The Association Between Mindful Parenting and Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Problems: The Role of Mother–Child Communication

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the mediation process from maternal mindful parenting to adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems through mother–child communication and adolescent self-disclosure. A total of 496 mother-adolescent dyads participated in the current study. Mother-reported mindful parenting and mother–child communication and adolescent-reported self-disclosure and behavior problems were collected. Path analysis results showed that mothers’ mindful parenting was indirectly associated with adolescent internalizing and externalizing behaviors through mother–child communication and adolescent self-disclosure. In addition, the specific components of mindful parenting were examined in detail. The component of interacting with full attention showed unique patterns, while components of compassion and acceptance and emotion awareness of children showed similar pattern with the total score. These findings contribute to the knowledge of the mechanism underlying how mindful parenting benefit adolescent internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and have implications for clinical interventions.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. 1.

    Kabat-Zinn M, Kabat-Zinn J (1997) Everyday blessings: the inner work of mindful parenting. Hyperion, New York

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Bögels SM, Lehtonen A, Restifo K (2010) Mindful parenting in mental health care. Mindfulness 1(2):107–112

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Duncan LG, Coatsworth JD, Greenberg MT (2009) A model of mindful parenting: implications for parent–child relationships and prevention research. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 12(3):255–270

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Keijsers L, Poulin F (2013) Developmental changes in parent-child communication throughout adolescence. Dev Psychol 49(12):2301–2308

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Larson RW, Richards MH, Moneta G, Holmbeck G, Duckett E (1996) Changes in adolescents’ daily interactions with their families from ages 10 to 18: disengagement and transformation. Dev Psychol 32:744–754

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Smetana JG, Metzger A, Campione-Barr GN (2006) Disclosure and secrecy in adolescent-parent relationships. Child Dev 77(1):201–217

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Keijsers L, Branje S, Frijns T, Finkenauer C, Meeus W (2010) Gender differences in keeping secrets from parents in adolescence. Dev Psychol 46(1):293–298

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Masche JG (2010) Explanation of normative declines in parents’ knowledge about their adolescent children. J Adolesc 33(2):271–284

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    de Bruin EI, Zijlstra BJ, Geurtzen N, van Zundert RM, van de Weijer-Bergsma E, Hartman EE et al (2014) Mindful parenting assessed further: psychometric properties of the Dutch version of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale (IM-P). Mindfulness 5(2):200–212

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Moreira H, Canavarro MC (2017) Psychometric properties of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale in a sample of Portuguese mothers. Mindfulness 8(3):691–706

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Pan J, Liang Y, Zhou H, Wang Y (2019) Mindful parenting assessed in mainland china: psychometric properties of the Chinese version of the interpersonal mindfulness in parenting scale. Mindfulness 10(8):1629–1641

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Gouveia MJ, Canavarro MC, Moreira H (2019) How can mindful parenting be related to emotional eating and overeating in childhood and adolescence? the mediating role of parenting stress and parental child-feeding practices. Appetite 138:102–114

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Medeiros C, Gouveia MJ, Canavarro MC, Moreira H (2016) The indirect effect of the mindful parenting of mothers and fathers on the child’s perceived well-being through the child’s attachment to parents. Mindfulness 7(4):1–12

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Singh NN, Lancioni GE, Winton ASW, Singh J, Curtis JW, Wahler RG, McAleavey KM (2007) Mindful parenting decreases aggression and increases social behavior in children with developmental disabilities. Behav Modif 31(6):749–771

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Wang Y, Liang Y, Fan L, Lin K, Xie X, Pan J et al (2018) The indirect path from mindful parenting to emotional problems in adolescents: the role of maternal warmth and adolescents’ mindfulness. Front Psychol 9:546

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Zhang W, Wang M, Ying L (2019) Parental mindfulness and preschool children’s emotion regulation: the role of mindful parenting and secure parent-child attachment. Mindfulness 10(12):2481–2491

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Parent J, Mckee LGN, Rough J, Forehand R (2016) The association of parent mindfulness with parenting and youth psychopathology across three developmental stages. J Abnorm Child Psychol 44(1):191–202

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Han ZR, Ahemaitijiang N, Yan J, Hu X, Parent J, Dale C et al (2019) Parent mindfulness parenting and child psychopathology in China. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00546

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Park YR, Nix RL, Duncan LG, Coatsworth JD, Greenberg MT (2019) Unfolding relations among mindful parenting recurrent conflict and adolescents’ externalizing and internalizing problems. Fam Process. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12498

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Bögels SM, Restifo K (2014) Mindful parenting: a guide for mental health practitioners. Springer, New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Coatsworth JD, Duncan LG, Greenberg MT, Nix RL (2010) Changing parent’s mindfulness child management skills and relationship quality with their youth: results from a randomized pilot intervention trial. J Child Fam Stud 19:203–217

