Title

"Leave me" or "Help me" - Are Parent Behaviors Associated with Child Boldness in Shy Toddlers?

Poster Number

17A

Lead Author Major

Psychology

Lead Author Status

Junior

Second Author Major

Psychology

Second Author Status

Junior

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jessica Grady

Faculty Mentor Email

jgrady@u.pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Graduate Student Mentor Name

Delaney Callan

Graduate Student Mentor Email

d_callan@u.pacific.edu

Graduate Student Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Shyness refers to a state of wariness and anxiety in response to novel social situations. Shy children often cope with their wariness and anxiety by withdrawing from, rather than engaging in, social settings. However, social engagement is thought to be an important means of accumulating cultural knowledge, suggesting that children who do not engage in exploration may fail to gain meaningful skills. Previous research has primarily focused on behaviors that restrict shy or inhibited children from exploring novel situations, and comparatively less is known about behaviors that support exploration. Our study examined parent behaviors that might support shy children in adapting to novel social settings.

Fifty-five parents and 21-to 24-month-old toddlers were observed in four laboratory episodes that were designed to introduce children to social novelty (i.e. Stranger Approach, Stranger Working, Clown, and Puppet Show; Buss, 2011). Parental coaxing, modeling, positivity/affection, and warmth/reassurance were coded on a 5-point scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extreme) for each episode. Child boldness was coded on the same 5-point scale during each episode.

Results using preliminary data from 40 shy toddler-parent dyads showed that warmth was negatively correlated with child boldness across all four episodes (βs = -.35 to -.47, all ps < .04). Parental coaxing, modeling, and positivity/affection were not consistently associated with child boldness. These preliminary results suggest that parental warmth may hinder shy children’s exploration in novel social settings. However, given the correlational nature of the data , it is also possible that children's lack of exploration may elicit greater parental warmth in a bi-directional manner. Possible implications for the parenting of shy toddlers will be discussed.

Location

DeRosa University Center Ballroom

Start Date

27-4-2018 12:30 PM

End Date

27-4-2018 2:30 PM

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Apr 27th, 12:30 PM Apr 27th, 2:30 PM

"Leave me" or "Help me" - Are Parent Behaviors Associated with Child Boldness in Shy Toddlers?

DeRosa University Center Ballroom

Shyness refers to a state of wariness and anxiety in response to novel social situations. Shy children often cope with their wariness and anxiety by withdrawing from, rather than engaging in, social settings. However, social engagement is thought to be an important means of accumulating cultural knowledge, suggesting that children who do not engage in exploration may fail to gain meaningful skills. Previous research has primarily focused on behaviors that restrict shy or inhibited children from exploring novel situations, and comparatively less is known about behaviors that support exploration. Our study examined parent behaviors that might support shy children in adapting to novel social settings.

Fifty-five parents and 21-to 24-month-old toddlers were observed in four laboratory episodes that were designed to introduce children to social novelty (i.e. Stranger Approach, Stranger Working, Clown, and Puppet Show; Buss, 2011). Parental coaxing, modeling, positivity/affection, and warmth/reassurance were coded on a 5-point scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extreme) for each episode. Child boldness was coded on the same 5-point scale during each episode.

Results using preliminary data from 40 shy toddler-parent dyads showed that warmth was negatively correlated with child boldness across all four episodes (βs = -.35 to -.47, all ps < .04). Parental coaxing, modeling, and positivity/affection were not consistently associated with child boldness. These preliminary results suggest that parental warmth may hinder shy children’s exploration in novel social settings. However, given the correlational nature of the data , it is also possible that children's lack of exploration may elicit greater parental warmth in a bi-directional manner. Possible implications for the parenting of shy toddlers will be discussed.