual models were used to test the potential mediation relationship between parental emotional socialization, child emotional competence, and child social skills of their young children. Contextual variables (i.e., parent ethnic identity, income level, and parental satisfaction) and gender were also included in the models to gain a broader understanding of how African American parents engage in emotional socialization. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the three proposed conceptual models. Overall, fit indices revealed poor model fit for the three proposed models. The mediation relationship tested within the conceptual model was also insignificant. However, certain paths presented some interesting findings. Ethnic identity, parent gender, and parental satisfaction were found to have significant relationships with parents’ emotional socialization practices. Parents’ emotional socialization practices of certain emotions had a significant relationship with children’ emotional competence and social skills. Unexpectedly, a negative relationship existed between child language skills and emotional competence. Child emotional competence proved to be a significant predictor of child social skills. There will be a discussion of the implications of the study’s findings.
SubjectAfrican American families, young African American children, early childhood, social skills, emotional competence, emotional socialization