Emotional reminiscing and the development of an autobiographical self.Dev Psychol. 2006 Jul; 42(4):613-26.DP
According to autobiographical memory theorists, past event conversations provide children with a framework for evaluating and connecting past events into a coherent autobiography (R. Fivush, 1994; K. Nelson, 1993; M. K. Welch-Ross, 1995). Two studies were conducted to empirically examine the association between past event conversation style and an independent measure of children's self-concept consistency. In Study 1, 50 New Zealand mothers discussed everyday past events with their children at 51 and 65 months of age. In Study 2, 51 New Zealand parents discussed 1 positive and 3 negative past events with their 5- and 6-year-old children. The consistency of children's self-views was assessed in both studies using the Children's Self-View Questionnaire (R. Eder, 1990). Children's self-concept consistency was moderately associated with greater explanation of the causes and consequences of children's negative emotions, resolution through social contact, and evaluation of positive events but not with simple attributions of emotion. These findings implicate parent-child conversations as a medium through which children can begin to understand the personal meaning of past experiences.