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25 March 2019

Self-regulation isn’t just for kids, say Harvard academics and their Aussie counterparts

The topic of “self-regulation”– managing strong emotions, coping with difficult situations, and learning to self-evaluate – and how parents can play a major role in helping children develop self-regulatory skills has been explored in the latest issue of peer-reviewed journal, the Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.

In an innovative publishing collaboration, the special issue on self-regulation is part of a University of Queensland (UQ)-Harvard partnership focussed on the wellbeing of children and families.

It features articles from researchers at Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child and from the University of Queensland’s Parenting and Family Support Centre (PFSC)

PFSC Director, and Triple P – Positive Parenting Program founder, Professor Matthew Sanders says this latest research on self-regulation will help increase understanding of how it relates to improving the wellbeing of children and families.

“Self-regulation is an essential developmental capability that develops in early childhood and is related to an individual’s ability to manage their emotions, thinking and behavior throughout life,” Professor Sanders said.

He went on to explain that teaching children self-regulation was intertwined with supporting parents to strengthen their own self-regulation skills, and that the research also highlighted other ways in which adults could learn these skills and help teach them to children.

This could include early childhood educators, teachers, and other caregivers.

For this reason, Professor Sanders also recommended the publication as a useful resource for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, service providers, implementing organizations and the general public.

Other topics covered within the journal’s special self-regulation issue include:

  • How children’s self-regulation can be accurately measured;
  • How factors such as location and language affect self-regulation;
  • Helping children develop healthy eating and exercise habits through self-regulation via parenting programs; and
  • How developing self-regulation within organizations and community agencies can help enhance the effective implementation of Triple P and other evidence-based parenting programs.