Research supports the beneficial role of prosocial behaviors on children's adjustment and successful youth development. Empirical studies point to reciprocal relations between negative parenting and children's maladjustment, but reciprocal relations between positive parenting and children's prosocial behavior are understudied. In this study reciprocal relations between two different dimensions of positive parenting (quality of the mother–child relationship and the use of balanced positive discipline) and children's prosocial behavior were examined in Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States.
Mother–child dyads (N = 1105) provided data over 2 years in two waves (Mage of child in wave 1 = 9.31 years, SD = 0.73; 50% female).
A model of reciprocal relations between parenting dimensions, but not among parenting and children's prosocial behavior, emerged. In particular, children with higher levels of prosocial behavior at age 9 elicited higher levels of mother–child relationship quality in the following year.
Findings yielded similar relations across countries, evidencing that being prosocial in late childhood contributes to some degree to the enhancement of a nurturing and involved mother–child relationship in countries that vary widely on sociodemographic profiles and psychological characteristics. Policy and intervention implications of this study are discussed.
Pastorelli, C., Lansford, J. E., Luengo Kanacri, B. P., Malone, P. S., Di Giunta, L., Bacchini, D., ... & Tapanya, S. (2016). Positive parenting and children's prosocial behavior in eight countries. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(7), 824-834.