Chapter 6.docx

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University of Guelph
Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1020
Tuuli Kukkonen

COUPLE & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: CHAPTER 6 1 Socialization in the Life Cycle  Socialization is the process of passing on to new members a culture’s way of thinking and acting  It occurs mainly in childhood  Parents and children shape one another through their interaction  As children, we learn rules for behaviour  As young people, we learn how to behave in school and college, what is expected on the job  Socialization is a cradle-to-grave process  Learning can occur through explicit instruction but occurs most often through the assumptions by which people treat children and adults, and through observation of other’s behaviour  Individuals develop a sense of their identity, status, and roles in society including other family members  This circle expands to other people like babysitters, children, school, television, etc.  Structural-functional thinkers are interested in how transmission of cultural norms ensures stability of both families and society  Conflict theorists and feminists look at the way inequities in society are maintained from one generation to the next  Some take a micro perspective, looking at how family relationships shape individual experiences  Symbolic-interactionists – this shaping occurs through day-to-day interactions among members  Systems theorists – emphasize family subsystems and boundaries in shaping children The Socialization Smorgasbord  Children are presented with a variety of experiences out of which they form individual identities and value systems  The child participates actively in the process  The levels of physical maturation, intellectual development, and social experiences help determine whether a child can understand and comply with socially approved behaviour  If a child can’t “read” social cues, they can’t respond appropriately  The child’s developmental stage also affects the ability to profit from experiences What are Children Worth?  How we socialize children reflects what we expect of their future and the value we place on them  If we value the closeness and love children bring to parents, we will emphasize their emotional development and sensitivity  In Canada’s early years, children were often employed  20 century saw the arrival of the economically worthless but emotionally priceless child, who was expected to provide emotional satisfaction for the parents  Used scientific explanations to explain children’s behaviour  Experts’ theories were based on observing middle class white children  Professionals visited poor and minority families, ensuring that only the deserving poor received help  If childcare methods did not conform to “scientific” standards, families were given unwanted advice  If they didn’t comply, they could lose their children  Dionne quintuplets – children were separated from their parents and raised according to the best standards of experts in Toronto  The children were eventually returned but there was a gulf between their early socialization and the family’s values and customs  Childhood came to be regarded as a special time, different from adulthood  Children attended school regularly to help provide a skilled and educated labour force  Children became segregated by age  Governments were pressured to protect them from exploitation Parents – the First Socializers  Parents directly influence their children both by who they are and through day- to-day interaction  Exert indirect control over much of their children’s environment Family Structure  The number, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, and age of the child’s parent figures shape the child  The trend is that adults who give care may not be their biological parents  A significant number have one caregiver  Children have different socializing experiences when they grow up in a two- parent, one-parent, and stepfamily household  Census data does not show the changes that families go through How well are Children Doing?  Children living with both biological parents married to each other do best  Adoptees with married parents come a close second  Children have more difficulties if they grow up with never-married, divorced, or remarried parents  Children in cohabiting families, where either both parents are biological or one is a stepparent, also tend to have more problems  Children living with neither biological parent have the most difficulties COUPLE & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: CHAPTER 6 3  Children with lesbian parents do at least as well as those in single-parent families  Most children in non-traditional families grow up without major problems What Accounts for Differences in Child Well-being?  No single explanation accounts for differences among families  Being male brings risk in childhood – more die in infancy, more delinquent, more vulnerable to life changes  Children who experience conflict between parents also fare poorly  Children do better when high-conflict parents separate  Wellbeing is partly related to conflict levels within the family and partly to the mother’s psychological health  Adoptive parents have difficulty believing that they are entitled to be parents to their adopted child  Some are strict because they try to be extra-good parents, others are permissive because they fear they will lose their child’s love  Divorced parents tend to spend less time with their children  They tend to have fewer rules but harsher discipline  Children mourn separation from their parents  Can result in acting out  If there are many separations, they may fear becoming attached again  Single parenthood, divorce, and separation often mean a loss of income  Families may be forced to move away from social supports  