Mothers’ attributions about children’s misbehavior were experimentally manipulated to examine causal relationships among attributions, mood, and behavior and assess whether suggestion can change mothers’ general perceptions. Forty mothers of children aged 33 to 71 months were primed with dysfunctional child-referent (child responsible) or environment-referent (situation caused) attributions before a parent-child interaction. Mothers in the dysfunctional child-referent condition placed greater responsibility on children, reported less positive mood and endorsed more overly reactive discipline, and their children displayed more negative mood and misbehavior. The experimental manipulation also affected mothers’ general child attributions. Understanding how attributions form and change has implications for parenting interventions.