54 terms

chapter 12

a Chinese Experiment...

year, background, and findings
The People's Republic of China announced in 1979 a limit of one child per family in urban populations.
The program represented a natural experiment to study how the structure of the family affects children's development
Recent findings indicate virtually no differences between "onlies" and other children in regard to social behavior and personality
Surprisingly to some, recent findings:
As "onlies" became more common, they were less likely to be spoiled.
In essence, the larger world affects what goes on in families, and culture can have a tremendous effect on families and interactions among family members.
functions of families
The most fundamental function is to ensure the survival of offspring by providing for their needs.
Families also serve an economic function by providing the means for children to acquire the skills and other resources they will need to be economically productive as adults.
In addition, families provide cultural training by teaching children the basic values of the culture.
Family systems models
the couple unit is the key determinant of the health of other systems in the family (e.g., parent-child, sibling, individual functioning)
Supported by correlational research
marriage in social context
Demographic changes >
Divorce rates have been declining somewhat since the 80s
Over the past 20 yrs, increase in age at first marriage (assoc w/better outcomes) {from 21/23 in 1970s to 26/28 in 2009}
Slightly less than ½ of all marriages end in divorce

Marital satisfaction declines significantly over the first decade, more slowly thereafter; only begins to increase again after children leave the home
interpersonal models of marriage
Focus on the behavioral interactions & cognitions/appraisals about the relationship in couples
Typically studied by observing couples engaging in conflict or problem-solving discussions
findings for maritally distressed couples (compared to satisfied couples)
Greater negative reactivity & negative reciprocity
Poor communication predicts poor marital outcomes & premarital interventions that emphasize communication have long-term benefits
Negative attributions about the spouse and his/her behavior
Ratio of positive to negative affect during interactions is linked to marital distress
Unhappy marriages are not homogeneous
Common types: conflictual, disengaged
Most common conflict areas: money, intimacy, parenting
Marital distress is associated w/psychopathology, esp substance abuse & depression
Couples who are violent are even more extreme in their levels of anger, negativity, & contempt
earlier marriage usually led to greater marital dissatisfaction
effects of children on marital quality
Having children in assoc w/longer marital stability, but decreases in quality (esp when children are young)
Supportive co-parenting & whether the pregnancy was planned are important mediators
economic effects on marital quality
Having children in assoc w/longer marital stability, but decreases in quality (esp when children are young)
Supportive co-parenting & whether the pregnancy was planned are important mediators
family dynamics definition
How the family operates as a whole determines to a great extent how well a family fulfills its basic child-rearing functions.
Family dynamics must be examined developmentally because dynamics change as children reach different ages.
list of family dynamics
Family members influence one another directly and indirectly.
Family functioning is influenced by the social support the family receives from the sociocultural context
Family dynamics change as children reach different ages.
Family dynamics may also be altered by gradual and abrupt changes in the parents and in the relationships of other family members.
Adolescents and parents
Adolescents and their parents have fairly frequent disagreements, but generally argue over mundane matters.
A minority of families experience hotter and deeper conflicts, often involving sex, drugs, and children's choice of friends
process through which children acquire the values, standards, skills, knowledge, and behaviors that are regarded as appropriate to their present and future roles in their particular culture
role of parental socialization
3 ways:
1.As direct instructors who explicitly teach their children skills, rules, and strategies and provide advice
2.As indirect socializers who transmit skills, rules, and attitudes in the course of everyday interactions with their children
3.As providers and controllers of opportunities through their management of children's experiences and social lives
Parenting styles
and two important dimensions
Parenting styles are parenting behaviors and attitudes that set the emotional climate of parent-child interactions.

