Early predictors of self-regulation in middle childhood



The present study examined the contribution of caregiving practices at ages 4–5 (Time 1) to children's capacity for self-regulation at ages 8–9 (Time 2). The multi-ethnic sample comprised 549 children of National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) participants. High levels of maternal warmth and low levels of physically punitive discipline at Time 1 were associated with a greater capacity for self-regulation at Time 2. These associations remained significant once initial levels of self-regulation were taken into account, indicating that the development of self-regulation is open to caregiver influence during childhood. Neither child gender nor ethnicity moderated the effects of early parenting practices on later self-regulation; the interaction between low maternal warmth and high discipline was also non-significant. Findings add to the literature on how early parenting practices shape children's capacity for effective self-regulation, and have implications for researchers and practitioners. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.