The perceived role of caregivers in emotional development and behavior is not well understood. To encourage candid responses and reflective practice, I devised scenarios with the same phrasing (“How helpful would it be if a [caregiver] of a same-age child were to [spank]…”). Scale items were grounded in the literature, pretested by expert reviewers and mothers, and rated by 114 mothers from a low-income Head Start program. I found within-group variability in parental beliefs about their role in emotional development (e.g., if helpful to offer words aligned with feelings, yell, use emotion pictures, or expect a preschool child to cope with negative stimuli). Preliminary data suggest indirect, reflective questioning was well-received and informative. Implications are discussed, including the need to explore diverse caregivers’ perceived role in emotional development and the potential for this line of questioning to serve as a screening tool to inform more tailored parental outreach.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies