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How Do Mothers’ Psychological Resources (Parenting Self-Efficacy and Enjoyment of Parenting) Enable Them to Support Young Children’s Self-Regulation and Academic Skills in Korea?


The present study was designed to examine the dynamic relationships between the antecedents of autonomy-supportive parenting (the two parents’ psychological resources, namely enjoyment of parenting and PSE), specific autonomy-supportive parenting behaviors (harshness, permissiveness, inconsistency, and responsiveness), and children’s self-regulation development and academic skills within the contemporary Korean cultural context.

Structural equation modeling was conducted with a sample of 234 Korean mothers of pre-primary aged children in the Incheon City area in South Korea. The results indicated that the four autonomy-supportive parenting behaviors have a unique cultural function in these relationships, within the Korean cultural context. Specifically, harshness negatively predicted children’s self-regulation development (emotional and cognitive regulation), whereas inconsistency positively predicted children’s self-regulation development (emotional and cognitive regulation). Permissiveness and responsiveness did not predict self-regulation development (emotional and cognitive regulation) among the children with statistical significance. Furthermore, as the antecedents of the parenting behaviors that support children’s self-regulation development, the mothers’ psychological resources (i.e., PSE and enjoyment of parenting) enabled them to parent in a way that supported their children’s self-regulation development. Finally, the nature of this relationship varied depending on a child’s gender. Specifically, the paths from enjoyment of parenting to permissiveness in parenting behaviors were moderated by the child’s gender.

The results of this study underscore the importance of exercising caution about the culturally unique meaning inherent in Korean mothers’ autonomy-supportive parenting behaviors, and the effects of these behaviors on children’s self-regulation development from an indigenous perspective. However, given the within-group variations, this study also found evidence that the culturally unique nature of the relationship between the specific autonomy-supportive parenting behaviors and children’s self-regulation development does not apply equally to every individual in this cultural context.

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