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Chapter 15 Context of Development: The Family. UNDERSTANDING THE FAMILY. Most important function is socialization Process by which children acquire the beliefs, motives, values, and behaviors considered appropriate in their society. UNDERSTANDING THE FAMILY. The Family as a Social System
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UNDERSTANDING THE FAMILY • Most important function is socialization • Process by which children acquire the beliefs, motives, values, and behaviors considered appropriate in their society
UNDERSTANDING THE FAMILY • The Family as a Social System • Parents influence children • Children influence behavior of their parents • Families are networks of reciprocal relationships • Happily married mothers are more likely to have securely attached children • Children do best when couples coparent
Figure 15.1. A model of the family as a social system. As implied in the diagram, a family is bigger than the sum of its parts. Parents affect infants, who affect each parent and the marital relationship. Of course the marital relationship may affect the parenting that the infant receives, the infant’s behavior, and so on. Clearly, families are complex social systems. FROM BELSKY, 1981.
UNDERSTANDING THE FAMILY • Families are Developing Systems • Developmental change occurs within the family system • The family changes with the development of the family members • Families are embedded within larger cultural and subcultural contexts • Affect how family functions are carried out
Table 15.1 Changing Family Systems in the United States. Data compiled from: Bengston, 2001; Cabrera, et al., 2000; Hetherington & Jodl, 1994; Hetherington et al., 1999; Meckler, 2002; U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000; 2002.
UNDERSTANDING THE FAMILY • Conclusions about Understanding Families • Nuclear family with a breadwinning father, a housewife mother, and at least 2 children is a stereotype (12% of families) • Families as social systems include dual-career, single parent, blended, and multigenerational families
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Two Major Dimensions of Parenting • Parental acceptance/responsiveness • Amount of support and affection • Associated with secure attachment • Prosocial orientation • High self-esteem • Strong sense of morality
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Parental demandingness/control • Amount of regulation or supervision • Appropriate degree of regulation is tied to parental acceptance/ responsiveness
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Four Patterns of Parenting • Authoritarian • Very restrictive, expect obedience, do not explain why limits exist • Raise children with less favorable developmental outcomes
Figure 15.2 Two major dimensions of parenting. When we cross the two dimensions, we come up with four parenting styles. BASED ON MACCOBY & MARTIN, 1983.
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Authoritative • Controlling but flexible, make reasonable demands, provide rationales for limits • Rational and democratic • Tend to raise highly competent, well-adjusted children
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Permissive • Accepting but lax, few demands, little monitoring • Raise children with less favorable developmental outcomes
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Uninvolved • Extremely lax and undemanding • May have rejected their children • May be overwhelmed and cannot devote energy to child rearing • Raise children who are aggressive, selfish, rebellious • Perform poorly in school • Are likely to abuse drugs
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Behavioral Control versus Psychological Control • Firm behavioral control tends to lead to well-behaved children • Psychological control – guilt, shame, or withholding affection • Poor developmental outcomes
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Parent Effects or Child Effects? • Parent effects model • Influences run from parent to child • Supported by research, suggests stressing “do’s” not “don’ts” • Child effects model • Children influence their parents • Also supported by research – difficult children alter caregiving
PARENTAL SOCIALIZATION DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE • Transactional model • Socialization is due to reciprocal influence • Research shows parenting influences children more than children influence parenting • Children do affect parents
SOCIAL CLASS AND ETHNIC VARIATIONS IN CHILDREARING • Social Class Differences in Child Rearing • Economically-disadvantaged and working-class parents • Stress obedience and respect for authority • Are more restrictive and authoritarian • Reason with their children less • Show less warmth and affection
SOCIAL CLASS AND ETHNIC VARIATIONS IN CHILDREARING • Differences due to • Increased psychological distress • Increased marital conflict • Loss of emotional security • Child adjustment problems • Negatively affects parenting • Also due to attributes viewed as successful in the workplace
Figure 15.3 A model of the relationships among family economic distress, patterns of parenting, and child/adolescent adjustment. ADAPTED FROM CONGER ET AL., 1992; DAVIES & CUMMINGS, 1998.
