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April 1964

A Mother's Paradoxical Response to Advice

Author Affiliations

Brian Bird, MD, University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Western Reserve University.; From the Child Rearing Study conducted by members of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Pediatrics of Western Reserve University, and supported by The Grant Foundation, Inc., New York.

Am J Dis Child. 1964;107(4):383-385. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02080060385009

Advice physicians give to mothers about their children should affect the way these mothers handle their children, and much of the time it does. Many mothers do respond readily and appropriately when told to take their child's temperature, to give aspirin, to put a sick child to bed, to change a formula, to start solid foods, to bring the child in for a shot, etc.

But some mothers do not follow the advice they get. Often they have what seems to them a good reason. The physician's advice may conflict with the mother's past experience, or with the advice they have already received from other authorities, especially from their mothers, their grandmothers, their friends, and from "baby" books and articles.

In other cases, however, there is no obvious reason, and they may not even be aware of not following advice. They seem simply to blot it out by forgetting it;

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