A study in the current issue of Family Psychology examined the interactions of parents of children with or without anxiety disorders. The results suggested that fathers are more likely to discuss emotion with their sons than with their daughters; fathers of anxious kids provided less explanation about the causes and strategies for dealing with emotion, and displayed negative reactions to their son’s expression of anxiety. Kids with anxiety disorders used fewer strategies to regulate negative emotions than the non-anxious children.
The researchers theorized that the discussion of emotion helps children to develop strategies to cope with it, and that fathers may play a particular role in the maintenance of anxiety in their sons. Communication about anxiety and strategies to cope with it appears to be an important element in the development of emotional regulation.
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