SOCIAL CLASS AND ETHNIC VARIATIONS IN CHILDREARING • Ethnic Variations in Child Rearing • Collectivistic cultures tend to stress • Maintaining close ties to relatives • Strong respect for authority • Proper and polite behaviors • Different behaviors can be interpreted differently in other cultures • Middle-class authoritative parenting may not be optimal in all situations
THE INFLUENCE OF SIBLINGS AND SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS • Changes in the Family Systems when a New Baby Arrives • Mother devotes less warm and playful attention to the older child • Child may become difficult and disruptive • Sibling rivalry often develops
THE INFLUENCE OF SIBLINGS AND SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS • Sibling Relationships Over the Course of Childhood • Fairly quick adjustment to new sibling • Conflict is normal, and declines with age • Less if parents get along • Less if parents monitor children’s activities • Less if one child is not favored
THE INFLUENCE OF SIBLINGS AND SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS • Positive Contributions of Sibling Relationships • Older siblings provide caretaking services to younger brothers/sisters • Siblings as Providers of Emotional Support • With age, protect and confide in each other
THE INFLUENCE OF SIBLINGS AND SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS • Siblings as Models and Teachers • Younger siblings learn from older siblings • Direct instruction and modeling • Older siblings improve in academic aptitude from tutoring younger siblings
THE INFLUENCE OF SIBLINGS AND SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS • Characteristics of Only Children • Relatively high in self-esteem and achievement orientation • More obedient and slightly more intellectually competent • Likely to establish good relations with peers
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Adoptive Families • Sensitivity of parents predicts attachment classifications same as for biologically related children • Adoptees do have • More learning and emotional problems • Higher rates of delinquency • Environmental incompatibilities • Abuse/neglect prior to adoption
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Adopted children fare better in adoptive homes than foster care • Transracially adopted children also do well intellectually • Open adoption – information about or ability to contact birth parents • Positive outcomes
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Donor Insemination (DI) Families • Fertile woman receiving sperm from an unknown donor • Children were as well adjusted as biological or adopted children • Mothers were warmer, more sensitive • Fathers were less involved in discipline, but as involved in other aspects of parenting
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Gay and Lesbian Families • Parents are as mentally healthy as any other type of parent • No more likely to molest their children • Children are not at risk of being stigmatized • Children are no more likely to become homosexual
Figure 15.4 Sexual orientation of adult children raised by lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and single-parent heterosexual mothers. (Notice that children with homosexual parents are just as likely to display a heterosexual orientation as children raised by heterosexuals. ADAPTED FROM BAILEY ET AL., 1995; GOLOMBOK & TASSER, 1996.
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Family Conflict and Divorce • 40-50% of marriages end in divorce • More than half of children will spend time in a single-parent home
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Before the Divorce: Exposure to Marital Conflict • Conflict produces distress • Anxiety, depression, conduct disorders • Direct effects • Indirect effects
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • After the Divorce: Crisis and Reorganization • 1 year crisis period • Both parents experience emotional and practical difficulties • Psychologically distressed individuals are not the best parents • Mothers become more coercive • Fathers tend to be permissive
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Children’s initial reactions vary as a function of gender and age • Preschool/early grade school • Visible signs of distress • May think they caused divorce • Older children • Tend to withdraw • Become involved in delinquent behavior
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Impact of divorce tends to be stronger and longer lasting for boys • May do better if father is the custodial parent • Girls may experience more covert distress, more difficult to see • Girls may become involved in early sexual behaviors
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Long Term Reactions to Divorce • Most children show healthy patterns of adjustment • May still have lingering after-effects • Perceived loss of closeness with parents • Fear own marriages will be unhappy
DIVERSITY IN FAMILY LIFE • Better for a child to be in a stable single-parent home than a conflict-ridden two-parent home • Not all divorcing families experience all of the difficulties mentioned previously