Chapter 14 Summary and Key Terms
ORIGINSAND FUNCTIONS OFTHE FAMILY
Discuss evolutionary origins of the family, and cite functions contemporary families perform for society.
The family unit of our evolutionary ancestors enhanced survival by ensuring a relatively even balance of male hunters and female gatherers within a social group. Larger kin
networks increased the chances of successful competition with other humans for resources and provided assistance with child rearing.
Though contemporary families share some functions with other institutions, they retain primary responsibility for reproduction, socialization, and emotional support.
THE FAMILYASA SOCIALSYSTEM
Describe the social systems perspective on family functioning.
Contemporary researchers view the family from a social systems perspective —as a complex set of interacting relationships influenced by the larger social context. Family
members mutually influence one another, both directly and indirectly. Effective co-parenting depends on cooperation between parents. Connections to the community,
through both formal organizations and informal social networks, provide social support that promotes effective family interaction and children’s development.
SOCIALIZATION WITHIN THE FAMILY
Discuss child-rearing styles, and explain how effective parents adapt child rearing to children’s growing competence.
Three features differentiate major childrearing styles: (1) acceptance and involvement; (2) behavioral control; and (3) autonomy granting. The authoritative child-rearing
style involves high acceptance and involvement, adaptive control techniques, and appropriate autonomy granting. It promotes cognitive, emotional, and social competence
from early childhood into adolescence in children of diverse temperaments. Over time, the authoritative style creates a positive emotional context for parental influence as
the relationship between parenting and children’s attributes becomes increasingly bidirectional.
The authoritarian child-rearing style is low in acceptance and involvement, high in coercive behavioral and psychological control, and low in autonomy granting. It is
associated with anxious, withdrawn, dependent child behavior and with high rates of anger, defiance, and aggression. The permissive childrearing style is high in acceptance,
low in behavioral control, and lax in autonomy granting. Children reared permissively are typically impulsive, disobedient, rebellious, demanding, and dependent. The
uninvolved child-rearing style combines low acceptance and involvement with little behavioral control and indifference to autonomy issues.At its extreme, it constitutes
neglect, disrupting virtually all aspects of development.
In middle childhood, effective parents engage in coregulation, exerting general oversight over children, who increasingly make their own decisions. During adolescence,
mature autonomy is fostered by parenting that strikes a balance between connection and separation.
Describe socioeconomic and ethnic variations in child rearing, including the impact of affluence and poverty.
Although the authoritative style predicts favorable development in children varying widely in SES and culture, SES and ethnic differences in parenting exist. Higher-SES
parents are more verbal and stimulating, relying more on warmth and explanations; low-SES parents use more commands, criticism, and coercive discipline.
The constant stressors linked to poverty result in less involved child rearing. Daily hassles, hostile family interactions, and depleted home learning environments negatively
affect children’s cognitive and emotional well-being.
By adolescence, children of affluent parents often have academic, emotional, and substance abuse problems. Excessive achievement pressures and emotional isolation from
parents underlie their difficulties.
Chinese, Hispanic,Asian Pacific Island, and low-SES African-American parents tend to be controlling, which can be adaptive when combined with warmth. But excessive
control impairs children’s adjustment.
Extended-family households are common among ethnic minorities and help protect children from the stress and disorganization of poverty.
FAMILY LIFESTYLES AND TRANSITIONS
Describe the influence of family size on child rearing, and explain how sibling relationships affect development.
Contrary to a widespread assumption, larger family size does not reduce life chances or intelligence. Rather, the link between family size and children’s IQ reflects the fact
that mothers with low IQs tend to bear more children.
Despite declining family size, most children grow up with at least one sibling. Because of their frequency and emotional intensity, sibling interactions are unique contexts for
expanding social competence. Sibling rivalry tends to increase in middle childhood, when parental comparisons become more frequent. In adolescence, sibling relationships
often become less intense as teenagers strive for autonomy, but attachment to siblings typically remains strong.
Only children are as well-adjusted as children with siblings, and they are advantaged in self-esteem, academic achievement, and educational attainment.
How do children fare in adoptive, gay and lesbian, and never-married single-parent families?
Adopted children tend to have more learning and emotional difficulties than other children, and by adolescence, their lives are often complicated by unresolved curiosity
about their roots. By adulthood, however, most adoptees are well-adjusted.
Gay and lesbian parents are as committed to and effective at child rearing as heterosexual parents. Their children are similar to other children in mental health, peer relations,
gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation. During adolescence, more youths from homosexual families experiment with partners of both sexes.
Never-married parenthood generally increases economic hardship for low-SES women. Children of never-married mothers who lack a father’s warmth and