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Do Mothers’ Parenting Attitudes and Behaviors Change with their First- and Second-Born Children?

New research reveals that mothers hold similar views and attitudes when parenting their first and second children, but their parenting behaviors with their two children differ.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 12:01 am EDT

New research reveals that mothers hold similar views and attitudes when parenting their first and second children, but their parenting behaviors with their two children differ.

In the study, published in Social Development, 55 mothers were observed interacting with their first child at the age of 20 months and again, using the same procedures, when their second child was 20 months.

First-born children tended to be more sociable and emotionally available to mothers than second-born children. Mothers’ behaviors with first-born and second-born children were not similar in rank order (for example, mothers who engaged in a lot of play with their first-borns did not necessarily engage in a lot of play with their second-borns), but there was no systematic average difference in the amounts or qualities of mothers’ interaction directed toward first and second children.

These findings suggest that, despite relatively consistent parenting beliefs over time, siblings behave differently from one another by 20 months of age, and mothers behave differently when interacting with their two children at the same age.

Additional Information:

Link to study:  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sode.12319

About Journal:

Social Development is a major international journal dealing with all aspects of children's social development as seen from a psychological stance. It provides an outlet for empirical reports, debates and comments on theoretical and empirical issues, literature reviews and in-depth book reviews.

The main focus of Social Development is on development in childhood with lifespan, cross-species and cross-cultural perspectives enhancing our understanding of human development also explored. Coverage includes a wide range of topics such as social cognition, peer relationships, social interaction, attachment formation, emotional development and children's theories of mind. It is essential reading for developmental psychologists, social psychologists and all those concerned with teaching or research in the field of social development.

Social Development is published 4 times per year.

Effective with the 2016 volume, Social Development will be published in an online-only format.

About Wiley 

Wiley, a global research and learning company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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