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Mothers’ influence on children’s play


A study by the University of Missouri has found that the more directive the mothers were during play, the less engaged children were with them and the more negative emotion the children displayed toward their mothers.

The study also found that mothers’ directiveness varies based on children’s ages and the mothers’ ethnicities.

Lead author of the study and Professor of human development and family studies at the University of Missouri, Jean Ispa said:

‘Children flourish when they have opportunities to make choices about what they do, particularly in play situations … Mothers often think they are helping their children by correcting them, but they are limiting the children’s creativity and possibly making their children enjoy being with them less.’

The study, Patterns of Maternal Directiveness by Ethnicity among Early Head Start Research Participants is published in Parenting: Science and Practice.

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