Associations Between Maternal Control and Child Defiance Among Puerto Rican-Origin Adolescent Mothers and Their Toddlers: A Person-Centered Examination.J Lat Psychol 2018; 6(4):264-275JL
Parents use different forms of control to direct children toward their own demands and expectations; however, the literature on Latina parenting has demonstrated mixed findings on the influence of control on child outcomes (Halgunseth, Ispa, & Rudy, 2006). This study tested how maternal control relates to child dysregulated defiance within the cultural context experienced by Latina mother-child dyads. Participants included 122 adolescent mothers of Puerto Rican-origin and their toddlers. Highlighting the importance of ecologically-valid and culturally-sensitive methods of behavioral observation, mother and child behavior were observed during a clean-up task; mothers also reported on their levels of US acculturation and Puerto Rican enculturation. Using person-centered analyses, we identified groups of mothers by parenting behaviors (i.e., guidance, control, positive affect) and cultural orientation (i.e., acculturation, enculturation). Results revealed four sub-groups of mothers with distinct associations to child defiance: 1) enculturated/controlling, 2) bicultural/guiding, 3) bicultural/controlling, 4) acculturated/controlling. Toddlers of the mothers in the acculturated/controlling sub-group displayed greater defiance toward their mothers than those of mothers in the enculturated/controlling sub-group, even though the groups displayed similar levels of control behaviors and positive affect. Toddlers of the enculturated/controlling and the bicultural/guiding mothers displayed similar low levels of defiance, suggesting two different parenting approaches with favorable consequences for child behavior in adolescent mother and toddler dyads. Implications for culturally-informed research and tailored services for young Latina families are discussed.