Chapter 15 – Families and Peers
Theories of Socialization
Evolutionary Approaches: Ethnologists believe that evolution provided infants with
characteristics, both physical and behavioural – to promote survival.
1) Parents are especially likely to engage in caregiving practices that promote the
development of their children, because doing so serves to perpetuate their genes.
2) Evolution has provided males and females with somewhat different priorities with
regards to mating and subsequent childcare.
a. Parental investment theory: females have considerably more investment in
the survival and well bring of their offspring than to males.
Ethnologists contend that there is an innate underpinning to many of the behaviours that
children direct toward their peers, experience is necessary for their emergence.
Dominance hierarchy in children – evident on the playground, summer camps.
PARENTAL AND PEER RELATIONS ARE INNATE AND REFELCT THE
EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY OF THE SPECIES.
Environmental/Learning Approaches: To identify basic learning principles that applies
across a range of situations, age groups, and types of behaviour.
Parents may sometimes unintentionally strengthen behaviour that they do not wish to
promote (e.g. Patterson’s work on coercive processes – aggression)
Bandura’s work: reinforcement, punishment are joined by observational learning that
results from exposure to a model (as means of socialization)
Aggression: large amount of physical punishments from parents associated with
heightened aggression in children (result of modeling)
Peers contribute to the development of self-efficacy – children’s conceptions of which
behaviours they are capable of performing. (Peers = natural comparison group)
The behaviours that peers model and reinforce may differ from the behaviours that adults
try to promote.
PARENTS AND PEERS CAN INFLUENCE CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT BY
REINFORCING, PUNISHING AND MODELING
Cognitive-Developmental Approaches: Bandura’s social-learning theory places more
emphasis on cognition.
Beliefs of parents on children do relate to parental behaviour (e.g. belief of learning
through self discovery associated with non directive, child-oriented teaching methods)
Children try to make sense of both parent’s positions and their own eventual behaviour
when it comes to adhering (or not) to directives.
INTERACTIONS WITH PARENTS AND PEERS ARE CRUCIAL TO COGNITIVE
Sociocultural Approaches: Development is always embedded within and is inseparable
from a sociocultural context. (Development = socialization)
Peers transmit knowledge/skills from a more expert peer to a less expert peer
Brofenbrenner (mesosystem): the importance of the way different microsystems (family,
peers, school) relate to one another.
1 PARENTS AND PEERS NURTURE DEVELOPMENT WHEN THEY PROVIDE
EXPERIENCES THAT ARE WITHIN THE CHILD’S ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEV
Socialization Within the Family
- Parental warmth: a dimension of parenting that reflects the amount of support,
affection, and encouragement the parent provides to the child
- Parental control: a dimension of parenting, that reflects the degree to which the
child is monitored, disciplined and regulated.
- Authoritative parenting: firm control in the context of a warm and supportive
- Authoritarian parenting: firm control in the context of a cold and demanding
- Permissive parenting: low levels of control in the context of a warm and
- Uninvolved/Disengaged parenting: low levels of both control and warmth
Authoritarian parenting can be beneficial for some children’s development (most popular
in Chinese families, or families in dangerous neighbourhoods
Children have effects on socialization – their personalities affect the type of discipline
used on them (parenting), but it does not mean that child and parent equally affect the
way the child behaves.
The Family as a System
Relation to Siblings
80 percent of children have siblings (Canada, USA, Europe), most spend more time with
their siblings than parents
6 percent of North American families have four or more children
Proximity of siblings can be both positive or negative (quality of relationship) can create
mutual support or conflict
Siblings get along best when they both have the same temperament
Sibling rivalry: feelings of competition resent and jealousy that can arise between siblings
- Such conflict is a normal part of sibling relationships, and is useful in teaching
children conflict-resolution skills
Grandparents and Other Family Members
12 percent of half a million families have grandparent as the only caregiver
Grandparents are a source of emotional and financial support for the parents, and they
mentor, babysit or substitute parents for the grandparents
When one parent is absent, the role of grandparents increases, closeness
Extended family: a family unit that consists not only of parents and children, but also of
at least one and sometimes several other adult relatives.
More than 38 percent of marriage end in divorce (Canada)
Most kids are able to adapt to the new circumstances
Divorce is a better alternative than staying in an unhappy marriage where there is
First year after divorce a time of heightened anxiety, depression and parent-child conflict.
2 Boys are more affected by girls by divorce, in terms of overt effects such as increase
aggression and defiant behaviour. Girls more internalized effects: sadness/self blame
Mother’s parenting practices become harsher and less consistent after the divorce, but if
their able to maintain an authoritarian parenting style child is more likely to adapt
positively to the divorce.
Children living with each parent equally only occurs around 12 percent of time
Half of Canadian dads maintain regular contact with children, 19 no direct contact
Fathers who establish close connection to children in period after separation are likely to
remain closely involved, emotionally and financially as they grow up.
75 percent of divorced parents eventually remarry
Blended family: a new family unit resulting from remarriage that consists of parents and
children from previously separate families.
Boys are more likely to adjust favourably to a stepfather, because they perceive less of a
threat to their relationship to their mother than do girls.
Positive effects on family life and children’s development are evident when stepparents
are involved with the children
Stepparents are on average have less skill and less involved than parents in general
15.9 percent of Canadian families are single parents (not remarried). Adolescent mothers
are among the disadvantaged.
79 percent of teen mothers aren’t married.
