Allowing children a little more freedom during pandemic beneficial to child and parent

February 1, 2021
Allowing children a little more freedom during pandemic beneficial to child and parent

Autonomy-based parenting “is positively associated both with better child well-being,” said researchers from the German Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF) in Frankfurt am Main. Additionally, although this parenting technique requires care and energy to maintain, it also reduces stress and provides something of a recharging effect for parents.

Lacking normal child support services such as daycare during the COVID-19 pandemic, some parents must do their own jobs from home while also keeping an eye on their children. Difficult as it may seem adopting autonomy-based parenting at this time, because it involves allowing a child to operate independently within reasonable boundaries, returns some much needed time to the working parent. At the same time, autonomy-based parenting techniques also promote a child’s own feeling of competence and responsibility.

Researchers concluded thus after tracking the prevalence and effect of autonomy-based parenting over 3 consecutive weeks during the early days of the pandemic — from late March through late April 2020 — in Germany.

In the first phase of the research, 970 parents completed a questionnaire, while 562 of those parents agreed to complete nightly questionnaires over the second phase. Each questionnaire contained 21 questions that best described the measure of autonomy they allowed that day. Parents also rated their children’s sense of well-being, as well as their own need fulfillment on a daily basis.

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“Our findings from the daily questionnaires suggest that autonomy-supportive parenting is beneficial for the well-being of both children and parents, said Prof. Dr. Florian Schmiedek, Head of the cognitive development unit at the DIPF.

“Autonomy-supportive behaviour might have positive downstream effects not only on the receiving child, but also on the social system (the family) and the support provider — also in challenging times as during the [coronavirus] crisis.”

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Category: Education, Features

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