Associations between maternal control and child defiance among Puerto Rican-origin adolescent mothers and their toddlers: A person-centered examination.

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 U.S. 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 subgroups of mothers with distinct associations to child defiance: (a) enculturated/controlling, (b) bicultural/guiding, (c) bicultural/controlling, (d) acculturated/controlling. Toddlers of the mothers in the acculturated/controlling subgroup displayed greater defiance toward their mothers than those of mothers in the enculturated/controlling subgroup, 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 2 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. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)