Mindful Parenting Behaviors and Emotional Self-Regulation in Children with ADHD and Controls
Evans S, Bhide S, Quek J, Nicholson JM, Anderson V, Hazell P, Mulraney M, Sciberras E.
J Pediatr Psychol. 2020 Sep 14:jsaa073.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: Looking at mindfulness as a construct characterizing aspects of parenting was highly predictive of improved emotional self regulation in ADHD children. We teach mindfulness as an intervention, but looking at mindfulness as a construct describing aspects of interpersonal function is a novel and heuristic approach.
Objective: Mindfulness is defined as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally and these behaviors can be applied to parenting. Thus far, it is not understood whether mindful parenting (MP) differs in parents of children with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and how MP relates to other parenting practices and children’s self-regulation.
Methods: This study examined the relationships between MP, parenting behaviors and children’s self-regulation in 120 families with child ADHD (85% male; mean age = 11.93) and 105 control families (62% male; mean age = 11.98). Parents completed measures of MP (Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale), parenting behaviors (parenting warmth, consistency, and anger assessed with the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children measures), psychological distress (Kessler 6), and children’s self-regulation (Social Skills Improvement System-self-control subscale).
Results: When compared with controls, parents of children with ADHD reported significantly lower MP. Higher MP was associated with lower levels of parent psychological distress, higher levels of parenting warmth and consistency, lower levels of parenting anger, and higher child emotion self-regulation in both groups. In mediation analyses, MP was indirectly associated with child emotion self-regulation through lower parenting anger, with the model accounting for 55% of the variance in child self-regulation.
Conclusions: MP is a useful construct for understanding parent behaviors, and children’s emotion self-regulation.
* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion. It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.