Ensuring safety and providing challenge: Mothers' and fathers' expectations and choices about infant locomotion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: We examined how parents' expectations about their infants' crawling ability and crawling attempts in a locomotor task affect parenting choices about ensuring infants' safety and providing appropriate challenges. Design. Mothers and fathers of 34 11-month-old infants adjusted a ramp to the steepest slopes they thought their infants could safely crawl down, would attempt to crawl down, and they would allow their infants to crawl down independently. Results: Most parents expected their infants to attempt slopes that were steeper than their ability and generally emphasized safety only by permitting infants to crawl down slopes that were within infants' expected ability. More fathers than mothers displayed parenting choices emphasizing challenge by allowing their infants to attempt slopes beyond their ability. Conclusions: Both mothers and fathers expected infants to attempt impossibly steep slopes, but mothers were more likely to adopt safety-oriented parenting choices. Wide disagreements within dyads and inconsistencies in individual parents' estimates might increase the chances of infants incurring injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalParenting
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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