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Chapter 16

Chapter 16 Summary (3).docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 16: The Family Understanding the Family  Most important function is to care and socialize their young  Socialization – the process by which children acquire the beliefs, motives, values, and behaviours deemed significant and appropriate by the older members of their society  Family is society‟s primary instrument of socialization The Family as a Social System  When developmentalists began to study socialization they focus on mother-child relationship o Assumed mother‟s were responsible for moulding child‟s conduct and character  Family is a holistic structure – interrelated parts that affect all other parts  Traditional nuclear families o Consist of wife, husband, and firstborn child o Complex entity  Happy mothers who have close supportive relationships with their husbands tend to be much more patient and sensitive to infants than mothers who experience marital attention and feel they are raising baby on their own o Infants of happily married couples tend to be securely attached  Mother indirectly influence father-infant relationship o Fathers more engaged with child when relationships with their spouses are harmonious  Coparenting – circumstances when parent‟s mutually support each other and function as cooperative parenting team o Difficult for parents experiences marital problems or other life stressors  Likely to lead to adjustment problems in children  Extended family – parents and children live with other relatives (aunt, grandparents, uncles, nieces and nephews Families are Developing Systems  They are complex, dynamic (changing) systems o Every family member is a developing individual and relationships between members can change in ways that can influence development of each family member  Ex. Parent letting toddler become more independent  Social systems approach also emphasizes all families are embedded within larger cultural and subcultural contexts and the ecological niche they belong to (ex. Family‟s religion) can affect development of children  If a family goes through hardship (ex. Financial) parents often become depressed – this in turn can lead them to be less nurturing toward and involved with their children o Those families that have close ties to a “community” – e.g. church, volunteer organization, or circle of close friends More Single Adults  More adults living as single  Not all – 90% of young adults eventually marry Active Post Postponement of Marriage  Postpone to pursue education and career goals, or cohabit prior to marriage  Average age of first marriage risen to 28.5 years for women and 30.6 years for men in 2003 Decreased Childbearing  Couples waiting longer after marriage to have children and are also having fewer children  More women also choosing not to have children  Canada has lower birth rate compared to US, Australia, France, and UK and higher compared to Germany, Spain and Japan More Women Employed  On one Canadian survey, ~58% of women reported working FT in year 2004 o 14% of women that work FT and 56% who work PT have a child 16 years or younger at home More Divorces  Based on 2003 data, more than 1/3 of marriages expected to end in divorce More Single-Parent Families  Single parent families – family system consisting of one parent and dependent children o Most often mothers raising children (81%) More Children Living in Poverty  Majority of low-income families in Canada are headed by single female parents More Remarriages  Because more couples are divorcing, many are remarrying, forming blended (reconstituted) families  Nuclear family becoming the „stereotype‟ – represented 50% of American families in 1960, and only 12% in 1995 Parental Socialization during Childhood and Adolescence Two Major Dimensions of Parenting  Acceptance/responsiveness o Amount of support and affection a parent displays (smile, praise, encouragement) o Great deal of warmth – can be critical if child misbehaves o Less accepting/unresponsive parents are more quick to criticize, belittle, punish or ignore a child – rarely communicate loved or valued  Demandingness/control o Amount of regulation or supervision parents undertake with children o Place limits of children‟s freedom of expression by posing many demands – actively monitor to be sure rules are met o Less controlling/demanding parents enforce less rules and allow children freedom to pursue own interests Four Patterns of Parenting  Authoritarian o Very restrictive patterns of parenting – many rules, expect strict obedience, rarely explain rules to child o Rely on punitive, forceful tactics (power assertion or love withdrawal) to gain compliance o Not sensitive to child‟s differing viewpoint  Authoritative o Flexible parenting where parents make reasonable demands on children o Provide rationales to complying with limits they set out o More accepting of child‟s point of view o Associated with positive social, emotional, and intellectual outcomes in child  Permissive o Ask relatively few