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Abstract

To document the normative developmental progression of mother-child conflict and conflict resolution strategies, tvvo cohorts of children, spanning the toddler to preschool years, were observed longitudinally. Children's verbal negotiations were emphasized, and a multidimensional definition of negotiation permitted delineation of their conflict resolution strategies. The developmental findings, central to this study, showed that mother-child conflicts reach a peak at 30 months. The results suggest that toddlers may rely predominantly on refusing and preschoolers rely increasingly on negotiation during conflict. The results also indicate that patterns of conflict and negotiation are similar in different settings, and may elucidate important individual differences in young children. Implications and limitations for these normative developmental patterns are discussed.

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