Do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster? Children's influence on mothers' beliefs, values, and social/cultural practices.
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Obtaining mothers' perspectives and descriptions of incidents in which their child(ren) said or did something that influenced the mothers' values, beliefs, and/or social or cultural practices, that is, the content of socialization, was the primary aim of this research. Bakhtin's (2004) metatheoretical account of dialogism was used to frame this study. From a dialogic perspective utterances (for example, the utterances of children in the present study) are events or acts and are presented as one way to view the process of socialization. In part this purpose, and the decision to utilize a qualitative research orientation, was to address a call (Lollis & Kuczynski, 1997) for qualitative or microanalytic analyses to help elucidate the processes of socialization. Mothers (N=10) in this study were able to provide descriptions of incidents in which their child(ren) said or did something that influenced the mother and hence we have some description of the concept of bidirectionality, a well accepted, but undertheorized concept in developmental psychology. While the concepts of multiple sources of influence and contexts are salient areas of research in parent-child socialization, and were mentioned in the informants reporting these areas did not appear to be as salient in the mothers' accounts. Emotions and the meaning mothers 'derived' from the interactions did, however, take much more prominence in the described incidents.