Home and school environments with warmth and clear rules help children flourish  So does a parenting style that is warm and structured, while allowing for the child’s individuality Parent’s Age Adolescent Mothers  Children of adolescent mothers are at risk for developmental problems  Babies are more likely to be premature  Lack the financial and social resources to overcome the physical disadvantages  Some grandparents are helpful and understanding, in other cases there may be disagreements over who should take care of the child  If the mother moves out, her baby loses a parent figure  Teens living in romantic relationships are less harsh with their children “Late” Parents  Delayed childbearing increased most for university graduates  These women are more likely to be in stable marriages and to be employed  Their children have the advantages of a stable home, favourable income, and neighborhood and environment  Likelier to use reproductive technologies  Older fathers are less physically active, but are more likely to spend time reading and playing pretend  Can provide enriching experiences  Children may fear their parents will die Day-to-Day Interaction Parenting Style  Authoritarian parents are demanding but unresponsive to their children  Strong on obligations and responsibilities but weak on recognizing their child’s individuality or their need to learn and make decisions  Some rely on discipline such as scolding and yelling, or physically punish their children, which leads to aggressive behaviour in children  Children tend to become submissive or rebellious  Permissive parents respond readily to their children but demand little of them  Do not set limits or assign responsibilities  Often act more like friends than parents  Children are more likely to exhibit problem behaviour and not perform well in school  May have aimless and disappointing adult lives  Authoritative parents have high expectations but are aware of their children’s needs and are willing to adjust to their demands  Children are often described as achievers, and as competent and friendly  Regardless of family structure, high standards for behaviour and monitoring of children’s activities, combined with warm supportiveness and avoidance of harsh punishment, result in the most positive child well-being  Uninvolved parents are low in both responsiveness and the demands they place on their children  They are cold, distant, hostile  These children become socially aggressive  Children are more likely to have poor academic performance and weak social skills Family Atmosphere  The amount of conflict between parents and teenagers is related to parent’s warmth and supportiveness  If they are hostile and authoritarian, the conflict escalates  If they are supportive, family relations improve over the teen years  Conflict between parents increases the risk that the child will have adjustment problems COUPLE & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: CHAPTER 6 5  Children are more likely to blame themselves for their parent’s problems than those whose parents use constructive tactics  Parents with high conflict levels are more likely to use harsh discipline, less likely to be involved with their children Family Routines, Rituals, and Traditions  Routines involve little conscious thought and often occur daily o Bedtime routines o Using dinner time to teach manners  Rituals tell families “this is who we are”  Rituals that occur less frequently around some particular event like Thanksgiving are called traditions  Traditions can also be a source of conflict between generations or between ex- partners  Events that are remembered and retold often encourage family values  Families where both parents are working full time still spend as much time parenting Parents’ Education and Employment  Parents in occupations requiring a higher education are more likely to be employed and have fewer periods of unemployment  Canadian children in affluent neighborhoods score higher on tests of school readiness than children living in poorer areas  Children from poorer families have less success in school than children from wealthier families  Parents with higher education tend to encourage learning and provide more resources  Later school performance is related to early experiences with books  Young children with working mothers showed less hyperactivity, more pro- social behaviour, and less anxiety Ethnic and Racial Groups How Different are English Canadians and French Canadians from One Another?  The families are more alike than different  English-speaking Montrealers encouraged their children to be more independent in solving problems than French speaking Montrealers  Anglophones tended to restrict their children’s contact with friends and to treat them more harshly  French Canadians encouraged in-group ties, or ties with their own social group and family group, and tried to develop their children’s reliance on the extended family  Outside Quebec, 79% of children with English and French speaking parents learned English first  In Quebec, 49% of children with French and English speaking parents learned French first, 34% learned English first, and 17% learned both  Quebec parents are less likely to spank their children than parents elsewhere Aboriginal Families  They share a common value: the interdependence of all life and a strong sense of spirituality  Traditional Aboriginal societies recognize the basic family unit of parents and children living together  Family also includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins  Children are valued members of society  1890s – 1970s, children were removed and placed in residential schools to erase their Aboriginal language and culture  Welfare dependency became the only way of survival for many families  2006 – the
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