Mothering style with firstborn and laterborn children
Kaye, Sarah Jessica
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This dissertation was an exploratory study of mothering style based on the work of Joan Raphael-Leff in the 1980s. Her work defined three orientations to mothering labelled Facilitators, Regulators and Reciprocators. Facilitators put a priority on responding to their infant's demands while Regulators put a priority on scheduling their infant's demands. Reciprocators balanced between responding to demands and regulating them.;The present study examined whether these three orientations to mothering were present in an American population and whether they differed with children of different birth order and different ages. The behavior of the children, at ages two to four, was also observed to see if the type of mothering style used in infancy influenced later behavior. Sixty mothers were interviewed about their interactions with and attitudes towards their children at two stages; retrospectively from pregnancy to one year and currently from two to four years of age. All mothers had a traditional family constellation and were not seeking psychotherapy.;This study found a differentiation of mothers on the basis of mothering style, defined by their degree of regulation of their child's routine. The largest number of mothers scored as Reciprocators, the next largest groups as Moderate Facilitators and Moderate Regulators, and the smallest groups as Extreme Facilitators and Extreme Regulators.;Several differences were found between mothers of firstborns and mothers of laterborns. Mothers of firstborns were significantly more facilitative and adapted to their infants' routines. In contrast, mothers of laterborns were significantly more reciprocative and negotiated between adapting to their infant and having the infant adapt to the family routine. Mothers of firstborns held their infants more than did mothers of laterborns.;A significant difference was found between mothering style with infants and mothering style with two to four year olds. Mothers were significantly more facilitative with their infants and more regulative with their two to four year olds.;In general, mothering style was not found to be related to the children's behaviors, although the children of Regulator mothers were significantly more cooperative.