A Comparison of Interactions Between Mothers With Their Normal Children and Mothers With Their Retarded Children
The problem. To observe and compare interactions of mothers and their normal children with mothers and their retarded children including attempts to modify behavior and the comparative success of those attempts. Procedure. Three mother-normal child pairs and three mother-retarded child pairs were observed in their homes for five hours each. The observer recorded and coded the following characteristics of each interaction: the originator, the intent to increase or decrease behavior, and type and the success of each interaction. Findings. The results showed a difference in the interaction patterns of mothers with a normal child and mothers with a retarded child: (1) Mothers of normal children attempted and were successful more often in controlling the behavior of their child, (2) retarded children were as successful as normal children in changing their mothers' behavior but did not attempt to do so as often, (3) retarded children successfully controlled their mothers' behavior at a higher success rate per number of attempts to control, than did the mothers with mentally retarded children successfully control their children. Conclusions. Unlike mentally retarded children and their mothers, normal children and their mothers interacted with each other often and were successful enough in the interactions to continue a reciprocal interchange cycle. Recommendations. It is recommended that behavior management training procedures be further investigated for use in teaching mothers with mentally retarded children the principles and techniques of successful interaction patterns with their children.
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