Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Happiness is considered a priority for most people and understandably so due to its benefits. Happiness not only makes people feel good but leads to better health outcomes. However, emerging research found that valuing happiness at extreme levels can be detrimental to a person’s well-being (Mauss, Tamir, Anderson, & Savino, 2011). Yet, no research has directly examined if the concept of excessively valuing happiness can be applied to another person’s happiness and in particular, one’s children. Additionally, no research has examined how parents’ beliefs about their children’s happiness is linked to parenting behaviors and emotion socialization. Two present studies investigate whether parents’ value of their children’s happiness at extreme levels were associated with their emotion socialization and parenting behaviors. The first study focused on parents’ positive affect socialization with mothers and children (N = 76) between 7 to 12 years old. The study found that valuing child’s happiness at higher levels was associated with more parental socialization of savoring positive affect. However, mothers’ value of their child’s happiness was not associated with parental socialization of dampening, minimizing, encouraging, or reprimanding positive affect. The second study focused on parents’ negative affect socialization beliefs and helicopter and indulgent parenting styles of both mothers and fathers with their adolescents (N = 116; 14 to 18-year-old). In Study 2, mothers and fathers who valued their child’s happiness to a higher degree were more likely to believe they should reject their child’s negative affect and were more uncertain on how to handle their child’s expression of negative emotions. Mothers who reported higher levels of excessively valuing their child’s happiness scored higher on indulgent parenting behaviors. However, excessively valuing child’s happiness was not associated with parental emotion socialization beliefs of accepting or coaching their child’s negative affect or helicopter parenting. Both studies contribute to the literature by applying research on excessively valuing happiness to parenting and provides novel insight into its association with emotion socialization.
Wilson, Tyia, "Can Parents' Value of Children's Happiness Predict Their Emotion Socialization and Parenting?" (2018). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8196.