Predicting classroom behavior problems in Mexican American children from early mother-child interaction



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Several researchers have noted that the quality of affection/praise and of criticism/control in early mother-child interactions may be related to children1s acting out behaviors. The present study examined the relationship of such dimensions of mother-child interactional style to acting-out problems as assessed by the children's school teachers. The subjects were 82 Mexican American low-income mother-child dyads who had participated in the Houston Parent-Child Development Center. Upon completion of the program (at child age 3), both control and experimental group mother-child dyads were observed as they engaged in free play and structured activities. Mothers were rated on their use of affection, praise, criticism, and control. Six to ten years later, these children were rated by their school teachers on the frequency of their acting-out behaviors in the classroom. Multiple regression analyses were conducted with the teachers1 ratings as the dependent variables and the ratings of mother's use of affection, praise, criticism, and control as the independent variables. The hypothesis that the interaction of these independent variables would account for significant proportions of the variance in acting-out measures was partially supported. It was found that for the program group and for boys, the interaction of mother's use of praise and criticism significantly accounted for variance in the children's acting-out behavior scores.



Mexican American children--Education, Classroom management, Mother and child