demands and permit child to freely express feelings and impulses o Do not closely monitor activities  Uninvolved o Have either rejected children or are so overwhelmed with own stressed that they haven‟t much time or energy to devote to child rearing o Uninvolved and insensitive to child‟s needs Behavioural Control vs. Psychological Control  Behavioural control – regulating child‟s conduct through firm but reasonable discipline and monitoring his or hers activities (ex. Withholding privileges, grounding, taking away toys) o More positive outcomes for child – well behaved, generally stay out of trouble  Psychological control – attempts to influence child‟s behaviour by withholding affection or inducing shame/guilt o Heavy use of psychological control result in poor developmental outcomes – anxiety, depression Parent Effects or Child Effects?  Social Developmentalists long guided by parent-effects model – assumes influences in families run one way (parent to child)  On the other hand, a child-effects model of family influence claim child have major influence on parents  A study showed:  Most developmentalists prefer the transactional model of family influence – parent and child influence each other reciprocally Social Class and Ethnic Variations in Child Rearing  People from different SES and ethnic backgrounds face different kinds of problems and hold different values on what it takes to adapt to environment Social Class Differences in Child Rearing  Compared to middle class parents, economically disadvantaged and working class parents tend to: o Stress obedience and respect for authority o Be more restrictive and authoritarian – use more power-assertive discipline o Reason with children less frequently o Show less warmth and affection  According to Eleanor Maccoby o Class linked differences seen in many cultures and ethnic/racial groups o Important to note these are group trends rather than absolute contrasts (middle class parents can still be highly restrictive and power-assertive Ethnic Variations in Child Rearing  Different ethnic groups may hold distinct child – rearing beliefs that are products of their cultural backgrounds o Ex. Aboriginal and Hispanic parents (cultural backgrounds more collectivists) stress communal rather than individual goals. Also insist children display calm, proper polite behaviours and strong respect for authority  Asian and Asian American parents stress self-discipline and interpersonal harmony The Quest for Autonomy: Renegotiating the Parent-Child Relationship during Adolescence  One of the most important tasks that adolescents face is to achieve mature and healthy sense of autonomy – capacity to make decisions independently, and manage own life‟s tasks without depending on other‟s for assistance  Researchers believe the most adaptive route to autonomy is to separate from parents by cutting emotional cords The Influence of Siblings and Sibling Relationships  Rivalries common between siblings however siblings can provide positive roles in a child‟s life Changes in the Family System When a New Baby Arrives  After new baby arrives, mother devotes less warm and playful attention to older child o Other child may respond to perceived “neglect” by becoming difficult and disruptive and less securely attached o Particularly likely if older child is 2 years of age or older  Sibling rivalry – spirit of competition, jealousy, and resentment that may arise between two or more siblings o Begins as soon as younger sibling arrives  Parents advised to continue to provide love and affection to older child and encourage older child to be aware of baby‟s needs Sibling Relationships over the Course of Childhood  Most older siblings adjust quickly to having new sibling but conflict between siblings is normal o John Dunn reports number of skirmishes between young siblings can range as high as 56 per hour  Rivalrous conduct typically declines with age  Siblings much more likely to get along if parents get along o Marital conflict good predictor of jealousy and antagonistic sibling interactions o Especially true if older sibling has a insecure relationship with either or both parents and parents rely on power-assertive discipline  Conflicts provide a way for siblings to engage in constructive problem solving to resolve disagreements  Sibling relationships less conflictual if parents respond warmly and sensitively to ALL children o Younger siblings particularly sensitive to unequal treatment Positive Contributions of Sibling Relationships  One important contribution is older sibling can provide caretaking services for younger siblings o Survey of childrearing in 186 societies found older children were principle caregivers in 57% of groups studies o Girls most common to be caregivers Siblings as Providers of Emotional Support  So infants become attached to older siblings and view them as providers of security? o Study by Robert Stewart “strange situation” showed:  Infants that were left alone in a room with a 4-year old sibling were more inclined t
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