Parenting practices contribute significantly to the social-emotional development of young children. There is limited literature that addresses the role of culture in parenting, particularly among Latino families who have very young children with significant behavior problems. The current study compared the parenting practices of 30 low-income Latino mothers whose young children had been referred for mental health services for their behavior problems with a similar group of 30 mothers of children without behavior problems. Results showed that mothers in the clinical sample nurtured their children less often and used more frequent verbal and corporal punishment as discipline than the nonclinical sample. The clinical sample also had a significantly higher incidence of mental health problems in their families. Results also showed the significant toll that raising young children with challenging behaviors takes on their mothers. The implications of these findings for the early identification of these children are discussed.
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