With supportive families and a positive attitude towards education was important to be a
successful single parent.
Another single parent is professional mothers – single mothers by choice (SMC) = in
their 30s/40s upper-middle socio-economic status.
Children raised by SMC may not face the same developmental risks as children in single
parent homes created through divorce or teen parenthood.
In USA 2-4 percent of children are adopted, adoptions from other countries have become
Those who are older at time of the adoption, or those who had adverse experiences
(abuse, neglect) and boys all show higher risk of adjustment/behavioural probs
Gay and Lesbian Parenthood
Children raised by them develop just as do children part of heterosexual parents
Desire and ability to parent effectively may be more important contributor to parenting
than sexual orientation
Adolescents raised by lesbian mothers are not more likely to identify themselves as same-
sex sexual orientated than are young adults in general.
Socialization by Peers
3 If children are together in infancy, it is
because adults placed them together
Infants as young as 6 months look at,
vocalize to, smile at, and touch other
Toys are important context for
interaction throughout infancy (object-
Cognitive level of child’s play is higher when peer are present
Children are more skilled at adjusting communication to different needs of different
Research concentrates on children’s play. Classify in categories that vary from cognitive
complexity of play, from simple motor exercise play to play with rules
Functional play emerges early and predominates during the infant and toddler years, and
then games with rules emerge among grade-school age.
Pretend play: a form of play in
which children uses an object or
person as a symbol to stand for
Play can also be organized
according to social organization
(see Table 15.3 p588)
Parallel play: a form of play in
which children play next to each
other and with similar materials
but with no real interaction or
Later Childhood and Adolescence
The more extensive peer experience, the more positive and skilled peer play
Groups are important as peer interactions: a collection of individuals who interact
regularly in a consistent structured fashion and who share values and a sense of belonging
to the group.
- See “we vs. they” in elementary school
Clique: a kind of group typical in adolescence consisting usually of 5 to 10 members
whose shared interests and behaviour patterns set them apart from their peers.
-Similar in family background, values and attitudes
Crowds: large loosely organized groups that serve to structure social identity in high
Robbers Cave experiment (young boys at camp) proves that it’s clear that children form
groups based on interest and common goals (group cohesiveness) and competition with
another group is another source.
Perspective taking: ability to adopt the perspective (views) of another, to figure out how
someone else feels, thinks, wishes… = easier interaction with others
4 Social cognition: level of through used by a child in reference to others
Social problem-solving skills: skills need to resolve social dilemmas
As children can do more things cognitively, they can do more socially
The aspects of peer relations that have been found to relate to cognitive development
include play, prosocial behaviour, and aggression.
Processes of Peer Influences
The impact of peer influence on behaviour can vary with time, area of life and the child.
Time: peer influence peaks in adolescence and declines thereafter
Areas of life: peers = important for clothing and music, parents = academic planning and
Child: some are more resistant to peer influence while others are sensitive.
Process of social learning through modeling what other peers do. (Compliance to adult
instruction, sharing, social participation and problem solving)
Children learn different reinforcers (praise, smiling/laughing) and punishment through
peers (blaming, ignoring)
Peer influence varies with age, reaching a peak in early adolescence and declines after
Peers negative influence drinking, smoking, drug use, bullying, delinquency, and gang
Friendship: an enduring relationship between two individuals characterized by loyalty,
intimacy, and mutual affection
Determinants of friendship – factor similarity, popularity, high socio-economic status.
Similarity in age, gender, racial/ethnic background are important
Behavioural homophily: similarity between peers in behaviours and interests. Such
similarity is one determinant of friendship selection
*Goffman research which random children would become friends? Most successful
when established a common-ground activity, showed greater communication clarity and
were more successful in exchanging information. Skilled at resolving conflict and were
able to engage in self-disclosure
*Prosocial behaviour more seen towards friends than peers in general
*Conflict occurs most often amongst friends because they spend so much time together.
*Intimacy within friendship becomes important later in childhood (6 grade), but
emerges much earlier (preschool years)
Caucasian girls are more intimate than boys, but Hispanic and Black boys express high
intimacy when it comes to self-disclosure, sharing money & mutual protection
Children’s success in a peer group affects self-esteem (friendship quality)
Social support: Resources (both tangible and intangible) provided by other people in
times of uncertainty or stress
Emotional, instrumental, informational and companionship support are important for
*Sociometric techniques: procedures for assessing children’s social status based on
evaluations by the peer group. May involve ratings in degree of liking or nominations of
liked or disliked peers. (nomination, rating scale and pared comparison techniques)
Children who are identified by their peers as well liked also tend to be the ones the
teachers chose as popular
Unattractive children social problems lie in their behaviour. Popular kids are skilled at
initiating interactions, maintaining interactions, and resolving conflict.
5 *Rejected child: receives few positive and many negative nominations in sociometric
assessments by peers. Such children seen to be disliked by the peer group
*Neglected child: receives few nominations of any sort, positive or negative, ignored by
*Controversial child: receives both many positive and negative, and many negative
nominations in sociometric assessments by peers.
*Determinants of popularity: birth order (last born), intellectual ability (+), & physical
Social withdrawal: self-imposed isolation from the peer group
Resilient children: children who adapt positively and develop well despite early
Chapter 16 – Gender-Role Development and Sex Differences
Sexual differentiation: The biological process through which physical differences
between sexes emerge.
Gender role: A pattern or set of behaviours conside