Children born to mothers with greater emotional control and problem-solving abilities are less likely to develop behavioural problems, finds a new study.
The research showed that mothers with high emotional control are less likely to be verbally harsh with their children.
Mothers with higher emotional and cognitive control were less likely to report poor child conduct, such as fighting with other children or throwing tantrums when they don't get what they want.
"When you lose control of your life, that impacts how you parent. That chaos both directly and indirectly influences your child's behaviour," said lead author Ali Crandall, from Brigham Young University in Utah, US.
The study, published in the journal Family Relations, included data from 152 mothers, aged between 21 to 49 years, who had children between 3 to 7 years of age.
The mother's emotional control was measured through a 10-item questionnaire asking how often subjects "have angry outbursts" or "overreact to small problems".
Executive functioning or cognitive control -- what helps people manage chaos and achieve daily goals, and includes planning, problem solving and directing attention to what is most important-- was measured through a series of tasks.
The results showed that mothers with greater cognitive control are less likely to have controlling parenting attitudes.
"There are some clear 'signals' that our supply of self-control is being run down -- when we are feeling distracted, irritable and tired," said co-author Kirby Deater-Deckard from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
"Parents can practice recognising these signals in themselves when they are occurring and respond by taking a 'time out' if at all possible -- just as we might do with our children when we notice these signals in them," Deckard added.
Crandall explained that getting enough sleep, exercising and healthy eating habits impact the executive functioning.