During my fifth week of my research experience, I started to code videos for Dr. Mattis’ “Mommy & Me” project. In these videos, there was always a dyad of black mothers or fathers playing with one of their children – the “target child.” Although the focus was the mother-child dyad, we still watched and coded the father-child dyad videos.
These videos were incredibly interesting and beautiful to watch because I was regularly reminded that good parenting comes in so many different forms. Even the tiniest thing like a child clinging to his/her mother when she’s leaving the room gives a researcher the indication that there’s a lot of love in that relationship. Also, as a black woman, I really love any research that involves uplifting black families and the destroying negative stereotypes about what these families behave like. These family environments are more often loving and positive than they are not and the coding of these videos will help to explain what normative positive black parenting looks like in low income predominately black communities.
To code these videos, we measured things like “Creative” under domains like “Teaching Style” and gave the parents a score from 1-3 in these certain sections — for instance, if a mother is teaching her child for most of the video and she’s teaching her child by singing songs and making playful voices, then she’d probably earn a 3 under the Creative section in the Teaching Style domain. I started off by coding 10 of these videos, just to make sure that I was familiar with the coding book that we’d be using for the summer. The coding book is what describes each domain and how each section would be measured to ensure that anyone using the coding book could become familiar with it and measure each behavior similarly.