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11 Pages

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Konstantine Zakzanis

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Chapter 11: The Family Introduction  Socialization: the process by which parents and others ensure that a child’s standards of behaviour, attitudes, skills, and motives conform closely to those deemed appropriate to their role in society The Family System  It’s not uncommon for people to view socialization as a process by which parents modify children’s behaviour, but it would be more accurate to think of this phenomenon as a process of mutual shaping o That is, parents do indeed influence and direct their children, but their children also influence them and, in fact, play an active role in their own socialization  Families don’t function in isolation; they are influenced by the larger physical, cultural, social, and historical settings and events around them. The Ecological Systems Perspective  The view of the family as an interdependent system that functions as a whole has 2 principle origins: (1) the realization of psychotherapists to change the behaviour of a troubled child and usually must change the family system as well and (2) Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory o The key here is that the contexts in which children are embedded aren’t only backdrops to development, but they actually play impt roles in developmental trajectories  Recall ch. 1 which used the family system to illustrate several impt principles of dynamic systems theory o A system is complex and organized, it has an ongoing identity of its own, and that, although it maintains a certain stability over time, it must also be capable of morphogenesis, adapting to changes both within the system and outside of it  We also need to consider other principles that govern system functioning 1. Interdependency explains why the functioning of the family system isn’t always smooth - B/c each family member and family subsystem influences and influenced by each other member and subsystem, both co-operative behaviour and hostile or anti-social behaviour may have widespread effects on the system as a whole. - Parents who have good relationship w/ each other are more likely than not to be caring and supportive w/ their children and, in turn, the latter are likely to be co-operative and responsible - On the other hand, parents whose marriages are unhappy may become irritable w/ their children, and the children may exhibit anti-social behaviour that may, in turn, intensify problems in the parents’ relationships 2. Families tend to attain equilibrium or homeostasis, in their functioning and to become resistant to forces that might alter this balance - This can be useful, when routines and rituals help establish a sense of family history, identity, and tradition therefore making interactions easier and more comfortable 3. Families have boundaries that can vary in how permeable or vulnerable they are to outside influences - A well-functioning family tends to have permeable boundaries that allow members to maintain satisfying relationships both within and outside the family itself - If families are too rigidly bounded, members may have difficulty disengaging appropriately from the family- e.g. in adolescence, when starting uni, when marrying, or in the time of need The Marital System How does the Marital Relationship Affect Children?  When partners offer each other emotional and physical support and comfort, the likelihood that they will provide the same kind of support and caring to their children, is greatly increased  One study found that the amount of shared parenting engaged in by couples predicted their marital satisfaction, parental competence, and closeness to their children, although the actual division of child-care tasks was unrelated to these dimensions o Moreover, couples who share child care and household chores have more time for playful and pleasurable interactions w/ their children and increase their chances of witnessing developmental milestones, such as a child’s first step  Even when a family’s children are infants or pre-school age, conflict b/w parents has been found to reflect insecure attachments of the children to both parents  The effect of marital conflict on children can take one of two pathways: direct or indirect 1. Children may be affected by such conflict indirectly when marital difficulties cause parents to change their child-rearing practices or interact differentially w/ their children. o Parents in conflicted marriages had a poor parenting style that was characterized as cold, unresponsive, angry and deficient in providing structures and setting limits. o The children of these couples tended to display a lot of anger and non-compliance in interacting w/ their parents 2. Children may also be affected directly by marital conflict when they are actual witnesses to arguments and fights - The more frequent and violent the conflict and the more often the arguments were about the arguments were about something a child had done or said, the more likely the children were to show distress, shame, and self-blame. - Parent’s failure to resolve an angry conflict was the most likely