How parents benefit when offspring learn to interact more positively

Washington, Jun 26 (ANI): A new study has suggested that as siblings learn how to resolve conflict, parents pick up a few tips of their own.

When children participated in a program designed to reduce sibling conflict, both parents benefited from a lessening of hostilities on the home front, but mothers experienced a more direct reward.

As they viewed the children’s sessions in real time on a video monitor and coached the kids at home to respond as they’d been taught, moms found that, like their kids, they were better able to manage their own emotions during stressful moments.

University of Illinois’ Laurie Kramer said that many parents, especially mothers, use how their kids are getting along as a barometer for how well they’re doing as a parent. This is true even though virtually all siblings have some conflict.

When children fight with their siblings, they learn important lessons, such as how to settle, negotiate, and compromise. They begin to see conflict as a problem they can solve, said lead author Niyantri Ravindran.

The study compared parents of siblings in Kramer’s More Fun with Sisters and Brothers Program with a control group composed of parents of non-participants. In families participating in the program, parents reported that the intense negative emotions they experience when their children fight were reduced as their children learned to get along better.

Mothers appear to have incorporated the skills their children were taught into the way they manage their own emotions. In contrast, fathers who noticed more warmth between their children following the program were better able to manage their negative emotions when their children did squabble.

The study appears in Journal of Family Psychology. (ANI)

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