Chapter 11: The Family
Understanding the Family
Socialization: to the process by which children acquire the beliefs, motives,
values, and behaviours deemed significant and appropriate by older
members of their society.
The Family as a Social System
Family: two or more person related by birth, marriage, adoption or choice
who have emotional ties and responsibilities to each other.
Social systems: networks of reciprocal relationships and alliances that are
constantly evolving and are greatly affected by community and cultural
Direct and Indirect Influences
Traditional nuclear family: a family unit consisting of a wife/ mother, a
husband/father, and their dependent child (ren).
Direct effect: instances in which any pair of family members affects and is
affected by each other’s behavior.
Indirect, or third party, effect: instances in which the relationship between
two individuals in a family is modified by the behavior or attitudes of a third
Co-parenting: circumstance in which parents mutually support each other
and function as a cooperative parenting team.
Extended family: a group of blood relatives from more than one nuclear
family (for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews) who
live together, forming a household.
Families are Developing Systems
So the family is not only a system in which developmental change takes
place; its dynamics also change with development of its members.
Families are Embedded Systems
And yet economically distressed parents who have close ties to a
“community”—a church group, a volunteer organization, or a circle of close
friends and other confidants—experience far less stress and less disruption
of their parenting routines
Changing Family Systems in a Changing World More single adults, postponed marriages, decreased childbearing, more
women are employed, more divorce, more single-parent families, more
children living in poverty, more remarriage, and more multigeneration
Single-parent family: a family system consisting of one parent and the
parent’s dependent child (ren).
Blended (or reconstituted) families: new families resulting from
cohabitation or remarriage that include a parent, one or more children, and
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.
Demandingness/control: a dimension of parenting that describes how
restrictive and demanding parents are.
Four Patterns of Parenting
Baumrind’s Early Research
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.
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.
Permissive parenting: a pattern of parenting in which otherwise accepting
adults make few demands of their children and rarely attempt to control
Compared to teenagers raised by either permissive or authoritarian parents,
those raised by authoritative parents were relatively confident, achievement
oriented, and socially skilled, and they tended to stay clear of drug use and
other problem behaviors.
Uninvolved parenting: an extremely lax and undemanding approach
displayed by parents who have either rejected their children or are so
overwhelmed with their own stresses and problems that they haven’t much
time or energy to devote to child rearing.
Explaining the Effectiveness of Authoritative Parenting Autonomy support: parental attempts to foster individuality and self-
determination by encouraging children to express their viewpoints,
participate in family decisions that affect them, and to have some say in how
they will comply with parental demands and directives.
Behavioural Control versus Psychological Control
Behavioural control: regulating the child’s conduct through firm but
reasonable discipline and monitoring of his or her activities.
Psychological control: attempts to influence a child’s or adolescent’s
behaviour by such psychological means as ignoring, discounting, or belittling
a child’s feelings, withholding affection, or inducing shame or guilt.
As early as the preschool period, parents who rely on firm behavioral control
without often resorting to psychological guilt trips tend to have well-behaved
children and adolescents who do not become involved in deviant peer
activities and generally stay out of trouble; by contrast, heavy use of
psychological control (or high levels of both behavioral and psychological
control) is often associated with such poor developmental outcomes as
anxiety and depression, poor academic performance, affiliation with deviant
peers, and antisocial conduct.
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
Child effects model: model of family influence in which children are
believed to influence their parents rather than vice versa.
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
It appears that lower-SES and working-class parents are somewhat more
critical, more punitive, and more intolerant of disobedience than parents
from the middle and upper socioeconomic strata.
Explaining Social Class Differences in Child Rearing
Family distress model: Conger’s model of how economic distress affects
family dynamics and developmental outcomes. So even when economically disadvantaged children have good relationships
with their custodial parents and receive adequate parenting, many remain at
risk of displaying problem behaviors if their family lives are otherwise
Our focus on economic disadvantage and maladaptive outcomes might seem
to imply that children from affluent families should experience many
Ethnic Variations in Child Rearing
Acculturation stress: anxiety or uneasiness that new residents may feel
upon attempting to assimilate a new culture and its traditions.
No-nonsense parenting: a mixture of authoritative and authoritarian
parenting styles that is associated with favorable outcomes in African-
The Quest for Autonomy: Renegotiating the Parent/Child Relationship during
Autonomy: the capacity to make one’s own decisions and to manage life
tasks without being overly dependent on other people.
Parents view conflicts through a moral or social-conventional lens, feeling
that they have a responsibility to monitor and regulate their child’s conduct,
whereas the adolescent, locked in his quest for autonomy, views his nagging
parents as infringing on personal rights and choices.
Promotion of volitional functioning (PVF): method of autonomy support
in which parents guide adolescents’ decision making by suggesting
alternatives, tying them to adolescents’ values and goals, and permitting
them to resolve issues for themselves.
The Influence of Sibling and Sibling Relationships
Changes in the Family Systems When a New Baby Arrives
Sibling rivalry: the spirit of competition, jealousy, and resentment that may
arise between two or more siblings.
Parents are advised to continue to provide love and attention to their older
children and to maintain their normal routines as much as possible. Sibling Relationships over the Course of Childhood
Siblings are much more likely to get along if their parents get along.
Brothers and sisters often do nice things for one another and resolve most
minor disputes amicably, and these prosocial acts are typically much more
common than hateful, rivalrous, or destructive conduct.
Positive Contributions of Sibling Relationships
One important contribution that older siblings make is to provide caretaking
services for younger brothers and sisters.
Siblings as Providers of Emotional Support
As they mature, siblings may frequently protect and confide in each other,
often more than they confide in parents, and may draw strength from the
support a sibling provides.
Siblings as Models and Teachers
(1) Older children feel a greater responsibility to teach if the younger pupil is
a sibling; (2) they provide more detailed instructions and encouragement
than older peers do; and (3) younger children are more