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Ben Eliyahu A. and Sarfaty, L. (On-going): Can Children Study during These Times? Examining the Relationship between Parents' Meta-Abilities and their Children's Learning Ability from Home During the Corona Pandemic

On-Going research

Dr. Adar Ben-Eliyahu & Lihi Sarfaty, Department of Counseling and Human Development – University of Haifa

This study investigated the relations of parental meta-processes and self-regulated learning to their children’s self-regulated learning. The study is based on the notion that meta-processes and self-regulation are a core essence of resilience and crucial protective factors especially when coping with maladaptive living situations, such as that imposed COVID-19 pandemic. Meta-processes have been mainly investigated as knowledge and understanding of cognitive processes in the form of metacognition (Flavel, 1979), though recently these processes have been defined as pertaining to behavioral outcomes -metabehavior (Ben-Eliyahu, 2019) and emotional - metaemotion (also see Norman & Furnes, 2016). Although parental processes and beliefs have been found to be related to their children’s, there is not much work on how parents’ self-regulated learning and meta-processes are related to their children’s self-regulated learning. This study investigated the relations of these parental processes as well as the dynamic of regulation as they relate to their children’s learning.
The data includes three different times: May 2019 (pre-corona), April 2020 (first lockdown – distance learning), and June 2020 (regular at school learning after lockdown – “Corona routine”). Our preliminary analyses suggest that at home distance learning elicits slightly different dynamics between parents and their children that is captured by nuanced processes. Main findings suggest that there was more parental involvement with returning to the Corona routine as more associations were found between maternal processes to her child in June 2020 compared to May 2019. For example, across all times parental emotion regulation of suppression was positively associated with child suppression, in addition in June 2020 mother’s cognitive regulation predicted the use of child’s suppression. Similarly, while reappraisal emotion regulation predicted the use of reappraisal and planning (behavioral regulation) at school learning (May 2019 & June 2020), in June 2020 parent's behavioral regulation (planning) was also positively associated with the child's behavioral regulation. The findings suggest that during the first lockdown (April 2020), apart from reappraisal (emotional regulation), parent's self-regulation were not associated with their children's self-regulation.
Regarding mothers' knowledge of internal processes such as emotion, cognition and behavior, whereas pre-corona meta-emotion and meta-behavior was positively associated with child’s emotion regulation of reappraisal, Corona lockdown meta-behavior was also found to predict behavioral regulation (planning). This is in contrast to Corona routine (June 2020) in which only meta-emotion predicted reappraisal and behavior regulation. An interesting finding is that mother’s meta-emotion was negatively associated with the child's cognitive regulation only during distance learning (April 2020), but during and after lockdown meta-emotion was positively associated while meta-cognition was negatively associated with the use of suppression emotion regulation.
In looking at parent-child dynamics, co-regulation was positively associated with emotion regulation reappraisal and planning at all times, but predicted math success only during and after the lockdown. While other regulation - giving instructions to the child was negatively related to math achievements and was positively associated with child's attentional regulation. That is, the child is required to have more instructions to regulate attention, but less instruction by the mother predicted math achievement and planning (behavioral regulation). This is in contrast to co-regulation which was positively associated with math achievements but negatively associated with child's attentional regulation. When we asked the mothers about their emotions during the lockdown and Corona routine, we found that while there were no differences in reported negative emotions between the two periods, positive emotion (happy, relaxed, enthusiastic) increased when the children returned to school after lockdown (June 2020).