Two important dimensions of parenting style:
The degree of parental warmth, support, and acceptance versus parental rejection and nonresponsiveness

The degree of parental control and demandingness
(parenting styles practices )
Baumrind 4 styles
1. authoritative (high/high)
2. authoritarian (high/low)
3. permissive
4. rejecting-neglecting

level in demandingness and then responsiveness
Authoritarian (High in demandingness and low in supportiveness)
Parent characteristics :
Nonresponsive to their children's needs
Enforce their demands through the exercise of parental power and the use of threats and punishment
Are oriented toward obedience and authority
Expect their children to comply without question or explanation

children characteristics:
Low in social and academic competence in childhood and adolescence
As children, they tend to be unhappy and unfriendly, with boys affected more negatively than girls in early childhood
authoritative (High in demandingness and high in supportiveness)
parent characteristics:
Set clear standards and limits for their children and are firm about enforcing them
Allow their children considerable autonomy within those limits
Are attentive and responsive to their children's concerns and needs, and respect and consider their child's perspective

child characteristics:
Able to control their own behavior
Low in antisocial behaviors in childhood
In adolescence: high in social and academic competence and positive behavior, low in problem behavior
permissive(Low in demandingness and high in supportiveness)
parent characteristics:
Responsive to their children's needs
Do not require that their children regulate themselves or act in appropriate or mature ways

child characterisitcs:
As children, they tend to be impulsive, lacking in self-control, and low in school achievement
As adolescents, they engage in more school misconduct and drug use than do those with authoritative parents
(Low in demandingness and low in supportiveness)
parent characteristics:
Do not set limits for or monitor their children's behavior
Are not supportive of them, and sometimes are rejecting or neglectful
Tend to be focused on their own needs rather than their children's

child characteristics:
Infants and toddlers tend to have attachment problems
As children, they have poor peer relationships
Adolescents tend to show antisocial behavior, poor self-regulation, internalizing problems, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, and low academic and social competence
ethnic and cultural influences on parenting
Effects of different parenting styles and practices vary as a function of ethnic or racial group.
African American families
European American families
High warmth and high control go together in all the different groups mentioned above except European

Might be because caring parents of African American adolescents may feel a greater need than do other parents to use authoritarian control to protect their children from danger
Among African American adolescents at all economic levels authoritarian control was associated with positive outcomes
In European American families, authoritative parenting, as noted, seems to be associated with a close relationship between parent and child and with children's positive psychological adjustment and academic success
Chinese culture are more characteristic of authoritarian parenting than of authoritative parenting
parenting styles and ethnicity
Particular parenting styles and practices may have different meanings

Authoritarian child-rearing practices seem to be associated with less negative consequences in Chinese and first-generation Chinese American families than in European American families
Different patterns of harsh discipline and acceptance were found between English-speaking Mexican American families and acculturated Spanish-speaking Mexican American families
The child as an influence on parenting
Among the strongest influences on parents' parenting styles are the characteristics of their children.
children's physical attractiveness and parents response
Unattractive infants may experience somewhat different parenting than attractive infants, and this pattern continues across development.

The parental-investment theory (chapter 9) might provide one explanation of this influence.

It is not clear why attractive children receive preferential treatment, but parental-investment theory (chapter 9) might provide one explanation.
children's behaviors and temperaments
Differences in children's behavior with their parents also affect parenting, and can be due to a number of reasons.

Genetic factors related to temperament

Patterson's coercive processes model

Children can learn to be noncompliant through interactions with their parents that reinforce their negative behavior.
bidirectionality of Parent-Child Interactions
Bidirectionality of parent-child interactions is the idea that parents affect children's characteristics and vice versa.
Over time, this effect reinforces and perpetuates each party's behavior.

Children elicit positive and negative behaviors from parents

Children filter and react to parental behaviors based on their own views of these behaviors.
study on bidirectional parent child interactions
In a study of elementary school children, children's low self-regulation at ages 6 to 8 predicted parents' punitive reactions when the children were 8 to 10 years of age, which, in turn, predicted the children's relatively low self-regulation at ages 10 to 12.
Both parental punitive reactions and children's relatively low self-regulation at ages 10 to 12, as well as their problem behavior at a younger age, predicted externalizing problem behavior at ages 10 to 12.
In addition, parental punitive reactions, children's self-regulation, and children's problem behavior were all correlated across time. (N. Eisenberg, Fabes et al., 1999)
this is a diagram on the notes
parents with low socioeconmic status SES
More likely than higher-SES parents to use an authoritarian and punitive child-rearing style
mothers with higher socioeconomic status
More likely to use a style that is accepting and democratic and they use more language with their children.
socioeconomic influences on parenting
Some SES differences in parenting are related to differences in parental beliefs and values.

