Published on 01 Jul 2024

Mothers supported by parents in childcare more likely to show their children parental warmth: Study

Mothers whose parents help out with childcare are more likely to show their children parental warmth than mothers who do not receive any support, a study led by NTU Singapore has found.

According to the NTU-led study, which analysed data from 615 mother-child pairs enrolled in the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) nationwide birth cohort study, mothers of children aged 4½ years said they engaged in less frequent authoritarian (strict and controlling) parenting when the child’s maternal grandparents stepped in to help.

When their child was six, mothers who had been supported by their own parents also reported engaging in more positive parenting, which is characterised by warmth, responsiveness, and a stimulating home environment.

Interestingly, the study did not find evidence to support an association between support from other types of caregiving arrangements – paternal grandparents, both maternal and paternal grandparents, or domestic helpers – and the abovementioned positive parenting approaches in mothers.

While the study was done in Singapore, the research team said the findings that differentiate maternal grandparental support from paternal grandparental support could be relevant across Asian countries, where grandparental involvement in childcare is considered a cultural expectation.

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