How to support toddlers’ autonomy : socialization practices reported by parents
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofEarly Education and Development ; vol. 30, no 3, p. 297-314
Publisher(s)Taylor & Francis
Autonomy-supportive parenting is found to foster children’s adjustment but relatively few studies have been conducted with toddlers. In the present exploratory study, parents (N = 182) reported what practices they use when asking their toddlers (M age = 26.9 months) to engage in important yet uninteresting activities. Parents rated twenty-six potentially autonomy-supportive practices, along with a well-known scale measuring the extent to which they have a positive attitude towards autonomy support. Research Findings: Using correlational and factorial analyses, eight practices were identified: various ways to communicate empathy, providing developmentally appropriate rationales, describing the problem in an informational and neutral way, and modeling the requested behavior. This subset of autonomy-supportive practices for toddlers was positively related with toddlers’ rule internalization, providing them with further validity. Practice or Policy: These preliminary findings may be useful in guiding future conceptual, empirical, and applied work on the support of toddlers’ autonomy and its assessment in an emotionally-charged and challenging context.