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Midterm 3 Study Guide (PSC 140 Lagattuta)
THE CONTEXTS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Be familiar with the definitions of the several different types of families described in lecture. Also be
able to describe some of the risks/problems with some of these family types (if any) and the “protective”
factors that increase the chances for optimal development within these different kinds of families.
1) Nuclear family: child + biological mother and father; 2012- 20% of families are traditional nuclear
2) Single Parent: includes never married, widowed and divorced, majority headed by women
3) Extended or Multigenerational: relatives live together
4) Blended: includes stepparents or stepchildren (mother-stepfather most common; limited access to
5) Gay/Lesbian: increasing rate of this family structure; no differences from children with
heterosexual parents; relationship to extended family members may be broken; concern that
children may be stigmatized by peers
6) Adoptive: increased adoption rate (esp. foreign children); tend to have more learning and
emotional difficulties (depending age of adoption); development of ethnic identify affected by
NOTE THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE BOOK’S DEFINITION OF NUCLEAR
FAMILY AND WHAT I TOLD YOU IN LECTURE. LEARN THE DEFINITION I GAVE YOU IN
LECTURE (IT IS THE MOST COMMONLY USED DEFINITION, INCLUDING THE DICTIONARY
DEFINITION, OF NUCLEAR FAMILY): Mother, father, + biological children
Describe changes in the prevalence of nuclear families in U.S. households from 1970 to present day.
What accounts for the drop in the nuclear family?
From 1970 to present day the average nuclear families dropped from 40% to 20%, this is due to higher
rates of divorce, single parents, alternative or postmodern family arrangements, higher rates of people
never getting married and delayed childbearing or no children.
Be familiar with the percentage of children born outside of marriage to women between 20-30 years of
age (New York Times article) and how this has changed in recent years. How do the percentages vary by
mother’s race or ethnicity? How do the percentages vary by maternal education level?
More than 50% of children born to mothers under the age of 30 are born outside marriage; fasted growth
in white women since 1990 with some college but not 4-yr degree; majority of women with 4-yr degree
marry before having children; 73% of black children are born outside marriage; 53% Latino children born
outside marriage and 29% of whites.
Has the average # of children per family increased or decreased in the past 50 years? What are some
reasons for why?
The average number of children per family has decreased from 3.8 to 2.1. This is due to a greater access
to contraception, higher education level of women, delay of childbirth, higher divorce rates and higher
expense to raise children.
What are some of the causes of sibling rivalry?
Sibling rivalry occurs as they compete for resources, including attention.
*Be able to describe the RESOURCE DILUTION MODEL for the influence of multiple children on the
Parental resources become diluted with each additional child (opportunities, treatments, settings).
Children with the fewest siblings have the best educational outcomes.
How and why can birth order effect intellectual development?
Results have been mixed. First-borns outscore later-borns in intellectual development- in their earliest
years of development they did not have to share parental resources. Firstborn children also “tutor”
younger siblings (intellectual advantage).
What are some developmental effects of having no siblings?
Positive: high self-esteem, achievement oriented, more privacy, more financial resources
Negative: more pressure from parents, experience more difficulty in social relationships, and lack sibling
How do siblings and birth order relate to theory of mind development?
Having siblings is associated with higher performance on theory of mind tests in preschool years-
extending into middle childhood. Having more older siblings appears to be most beneficial. Children with
siblings outperform singletons.
Be able to clearly describe and give examples of the 4 major types of parenting styles: authoritarian,
authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved/neglectful (know how they vary on responsiveness and
demandingness). What types of behaviors/child outcomes are each of these parenting styles associated
with? Does this vary by culture/SES? If so, why and how?
1) Authoritarian: High demanding/Low responsiveness > lower social competence, seek adult help for
peer conflicts and higher rates of anger towards authority (better outcomes for African-American children
especially in low income neighborhoods; also correlated with higher academic achievement in Asian-
2) Authoritative: High demanding/High responsiveness > competent, self-controlled, curious and better
school performance (better outcomes for European-American and Hispanic-American children)
3) Permissive: Low demanding/High responsiveness > low self-control, immature (
4) Uninvolved/Neglectful: Low demanding/Low responsiveness > low social competence and poor school
Be able to describe some of the child outcomes associated with teenage motherhood. What helps children
of teenage moms remain resilient?
Children of teenage moms are often more aggressive and perform poorly in school compared to others.
They do better if they live in extended family households. This is a result of teenage moms not talking to
their babies as much, having limited financial resources, the social isolation of mothers and lower
education of mother (2/3 never complete high school)
Be able to describe some of the short and long term consequences of divorce. How are these effects
dependent in part on the gender and age of the child? What are 4 factors that make a difference in how
children handle divorce? Do most kids whose parents divorce end up doing fine or do they have
Mother headed households experience a sharp drop in income, ¾ get less child support than thy should
and ¼ get nothing; moving to a new household can be disruptive resulting in less support from family and
friends; young children may exhibit separation anxiety, blame themselves or fantasize about parents
reuniting; older children may respond positively to extra responsibility or exhibit negative behaviors like
truancy, delinquency, running away, promiscuity; girls more likely to exhibit internalizing problems and
boy externalizing problems.
Four factors: 1) Boys have more difficulty immediately especially if they live with their mothers. 2)
Children whose relationship with their father continues, do better. 3) Children whose parents behave well