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Singh NN, Lancioni GE, Winton ASW, Singh J, Singh AN, Adkins AD et al (2010) Training in mindful caregiving transfers to parent–child interactions. J Child Fam Stud 19:167–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Emerson LM, Aktar E, de Bruin E, Potharst E, Bögels S (2019) Mindful parenting in secondary child mental health: key parenting predictors of treatment effects. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01176-w

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Dumas JE (2005) Mindfulness-based parent training: strategies to lessen the grip of automaticity in families with disruptive children. J Clin Child Psychol 34(4):779–791

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Barnes HL, Olson DH (1985) Parent-adolescent communication and the circumplex model. Child Dev 56(2):438–447

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Lippold MA, Coffman DL, Greenberg MT (2013) Investigating the potential causal relationship between parental knowledge and youth risky behavior: a propensity score analysis. Prev Sci 15(6):869–878

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Racz SJ, McMahon RJ (2011) The relationship between parental knowledge and monitoring and child and adolescent conduct problems: a 10-year update. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 14(4):377–398

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Riesch SK, Anderson LS, Krueger HA (2010) Parent-child communication processes: preventing children’s health-risk behavior. J Spec Pediatr Nurs 11(1):41–56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Liu Q, Lin Y, Zhou Z, Zhang W (2019) Perceived parent–adolescent communication and pathological Internet use among Chinese adolescents: a moderated mediation model. J Child Fam Stud 28(6):1571–1580

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Loffe M, Pittman LD, Kochanova K, Pabis JM (2020) Parent-adolescent communication influences on anxious and depressive symptoms in early adolescence. J Youth Adolesc 49(8):1716–1730

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Lippold MA, Duncan LG, Coatsworth JD, Nix RL, Greenberg MT (2015) Understanding how mindful parenting may be linked to mother-adolescent communication. J Youth Adolesc 44(9):1663–1673

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Lippold MA, Jensen TM, Duncan LG, Nix RL, Coatsworth JD, Greenberg MT (2019) Mindful parenting parenting cognitions and parent-youth communication: bidirectional linkages and mediational processes. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01119-5

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Olson DH (1985) Family inventories: Inventories used in a national survey of families across the life cycle. Family Social Science, University of Minnesota, St Paul MN

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Stattin H, Kerr M (2000) Parental monitoring: a reinterpretation. Child Dev 71(4):1072–1085

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Goodman R (1997) The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: a research note. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 38(5):581–586

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Kou J, Du Y, Xia L (2007) Formulation of children strengths and difficulties questionnaire (the edition for students) for Shanghai Norm. China J Health Psychol 15(1):3–5

    Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Muthen LK, Muthen BO (2012) Mplus: the comprehensive modeling program for applied researchers: user’s guide. Author, Los Angeles

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Geurtzen N, Scholte RH, Engels RC, Tak YR, van Zundert RM (2015) Association between mindful parenting and adolescents’ internalizing problems: non-judgmental acceptance of parenting as core element. J Child Fam Stud 24(4):1117–1128

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Gouveia MJ, Canavarro MC, Moreira H (2018) Is mindful parenting associated with adolescents’ emotional eating? The mediating role of adolescents’ self-compassion and body shame. Front Psychol 9:2004

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Keijsers L, Frijns T, Branje SJT, Meeus W (2009) Developmental links of adolescent disclosure parental solicitation and control with delinquency: moderation by parental support. Dev Psychol 45:1314–1327

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Cicognani E (2011) Coping strategies with minor stressors in adolescence: relationships with social support self-efficacy and psychological well-being. J Appl Soc Psychol 41(3):559–578

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Moreira H, Canavarro MC (2020) Mindful parenting is associated with adolescents’ difficulties in emotion regulation through adolescents’ psychological inflexibility and self-compassion. J Youth Adolesc 49(1):192–211

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Coatsworth JD, Duncan LG, Nix RL, Greenberg MT, Gayles JG, Bamberger KT et al (2015) Integrating mindfulness with parent training: effects of the mindfulness-enhanced strengthening families program. Dev Psychol 51(1):26

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Arroyo A, Harwood J (2011) Communication competence mediates the link between shyness and relational quality. Pers Individ Differ 50(2):264–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Wang Y, Dix T (2015) Mothers’ early depressive symptoms predict children’s low social competence in first grade: mediation by children’s social cognition. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 56(2):183–192

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Holler K, Kavanaugh B (2013) Physical aggression, diagnostic presentation, and executive functioning in inpatient adolescents diagnosed with mood disorders. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 44(4):573–581

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Zhang X, Gatzke-Kopp LM (2020) Exposure to parental aggression and the development of psychopathology in young children: the mediating role of early dissociative symptoms. J Interpers Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260520967746

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31700961); and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Sun Yat-sen University (20wkzd13).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yuyin Wang.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Electronic supplementary material 1 (DOCX 24 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yang, W., Deng, J. & Wang, Y. The Association Between Mindful Parenting and Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Problems: The Role of Mother–Child Communication. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-021-01168-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mindful parenting
  • Parent–child communication
  • Adolescent self-disclosure
  • Internalizing problems
  • Externalizing problems