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Chapter 12

Psychology 2040A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Noncustodial Parent

Course Code
Laura Reid

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Chapter 12 The Family
The Nature and Functions of the Family
Functions of Families
1. Survival of offspring (most fundamental). Families help to ensure that children survive
to maturity by attending to their physical needs, health, and safety.
2. Economic function. Families provide the means for children to acquire the skills and
other resources that they will need to be economically productive in adulthood.
3. Cultural training. Families teach children the basic values of their culture
Families serve functions that are of fundamental importance for the development of their
Family Dynamics
-Family dynamics: How the family operates as a whole determines how well a family
fulfills its basic child-rearing functions
-Factors of family dynamics
1. Family members mothers, fathers, and children all influence one another, both
directly and indirectly, through their behaviors
2. Family functioning is influenced by the social support that parents receive from kin,
friends, neighbors, and social institutions such as schools and churches sociocultural
context is important for understanding family dynamics and their possible effects on
3. Family dynamics must be looked at developmentally
-Increasing conflict trend of parent-child relationship as children grow older.
-Family dynamics may be altered by changes in parents, in the marital relationship, or in
the relationships of other family members
-Alterations in the family structure can influence interactions among family members and
may affect family routines and norms. Most of the change have gradual and continuous
-Death, traumatic divorce would lead a fairly dramatic change in a child’s behavior and
emotional adjustment
-Biological characteristics of family members affect family interactions, and plus parental
behaviors, they contribute to the nature of parent-child interactions
The Influence of Parental Socialization
Parents contribute to their childrens socialization in at least three different ways:
1. Parents as direct instructors. Parents may directly teach their children skills, rules, and
strategies and explicitly inform or advise them on various issues
2. Parents as indirect socializers. Parents provide indirect socialization through their own
behaviors with and around their children.
3. Parents as social managers. Parents manage their childrens experiences and social lives,
including their exposure to various people, activities, and information
Parents differ considerably in how they do so.
Parenting Styles and Practices

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-Parenting behaviors and attitudes that set the emotional climate of parent-child
interactions.  strict, easygoing, oblivious
-Parents differ in the overall emotional tone they bring to their parenting, especially with
regard to the warmth and support they convey to their children
-Two dimensions of parenting style which reflect individual differences in parents appear
to play an important role in shaping individual differences in children
a. The degree of parental warmth, support, and acceptance
b. The degree of parenting control and demandingness
-Four styles of parenting
1. Authoritative (relatively high in control but supportive) . Tend to be demanding but
also warm and responsive. Parents usually want their children to be socially
responsible, assertive, and self-controlled. Good for childrens moral and cognitive
2. Authoritarian (high in control but low in warmth). Tend to be cold and unresponsive
to their children’s needs. Children will have many problems in the future
3. Permissive (high in warmth and low in control). Responsive to their childrens needs
and wishes and are lenient 仁仁 with them.
4. Rejecting-neglecting (low in both warmth and control). Disengaged parents, low in
both demandingness and responsiveness to their children. Parents focus on their own
needs rather than their childrens.
-Children are more likely to view punishment as being justified and indicating serious
misbehavior when it comes from an authoritative parent than when it comes from a parent
who generally is punitive and hostile
-Parenting style affects childrens receptiveness to parents practices
Ethnic and Cultural Influences on Parenting
-Intrusiveness or unilaternal decision making parenting
a. African-American children: positive developmental outcomes
b. Euro-American children: negative findings
-Physical discipline
a. African-American youths: low levels of problem behaviors
b. Euro-American youths: high levels of problem behaviors
Reason (compared with Euro-American)
a. Parents feel the need to use authoritarian control to protect their children from special
b. In turn, African-American youth may recognize the protecitive motive in their
parent’s controlling practices and respond relatively positively to their parents’
c. Controlling, intrusive parenting is normal in lower-income African- American, it
interpreted in a benign manner by African-American children, especially if their
parents are warm
Particular parenting styles and practices have different meanings, and different effects, in
different cultures

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-Authoritarian parenting is considered more appropriate in traditional Chinese culture than
-Children owe unquestioning obedience to parents and thus use scolding, shame, and guilt
to control their children
-It appears to have few negative effects for Chinese-American and Chinese children.
-Chinese children view parental strictness and emphasis on obedience as signs of parental
involvement and caring, and as important for family harmony. But American children
don’t think so.
-Parental warmth and acceptance, as well as harsh control, seemed to have different
meanings in acculturated and less acculturated families
There are more similarities than differences in the parenting values and behaviors of various
ethnic groups in the United States, as is strongly suggested by research that controls for
socioeconomic status
The Child as an Influence on Parenting
Individual differences in children contribute to the parenting they receive, which in turn
contributes to differences among children in their behavior and personalities
-Children’s physical appearance can influence the way their parents respond to them
-When in public, mothers of appealing infants, are more likely to pay attention to their
own infants compared with mothers of unappealing infants.
-Continuously, attractive children tending to elicit more positive responses from adults
-Revolutionary explanation—parents are motivated to invest more time and energy in
offspring who are healthy and genetically fit and therefore likely to survive, and it may be
that attractiveness is intuited as an indicator of theses characteristics
Children’s Behaviors and Temperaments
Children are active contributors to the parenting process.
-Children who are disobedient, angry, or challenging, make it more difficult for parents to
use authoritative parenting than do children who are compliant and positive in their
-Differences in childrens behavior with their parents due to: genetic factors related to
temperament, at the same time, environmental factors like social interactions at home
which also significantly affect infants temperament.
-Children not only elicit positive and negative behaviors from parents but also filter, and
react to, parental behaviors based on their own view of those behaviors
Overtime, bi-directionality of parent-child interaction, reinforces and perpetuates each
party’s behavior
-Bidirectional interaction is a likely key factor in parent-child relationships that exhibit a
pattern of cooperation, positive affect, harmonious communication, and coordinated
behavior, with the positive behavior of each partner eliciting analogous positive behavior
from the other
Socioeconomic Influences on Parenting
-Higher-SES parents use authoritative, low-SES tend to use authoritarian.
-Higher-SES mothers talk more to, and elicit more talk from, their children, and
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