behaviour to arouse children’s anger and caused the most displays of anger in older children  Boys are much more susceptible to the negative effects of family disharmony than are girls…why should this be so? o It seems that boys are more likely to be directly exposed to parental bickering and physical abuse than girls are o Parents quarrel more often and their quarrels are longer in the presence of their sons whereas if parents being to disagree when daughters are present, they are more likely to raise their eyebrows, nod in the direction of the child etc o Parents are simply more protective of daughters than of sons Impact of a New Baby on the Marital/Partner System  The most immediate effect- especially after the birth of a couple’s 1 child- is a shift toward a more traditional division of labour b/w husband and wide, even when the initial role arrangement was egalitarian (equal)  Despite the changes that have occurred in gender roles in recent decades, an implicit assumption seems to be that the role of the mother w/ young children is in child care and home making while the role of the father is in providing for the family  Children can influence the relationship b/w their parents in other ways o E.g. kids who are temperamentally difficult or handicapped in some way may often contribute to heightened family stress that may translate into marital conflict o Thus, although the presence of a difficult child may be enough to fragment a fragile marriage, the birth of a child rarely destroys a good marriage The Parent-Child System How Parents Socialize Children  Although socialization begins at birth, it seems to become more conscious and systematic as the child achieves greater mobility and beings to use formal language  In teaching their children social riles and roles, parents rely on several of the learning principles learned earlier o They use reinforcement when they explain acceptable standards of behaviour and hen praise or discipline their children according to whether the conform to or violate these rules o Parents also teach their children by modelling behaviours they want the child to adopt.  An impt difference b/w the 2 approaches mentioned above is that whereas parents knowingly use reinforcement techniques, observational learning may occur by chance. o As a result, the modelled behaviour may not always be what they want to produce. o E.g. suppose a child sees their moralizing parent lie about their golf score. Do you think the child will emulate their parents’ hypocritical words or their actual behaviour? o The “do as I say, not as I do” approach to socialization doesn’t work  Parents also manage aspects of their children’s environment that will influence their social development. o They choose the neighbourhoods and home in which the child lives, provide the child w/ toys and books. o They also promote the child’s social life and activities by arranging social events and enrolling the child in such activities as sports, art, music, and other social and skill-enhancement programs Dimensions of Parental Behaviour  Parenting patterns and styles tend to reflect 2 primary dimensions of behaviour Emotionality o Parents may be warm, responsive, and child-centered in their approach to their offspring or they may be rejecting, unresponsive, and essentially uninvolved w/ their children and more focused on their own needs o When the parent is warm and loving, the child is likely to want to maintain the parent’s approval and to be distressed at any prospect of losing the parents love o If the parent is cold and rejecting, the threat of withdrawal of love is unlikely to be an effective mechanisms of socialization o Physical punishment is more effective in the hands of warm parents, again probably b/c the child wants to conform to their parent’s standards o Warmth and nurturance are likely to be associated w/ parental responsiveness to the child’s needs Control o The goal of socialization is to enable the child to regulate their own behaviour and to choose socially responsible alternatives o Two types of control have been identified: behavioural and psychological control 1 Behavioural control involves setting reasonable rules and parental use of suggestions, reasoning, and possible alternative courses of action as well as monitoring of children’s activities- children are more likely to co-operate and to adopt or internalize their parents’ standards when parents use behaviour control 2 Psychological control involves the use of emotion-directed tactics such as guilt or shame induction, withdrawal of love or affection, or ignoring or discounting a child’s feelings- this type of control leads to lower self-esteem, higher anxiety, and possibly depression o As children grow older, they resist being controlled and manipulated by others, and self-reinforcement for appropriate social behaviour becomes increasingly impt Parenting Style Parenting Style Child’s Characteristics Authoritative Parent Energetic-Friendly Child  warm, involved, responsive; shows pleasure in and support  Cheerful of child’s constructive behaviour; considers child’s wishes  Self-controlled and self-reliant and solicits their opinions; offers alternatives  Purposive, achievement oriented  Sets