Lower-SES parents often value conformity in their children.

Higher-SES parents are more likely to want their children to become self-directed and autonomous.

Education may also be an important aspect of SES associated with differences in parental values.
SES and factors further affecting parenting style
SES differences in parenting styles and practices may partly reflect differences in the environments in which families live.

An authoritarian style may be adaptive in some cases to protect children in unsafe living conditions.
differences in fathers interactions with children compared to mothers
Fathers tend to participate less than mothers in child care and to interact with their children differently.

In industrialized Western cultures, fathers spend more time playing with their children and choose more physically active games than mothers do.
Fathers tend to engage in more physical play with their children than do mothers.
sibling relationships
Sibling relationships usually get off to a rocky start, with most children showing negative reactions to the birth of a sibling, especially if there is limited parental assistance to the older child in accepting the new sibling.
In early and middle childhood, siblings get along better if they are temperamentally similar, unless both have difficult temperaments.
Young children are more likely than older children to respond poorly when an infant sibling receives more attention than they themselves do.
major family changes in the US
6 listed
1.The median age for first marriages has increased.
2.Both parents are now employed outside the home in most families.
3.The average age at which women have their first children has increased.
4.The divorce rate doubled between 1960 and 1980, with one of every two marriages now ending in divorce.
5.number of out-of-wedlock births increased dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s.
6.In 2007, roughly 26% of children under 18 lived with only one parent.
Because most divorced people remarry, the number of families including children from one or both parents' prior marriage has increased substantially.
childbearing in adolescence
Childbearing in adolescence, although now substantially below the rate in the 1960s, is still higher in the U.S. than in any other industrialized country.
22 births per 1,000 are to females 15-17 years of age
92% of births in this age group are to unmarried mothers
Factors that reduce the risk of adolescent childbearing
Living with both biological parents
Being involved in school activities and religious organizations
adolescent parenting
Adolescent parenting is associated with negative consequences for both the mother and the child.

Motherhood curtails the adolescent mother's opportunities for education, career development, and normal peer relationships.

Children of younger mothers are more likely to exhibit behavior problems and cognitive delays in comparison to older mothers.

Not all children born to adolescent mothers are destined for poor developmental outcomes.

Teenage mothers who have more knowledge about child development and parenting tend to have children who display fewer problems.

Children of adolescent mothers also have better outcomes if they have a strong attachment to the biological father or a stepfather.
birth rates for unmarried women
The proportion of births for unmarried women in general rose sharply from 1980 to 2005.
However, the rate of births for unmarried teens has dropped substantially since 1994 to 16.8%.
older parents
Within limits, having children at a later age has advantages.
More financial resources, fewer children, and are more likely to have planned births
More responsive, affectionate, and stimulating with their infants
Less likely to engage in physically exciting activities with their children
On average, older fathers engage in more verbal interactions with their preschool-aged children than do younger fathers.
In 2012, 5.4 million U.S. children lived with only their divorced mother
1.3 million children lived only with their divorced father
Several million others lived in reconstituted families
About 40% of remarriages involving children end in divorce in 10 years

Effects of divorce and remarriage on children are of great concern.
potential impact of divorce
Children of divorce are at greater risk for a variety of short- and long-term psychological, behavior, academic, and relationship problems than are those who live with both biological parents.


