Summary: Ensuring Safety and Providing
Challenge: Mothers' and Fathers'
Expectations and Choices
About Infant Locomotion
Shaziela Ishak, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda,
and Karen E. Adolph
Objective. We examined how parents' expectations about their infants' crawl-
ing ability and crawling attempts in a locomotor task affect parenting choices
about ensuring infants' safety and providing appropriate challenges. Design.
Mothers and fathers of 34 11-month-old infants adjusted a ramp to the steepest
slopes they thought their infants could safely crawl down, would attempt to
crawl down, and they would allow their infants to crawl down independently.
Results. Most parents expected their infants to attempt slopes that were steeper
than their ability and generally emphasized safety only by permitting infants to
crawl down slopes that were within infants' expected ability. More fathers than
mothers displayed parenting choices emphasizing challenge by allowing their
infants to attempt slopes beyond their ability. Conclusions. Both mothers and
fathers expected infants to attempt impossibly steep slopes, but mothers were
more likely to adopt safety-oriented parenting choices. Wide disagreements