The emergence of 5-year-olds’ behavioral difficulties: Analyzing risk and protective pathways in the United Kingdom and Germany

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This study aims to advance our understanding of 5-year-olds’ behavioral difficulties by getting to grips with certain facets of parenting and child development and how they might influence their child’s behavior.

The research makes use of data from the United Kingdom and Germany to examine positive and negative parenting behavior, any distress a parent reports experiencing and their child’s temperament and vocabulary.

Children with comparatively higher educated parents experienced more positive parenting, had more advanced vocabulary, and exhibited fewer behavioral difficulties.

Children with a more difficult temperament or with parents who suffered from distress tended to experience more negative disciplinary parenting and exhibited more behavioral difficulties.

Results were similar for both the United Kingdom and Germany.

The researchers conclude that programs that enhance early parent–child interactions and children’s vocabulary skills or support parents in promoting appropriate disciplinary strategies hold considerable potential for preventing early behavioral difficulties even for children from risk groups.