Problem-solving discussions were observed within families of children with mental retardation and multiple comparison groups (total N = 162 families). As expected, parents were more persistent and directive with their children who had mental retardation, but they also avoided negative exchanges with these children. These patterns did not spillover to interactions with the siblings, though older siblings of young children with mental retardation engaged in frequent negative exchanges with the parents. Irrespective of disability status, child behavior problems were associated with negative parent-child interactions. Also, high levels of family cohesion and independence and low levels of enmeshment and disengagement were associated with fewer negative parent-child exchanges, though these effects were less pronounced for interactions, specifically with children who have mental retardation.