Mothers usually know best. But according to a new study from Plymouth University, moms—and dads—might not be the best judge when it comes to their own children's happiness.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, showed that parents with kids aged 10-11 overestimated how happy their kid is, while parents of 15- and 16-year-olds tended to underestimate.
A happiness assessment of self-reporting measures and ratings was distributed to 357 children and adolescents as well as their parents.
The survey found that how parents scored their offspring's level of happiness correlated with their own self-report of how happy they were. Researchers equate this difference in responses to parents relying on their own personal feelings when making their assessment—called an "egocentric bias."
"Being unable to read children's happiness appropriately may increase misunderstanding between parents and children/adolescents, which has been shown to have negative consequences for parent–child relationships," said Belen Lopez-Perez, M.D., who conducted the study, in a press release. "Furthermore, parents might not be able to provide the appropriate emotional support or attend to their children's needs accurately."
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Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
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