Parenting Practices and Children’s Socio-Emotional Development: A Study With Portuguese Community Preschool Age Children
A recent and compelling study entitled ‘Neurons to Neighborhoods’, conducted by the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the Institute of Medicine (USA) calls attention to the importance of early emotional development in young children. Based on a careful review of neuroscience and developmental science, it highlights compelling evidence that a child?s earliest experiences and relationships set the stage for how he or she manages feelings and impulses, and relates to others (Raver & Knitzer, 2002). This paper discusses data from studies of behavioural and emotional problems and prosocial behaviour in a community sample of 362 Portuguese preschool children (age 3 to 6 years) and examine how these problems vary, as hypothesized, with parental practices. Each mother/father completed the Portuguese translation of two measures: Parenting Practices Questionnaire (adapted from the Oregon Social Learning Centre?s discipline questionnaire and revised for young children by Webster-Stratton, Reid and Hammond, 2001); Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, 1997). Implications for prevention and intervention, in terms of parenting education and support, and for the development of social policies are discussed. Key words: parental practices; emotional and behavioural problems; prosocial behaviour; preschool; parenting training; parental education; SDQ.