During the transition of their children to toddlerhood, mothers must learn to adapt their behaviors in a period of marked developmental change. Maternal sensitivity and responsiveness were examined across interactions with varying levels of control-saliency over children at 12 months. Mothers were significantly less sensitive as a group in more control-salient interactions (teaching task, toy clean-up, and limit-setting), than in less control-salient interactions (play and snack). Mothers' sensitivity and responsiveness, and their perceived relationship history in their own families of origin, also were related to their use of limit-setting strategies. Mothers who were less sensitive and responsive, and who reported more negative relationship histories, displayed power-based limit-setting strategies. In contrast, higher levels of maternal sensitivity and responsiveness and more positive relationship histories were associated with teaching-based limit-setting styles.
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