In this chapter, we consider the children and their relationships with their parents. Three aspects of these relationships are described. First, we focus on parental management of behaviour. We consider the extent to which mothers feel that they treat the child with Down’s syndrome differently to other children, and describe their attitudes about and practices of specific management techniques. Concerns about management were frequently raised by parents during informal discussions with members of the research team. Understandably, this was particularly the case where parents felt that their children were difficult to manage.
The second focus of this chapter is a description of difficulties in behaviour shown by the children. We examine both the frequency and severity of specific problems, and mothers’ concerns and anxieties regarding these. The third focus is a broader consideration of the parent-child relationship. There are many more facets to this relationship than just that of management. We examine the rewards that mothers feel their children have brought them and their families. We discuss mothers’ enjoyment of their children, and the warmth and affection with which they speak of them.
Having considered these three aspects of the parent-child relationship, the chapter concludes with an examination of the factors that appear to be associated with high levels of behaviour problems. In the previous chapter, we noted the important implications of this for children’s activities and relationships both within the family and with peers. We hope that this will provide some guidelines for parents and for those who work with families to enable them to prevent or to reduce the occurrence of such difficulties.