Toddlers With Angry Parents May Have More Temper
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Toddlers are more likely
to become easily upset and act out if their parents anger quickly
and overreact to their children's behavior, according to a new
study involving adopted youngsters.
Researchers looked at the behavior of adopted children aged 9
months, 18 months and 27 months and their adoptive parents in 361
families in 10 states. Researchers also analyzed genetic data from
the children and their birth parents.
The study found that adoptive parents who had a tendency to
overreact were quick to anger when toddlers made mistakes or tested
age-appropriate limits. The children of these parents acted out or
had more temper tantrums than normal for their age.
Children who had the greatest increases in these types of
negative emotions as they grew from infants to toddlers (from 9
months to 27 months of age) also had the highest levels of problem
behaviors at 24 months. This suggests that negative emotions may
have their own development process that impacts children's later
behaviors, according to lead author Shannon Lipscomb, an assistant
professor of human development and family sciences at Oregon State
University, and her colleagues.
They also found that genetics plays a role, particularly in
children who inherited a genetic risk of negative emotionality from
their birth mothers but were raised in a low-stress or less
reactive family environment.
The findings, published in the latest issue of the journal
Development and Psychopathology, help improve understanding of the complex link between genetics and home environment, according to the researchers.
"Parents' ability to regulate themselves and to remain firm, confident and not overreact is a key way they can help their children to modify their behavior," Lipscomb said in a university news release. "You set the example as a parent in your own emotions and reactions."
The Nemours Foundation has more about
toddler growth and development.
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