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Negative attitudes about a child's behavior and inaccurate knowledge about child development may play a contributing role in child maltreatment. Some studies have found that mothers who physically abuse their children have both more negative and higher than normal expectations of their children, as well as less understanding of appropriate developmental norms. A parent's lack of knowledge about normal child development may result in unrealistic expectations and culminate in inappropriate punishment.
Research on maltreating parents found that they were more likely to use harsh discipline strategies and less likely to use positive parenting strategies such as time outs, reasoning, and recognizing and encouraging the child's successes.1
1 Adapted from J. Goldman, M. K. Salus, D. Wolcott, and K. Y. Kennedy. (2003). A coordinated response to child abuse and neglect: The foundation for practice. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved June 2006 from http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/foundation/foundatione.cfm back