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Predicting Mothers' Beliefs about Preschool-Aged Children's Social Behavior: Evidence for Maternal Attitudes Moderating Child Effects

Paul D. Hastings and Kenneth H. Rubin
Child Development
Vol. 70, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1999), pp. 722-741
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1132156
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Predicting Mothers' Beliefs about Preschool-Aged Children's Social Behavior: Evidence for Maternal Attitudes Moderating Child Effects
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Abstract

Maternal beliefs about children's social behavior may be important contributors to socialization and development, but little is known about how such beliefs form. Transactional models suggest that children's characteristics may influence parents. At 2 years of age, the shy and aggressive behaviors of 65 toddlers (28 females) were observed during interactions with an unfamiliar peer; as well, mothers described the extent to which they advocated protective and authoritarian childrearing attitudes. These variables were used to predict mothers emotions, attributions, parenting goals, and socialization strategies in response to vignettes depicting aggressive and withdrawn child behaviors 2 years later. Most child effects were moderated by maternal attitudes or gender effects. Authoritarian mothers of aggressive toddlers were most likely to report high control and anger, to blame their children for aggression, and to focus on obtaining compliance rather than teaching skills to their children. Protective mothers reported that they would use warmth and involvement to comfort withdrawn children, especially their daughters.

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