The impact of parenting practices on the positive affect of young children during a pandemic.
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Objective. The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide problem affecting the lives of families and young children in the Netherlands. Research on parenting practices leading to positive outcomes in children during a pandemic hasn’t been done yet. The relevance of research on this topic lies in the importance of mental health care of children and preventive care in the future. This study investigates if two parenting practices, empathy and positive coping, are related to a positive affect of children aged one to six years old during the COVID-19 pandemic, taken exposure to COVID-19 into account. Method. Parents with children aged one to six participated through an anonymous online survey. A multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine if the parenting practices are related to the child’s positive affect. Exposure to negative events caused by the pandemic is represented in five covariates. Results. The results of the analysis are not significant F(7, 134) = 1.50, p =.38. The model explained 5% of the variance in the child’s positive affect. Discussion. Possible explanations for this outcome are the sensitivity of the positive affect scale and that less coping strategies of parents are needed when a child has more positive affect. Important limitations are the correlational design, the variables being reported by just one person and the representativeness of the research population. It can be concluded that the two parenting practices and exposure to COVID-19 are not significantly related to the child’s positive affect. In the future improved research on this topic could be done.