Parental Influence on Children’s Happiness

by Cici W

This essay explores how parental rearing style, the way parents raise their children, affects children’s levels of happiness. Although some quantitative studies have found negative parental expressions, such as anger, lead to children’s depression and lower level of happiness, this paper investigates the influence of positive parental behaviors on children through qualitative research, which is a 2-hour-long observational study held at Chaldecott Park. The observation of 12 children and 10 parents, including those of different races and genders, shows that positive actions and facial expressions from parents bring out positive reactions and responses from children. As a result, this paper concludes that positive parental rearing style leads to a higher level of happiness for children.


Most researchers have explicitly studied negative parental influence on children’s performance and behavior through quantitative research. Psychologists, such as Katherine Covell and Rona Abramovitch, have proved that conflicts in the family causes children to feel distressed, angry, and other negative emotions. The result of Covell and Abrmovitch’s experiment in 1987 shows that young children intuitively see themselves as the cause when they observe anger from their mother (985). Ten years later, the research of Gordon T. Harold and Rand D. Conger on the effect marital conflicts on child development finds that the number of parental conflicts children observe is relate to the frequency of children’s distress and emotional instability (346). However, Covell, Abramovitch, Harold and Conger all discuss the negative parental influence on children, which reveals a lack of research which study relationship between children’s happiness and parental rearing style from positive psychology’s point of view. This essay fills the knowledge deficit of the relationship between positive parental influence and children’s happiness by studying the effect of positive parental emotion and behaviors on children.

Works Cited

Covell, Katherine, and Rona Abramovitch. “Children’s and Parents’ Attributions of Happiness,
Sadness, and Anger.” Child Development 58.4 (1987): 985-991. Web. 15 Jun. 2014.

Harold, Gordon T., and Rand D. Conger. “Marital Conflict and Adolescent Distress: The Role of Adolescent Awareness.” Child Development 68.2 (1997): 333-350. Web. 15 Jun. 2014.


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