The Role of Co-Regulation for the development of social-emotional competence
Regulating emotions volitionally requires the inhibition and modification of an elicited emotional action readiness and includes phases of reflection, planning and self-regulation. The proposed internalization model of reflective emotion regulation argues that caregivers’ co-regulation of emotionally challenging events plays a constitutive role for the development of 4- to 6-year-olds’ reflective emotion regulation. The model specifies the gradual shift from co- to self-regulation by focusing on two important ways how caregivers structure emotionally challenging interactions: Through emotion talk, caregivers promote the development of preschoolers’ emotional awareness. Once established, they support children in establishing a repertoire of effective emotion regulation strategies and they guide preschoolers’ emerging skills to generate, evaluate, and select from alternative appraisals or behavioral responses.