standards, communicates them clearly and enforces  Shows interest and curiosity in novel situations them firmly, doesn’t yield to child’s coercion; shows  Has high energy level displeasure at bad behaviour; confronts disobient child  Maintains friendly relations w/ peers  Expects mature, independent, age-appropriate behaviour  Co-operates w/ adults; is tractable  Plans cultural events and joint activities  Copes well w/ stress Authoritarian Parent Conflicted-Irritable Child  Shows little warmth or positive involvement  Moody, unhappy, aimless  Does not solicit or consider child’s desires or opinions  Fearful, apprehensive; easily annoyed  Enforces rules rigidly but doesn’t explain them clearly  Passively hostile and deceitful  Shows anger and displeasure; confronts child regarding  Alternates b/w aggressive behaviour and sulky bad behaviour and uses harsh, punitive discipline withdrawal  Views child as dominated by anti-social impulses  Vulnerable to stress Permissive Parent Impulsive-Aggressive Child  Moderately warm  Aggressive, domineering, resistant, non-compliant  Glorifies free expression of impulses and desires  Quick to anger but fast to recover cheerful mood  Doesn’t communicate rules clearly or enforce them;  Lacks self-control and displays little self-reliance ignores or accepts bad behaviour; disciplines  Impulsive inconsistently; yields to coercion and whining; hides  Shows little achievement orientation impatience, anger  Aimless; has few goal-directed activities  Makes few demands for mature, independent behaviour Uninvolved Parent Neglected Child  Self-centered, generally unresponsive, neglectful  Moody, insecurely attached, impulsive, aggressive, non-  Pursues self-gratification at expense of child’s welfare compliant, irresponsible  Tries to minimize costs (time, effort) of interaction w/ child  Low self-esteem, immature, alienated from family  Fails to monitor child’s activity, whereabouts, companions  Lacks skills for social and academic pursuits  May be depressive, anxious, emotionally needy  Truancy, association w/ troubled peers, delinquency and arrests, precocious sexuality  Vulnerable to marital discord, divorce  Parent involvement plays a crucial role in the development of both social and cognitive competence in children o In infants, lack of parental involvement is associated w/ disruptions in attachment and among preschool children, poor monitoring combined w/ coercive discipline predicted conduct problems Challenges to the Parenting Style Approach  Other investigators have challenged the parenting style approach, asserting that more research is needed on several fonts o Some have suggested that we need to identify more clearly the components of each style that contribute to its relative effectiveness or ineffectiveness in respect to the child’s development o Some authorities propose giving greater attention to how much the child’s temperament and behaviour influence the parent’s style  Neighbourhoods make a different in children’s development, not only by confronting them w/ physical and social challenges that may or may not be beneficial but by determining the kinds of socialization strategies parents adopt. o E.g. although an authoritative child-rearing style may promote social and academic competence in children living in low-risk environments, it may not work The Co-Parenting System  Although parents often act separately in dealing w/ a child, mothers and fathers sometimes co-parent as a team o Co-parenting: spouses co-ordinate their child-rearing practices w/ one another, ideally working as a team. - In a family where the mother and father’s co-parenting patterns reflect warmth, co-operation, cohesion, and child- centeredness, there may be a high degree of family harmony - Parents who are hostile may actively compete against one another, and, in some cases, spouses may invest different amount of time and energy in the parenting task, leading to an imbalance b/w the amounts of involvement each parent has w/ the child - Gate-keeping another form of co-parenting in which one parent limits or controls the other parent’s level of participation- e.g. if a mother assumes that women are biologically a better fit for parenting than men, she may set up subtle barriers that limit the father’s involvement in the care of an infant The Sibling System  Most children probably spend more time in direct interaction w/ their siblings than w/ their parents or other significant people in their lives  Interactions b/w siblings provide plenty of opportunities for learning about positive and negative behaviours, and the emotional intensity of these exchanges may be greater than that of exchanges w/ other family members and friends How are Siblings Affected by Birth Order?  