Chapter 16 - The Family
Socialization: The process by which children acquire the beliefs, values, and behaviors
considered desirable or appropriate by their culture or subculture.
The Family as a Social System
- The complex network of relationships, interactions, and patterns of influence that
characterizes a family with three or more members.
- By one definition, family is “two or more persons related by birth, marriage, adoption, or
choice” who have emotional ties and responsibilities to each other.
- Mothers are the agents that mold children’s conduct and character. Now rejected
- Parents both influence their children.
- Children influence the behavior and child-rearing practices of their parents.
- Families are complex social systems, networks of reciprocal relationships and alliances that
are constantly evolving and are greatly affected by community and cultural influences.
- Family is a holistic structure consists of interrelated parts, each of which affects and is
affected by every other part. Each part contributes to the functioning of the whole.
- Traditional nuclear families: A family unit consisting of a wife/mother, a husband/father
and their dependent child or children.
- Coparenting: Circumstance in which parents mutually support each other and function as a
cooperative parenting team. Results in a securely attached child
- Children also exert effects on their parents.
- Extended family: A group of blood relatives from more than one nuclear family (ex.
grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews) who live together, forming a household.
Families are Developing Systems
- Dynamic systems
- Ecological niche that a family occupies can also affect family interactions (ex. religion,
- During the last 20 century, several dramatic social changes affected the makeup of typical
o More single adults
o Later marriage to pursue educational or career goals.
o Decreased childbearing
o More women are employed
o More divorces
o More single-parent families single-parent family
o More children living in poverty
o More remarriages blended (reconstituted families)
Parental Socialization during Childhood and Adolescence
Two Major Dimensions of Parenting
- Acceptance/responsiveness: A dimension of parenting that describes the amount of
responsiveness and affection that a parent displays toward a child.
- Warmth, smile, praise, encourage their children.
1 - Demandingness/control: A dimension of parenting that describes how restrictive and
demanding parents are.
- Place limits on the children’s freedom of expressions by imposing demands. Ensure that rules
4 patterns of parenting
Authoritarian parenting: A restrictive pattern of parenting in which adults set many rules for
their children, expect strict obedience, and rely on power rather than reason to elicit compliance.
- Not sensitive to a child’s differing viewpoints
- Children not doing so well, moody, unhappy, easily annoyed, unfriendly, not very pleasant to
Authoritative parenting: Flexible, democratic style of parenting in which warm, accepting
parents provide guidance and control while allowing the child some say in deciding how best to
meet challenges and obligations.
- Much more responsive to their children’s point of views.
- Seek children’s participation in family decision making
- Children develop well, cheerful, socially responsible, self-reliant, achievement oriented,
Permissive parenting: A pattern of parenting in which otherwise accepting adults make few
demands of their children and rarely attempt to control their behavior.
- Children were impulsive and aggressive, bossy, self-centered, lacking self-control, low in
independence and achievement.
Uninvolved parenting: A pattern of parenting that is both aloof (or even hostile) and
overpermissive, almost as if parents cared neither about their children nor about what they want
- Seem to reject their children or are so overwhelmed with their own stresses and problems
that they haven’t had much time or energy to devote to child rearing
- By age 3, children are aggressive temper tantrums, disruptive and do poorly in school.
- Hostile, selfish, rebellious adolescents, prone to trying dugs and alcohol
Behavioral Control vs. Psychological Control
- Behavioral control: Attempts to regulate a child’s or an adolescent’s conduct through firm
discipline and monitoring of his or her conduct. (Ex. withholding privileges, grounding,
taking away toys for misbehavior)
- Psychological control: Attempts to influence a child or adolescent’s behavior by such
psychological means as withholding affection or inducing shame or guilt. (Ex. withholding
affection, or inducing shame or guilt)
Parent Effects or Child Effects
Parent-effects model: Model of family influence in which parents (particularly mothers) are
believed to influence their children rather than vice versa.
Child-effects model: Model of family influence in which children are believed to influence their
parents rather than vice versa.
2 Transactional model: Model of family influence in which parent and child are believed to
influence each other reciprocally.
Social Class and Ethnic Variations in Child Rearing
Social Class Differences in Child Rearing
- Economically and working-class parents tend to stress obedience and respect for authority
- Be more restrictive and less authoritarian, using more power-assertive discipline
- Reason with their children less frequently, and show less warmth and affection
- Due to the hardships of their life condition makes parents more edgy and irritable
- Tend to become depressed which increases marital conflicts
Ethnic Variations in Child Rearing
- Aboriginal and Hispanic parents are more collectivistic and stress communal rather than
individual goals, are more inclined than European American parents to maintain close ties to
a variety of relatives.
- Insist that their children display calm, proper and polite behaviors and a strong respect for
The Quest for Autonomy: Renegotiating the Parent-Child Relationship during Adolescence
Autonomy: Capacity to make decisions independently, serve as one’s own source of emotional
strength, and otherwise manage life tasks without depending on others for assistance; an
important developmental task of adolescence.
- Authoritative approach from parents is the best way to slowly let the children go
The Influence of Siblings and Sibling Relationships
Changes in the family system when a new baby arrives
- After a new baby arrives, mothers typically devote less warm and playful attention to their
- Worst with older children resent losing their mother’s attention over the new baby
- Sibling rivalry: Spirit of competition, jealousy, and resentment that may arise between two
or more siblings.
Sibling relationships over the course of childhood
- Siblings are more likely to get along if the parents get along
- Sibling relationships are friendlier if parents make an effort to monitor their children’s
- Conflicts aren’