Most children whose parents divorce do not suffer significant, enduring problems as a consequence.
effects of marital quality on child outcomes
Marital satisfaction & divorce are assoc w/child oucomes, but..
Effects of divorce are mediated by the health of the rearing environment after the divorce
May be moderated by child temperament
Effects of marital conflict are small, but are much larger for witnessing partner aggression/domestic violence
May be moderated by child age & gender

note huge indiv in outcomes
factors affecting the impact of divorce
Level of parental conflict prior to, during, and after a divorce.
Parental conflict is more likely to have negative effects on children if they feel caught in the middle of it.
Stress experienced by the custodial parent and children in the new family arrangement.
As a result of multiple stressors, the quality of parenting among newly divorced mothers often tends to decline.
Noncustodial fathers are often permissive and indulgent.
Age of the child
Younger children may have trouble understanding the causes of the divorce and may tend to blame themselves.
With regard to remarriage, young adolescents appear to be more negatively affected than younger children are.
Contact with noncustodial parent
The quality, rather than the frequency, of contact predicts child adjustment.
Long-standing characteristics of child
Children with difficult personalities and limited coping capacities may also react more adversely to the negative events associated with divorce.

Divorced parents who are single often have to deal with increased levels of stress, which can affect the quality of their parenting.
alternative to divorce ongoing martial conflict
Sometimes the argument is advanced that divorce should be harder to obtain because of the negative effects it has on children.
Because ongoing marital conflict poses a variety of risks for children, the idea of staying married "for the sake of the children" may be a questionable one.
In 2009, 5.6 million children in the U.S. were living with a stepparent.

The entry of a stepparent into the family is often a very threatening event for children.
Stepfather and factors affecting children's adjustment
Very young children tend to accept stepfathers more easily than older children and adolescents.
Conflict between stepfathers and stepchildren tends to be greater than that between fathers and biological offspring.
Children with stepfathers tend to have higher rates of depression, withdrawal, and disruptive behaviors than do children in intact families.
Stepmothers generally have more difficulty with their step-children than do stepfathers.
adolescents and step parenting
Adolescents' adjustment differs little from that of intact families if the stepfather has been part of the family for many years and if the family contains only one parent's children.
In complex stepfamilies, which contain stepsiblings or half siblings, adolescents exhibit more acting-out behaviors.
lesbian and gay parents
It is likely that between 1 and 5 million children have lesbian or gay parents.
As in families with heterosexual parents, the adjustment of children with lesbian and gay parents seems to depend on family dynamics
They are also similar with regard to their gender-typed behavior and sexual orientation.
Children of lesbian parents do not appear to be teased more than other children.
As in families with heterosexual parents, the adjustment of children with lesbian and gay parents seems to depend on family dynamics, including the closeness of the parent-child relationship, how well the parents get along, parental supportiveness, regulated discipline, and the degree of stress parents experience in their parenting.

A growing body of research suggests that the development of children of gay parents differs little, if at all, from that of children of heterosexual parents.
effects of child care
Child care provided in centers has increased sharply in recent years.
In 2010, 48% of children 4 years old or younger with employed mothers were cared for primarily by a parent or another relative; nearly 24% were mostly in center-based child care; and 13.5% were cared for by a nonrelative in a home environment.
attachment with parent and effects of child care
Some early evidence suggested that nonparental child care interfered with attachment to the parents

A variety of subsequent studies, however, reported no overall evidence that children in child care are less securely attached to their mothers than other children.
Findings regarding the effects of child care on children's self-control, compliance, and social behavior are mixed.
Although many children in child care never develop significant behavior problems, children who spend longer amounts of time in child care have more problem behaviors and more internalizing problems than do those who spend less time in day care.
This pattern was still apparent when children had entered elementary school.
Significantly, the finding that time in child care is related to problems with adjustment appears not to apply for children from very low income families.
cognitive and languauge development with children in child care
Overall, the NICHD study found:

Number of hours in child care did not correlate with cognitive or language development when demographic variables were taken into account

Child care may have positive effects on cognition and that these are larger for higher-quality centers
standards for good child care programs
Caring, sensitive, available, and cooperative staff members
Age-appropriate activities and equipment
Good staff relations with the community
minimum standards for child care programs
Age-appropriate child-to-caregiver ratio
Maximum group size of six for infants and toddlers, eight for 2-year-olds, and fourteen for 3-year-olds
Formal training for caregivers