A child’s position in the family (first-born or later born) affects them, their siblings, their parents and the interactions among all family members st o The experience of the 1 born is unique- they are the only child who reigns supreme in the love and attention of their parents until they are displaced by the birth of their siblings w/ whom they must share their parents’ affection st o 1 -born children are generally more adult-oriented, helpful, self-controlled than their siblings and also tend to be more studious, conscientious, and serious to excel in academic and professional endeavours st  However, there is a downside to being 1 born, w/ such children tending to be more fearful and anxious than their siblings, to experience more guilt, and to have more difficulty coping w/ stressful situations o It may be that the greater expectations and demands parents typically place on their 1 -borns are responsible for some of these less-desirable characteristics  The only child has advantages over other children- especially children in families w/ 3 or more siblings- in becoming a well- adjusted adult o An only child is exposed to the same high level of parental demands as other first-borns, but doesn’t have to adapt to displacement and competition w/ siblings o In social relations both outside and inside the home, solo children seem to make more positive adjustments than children who are involved in sibling rivalry Birth Order, Parent-Child, and Sib-Sib Interactions  The parents, to a great extent, determine whether the first-born child will find seriously distressing the changes wrought by the arrival of a sibling o If a mother continues to be responsive to the needs of the older child and helps them understand the feelings of the younger child, intense sibling rivalry is unlikely to occur st o If the father becomes increasingly involved w/ his 1 -born child, this can also counter the child’s feelings and displacement and jealousy.  Do siblings themselves notice that parents treat them differently?...yes they do o Differentia parental treatment can, for a disfavoured sibling, have adverse effects such as heightened sibling rivalry and increased stress o At the same time, children’s own interpretations of differential treatment by parents may defuse such effects  Older siblings in large families are often assigned the supervisory and disciplinary roles that parents play in smaller families  Birth order also affects a child’s interactions w/ their siblings o The eldest child is often expected to assume some responsibility for the younger sibling who has displaced them  Parents are likely to restrain or punish the eldest child for showing signs of jealousy or hostility toward a younger sibling and to protect and defend the younger child o On the other hand, the eldest child is dominant and more competent and can either bully or help and teach younger offspring’s  Eldest children focus on parents as their main sources of social learning, whereas younger children use both parents and older siblings as models and teachers  Sibling relationships can change w/ age o In adolescence, early overt sibling rivalry and ambivalence may diminish and intimacy may arise in which a sibling serves as the most trusted confidant and source of emotional support The Family Unit as an Agent of Children’s Socialization: Family Stories and Rituals  We must not fail to recognize the impt role the family unit itself plays as an agent of socialization o As systems theory emphasizes, the properties, functions, and effects of the family unit cannot necessarily be inferred by analyzing only family subsystems o Families as units change across development and develop distinct styles of responding to events, and boundaries, all of which provide differing socialization contexts for the developing child  Families also develop stories and rituals-activities in which all family members share-and these help transmit family values and roles, reinforcing the uniqueness of the family as a unit o Fiese (1990) found that mothers who told stories of their own childhood that emphasized affiliative, nurturant, and playful themes engaged in more turn-taking and reciprocal interactions w/ their children o On the other hand, mothers who told stories of either achievement or rejection were less engaged and, when they interacted w/ their children, they were more intrusive and directive  In sum, stories and rituals show us that families function not just as collections of individuals but also as true systems o Just as each individual develops a unique personality, so do families develop ways of interacting that give them a unique signature or identity Social Class, Ethnicity, and Socialization  No culture is entirely homogeneous and subgroups within a culture may have their own particular values, attitudes, and beliefs as well as different problems to cope w/ Poverty and Powerlessness  Although the most obvious differences b/w the lower and middle classes are seen in the indicators of SES- income, education, and occupation-other related and pervasive features of the lives of the lower and middle classes may be more directly relevant to the socialization process (e.g. dangerous neighbourhoods, chronic stress) Economic Hardship  Powerlessness is a basic problem- the poor have less influence over the society in which they live and are less likely than members of the middle class to be treated adequately and w/ appropriate concern by social organizations o The poor receive fewer public services, and their lack of power, info, and educational and economic resources restricts the options available to them o The poor have little choice when it
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