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Childhood Studies Socialization and Child Rearing
by
Leon Kuczynski

Introduction

Socialization is the process by which children are prepared to become successful members of society. This requires the learning of skills, behavior patterns, ideas, and values needed for competent functioning in the society in which a child is growing up. More broadly, socialization is a process by which culture is transmitted or reproduced in each new generation. Parents hope to instill cultural continuity and competence in their children. Socialization also includes inadvertent outcomes, such as when harsh parental practices and poor home environments send children on negative trajectories of poor achievement and antisocial behavior. The traditional concept of socialization guiding research and parent education was unidirectional and deterministic. In this view, children are assumed to enter a social world that contains preexisting meanings, rules, and expectations, with the role of parents being to teach or transmit this knowledge to children. Despite competition with other sources of influence on children, parents—including all primary caregivers acting in the role of parents—are regarded as the most important agents of children’s socialization, and they lay the foundations for later changes as the child interacts with the wider world outside the family. Socialization is a lifelong process that encompasses the different stages of childhood and continues throughout adulthood. Socialization and child rearing have been topics of sustained interest for almost one hundred years, and the groundwork for contemporary ideas can be found in thousands of years of philosophical and religious discourses. The scientific literature encompasses a vast accumulation of research from many disciplines. Therefore, except for seminal studies, the approach in this bibliography will be to focus on compilations and reviews of the literature rather than individual studies. Research during much of the 20th century can be divided into three general issues. The first concerns theoretical critiques of implicit ideas of what the socialization process entails. These include critiques of the implicit conceptions of the outcomes of underlying processes of socialization. The second issue concerns research and theory linking parental characteristics and child-rearing behaviors to child outcomes. This is a complex literature reflecting not only differences in theory but also a growing knowledge of the complexity of the phenomenon of parenting for optimal socialization. Therefore, the bibliography will consider both major traditional approaches regarding parental dimensions, behaviors, and styles that continue to be influential, as well as new integrative approaches that have emerged more recently. Also in this bibliography are sections on developmental change in socialization processes, the effects of rearing a child on parents’ adult socialization, and a consideration of the cultural context of child rearing. Lastly, the bibliography will provide an overview of the parental education literature.

General Overviews

The first wave of literature was conducted from traditional or unidirectional perspectives, and this perspective was well represented in the first major handbook, Goslin 1969. The most comprehensive treatment of socialization covering recent perspectives on a wide range of topics is Grusec and Hastings 2007. Socialization is also well covered from several perspectives in child development handbooks such as Damon and Lerner 2006. A particular focus on emerging theories of parenting and children’s outcomes can be found in Grusec and Kuczynski 1997 and in Bornstein 2002, a five-volume handbook. New approaches that consider socialization as a dynamic bidirectional process are covered in Kuczynski 2003. Hoghughi and Long 2004 provides practical information for professionals working with parenting issues. Beginning students will find a start on socialization in the context of child rearing in a recent authoritative textbook, Holden 2010.

  • Bornstein, Marc H., ed. Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 1, Children and Parenting. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    This five-volume authoritative handbook covers extensive literature about parenting, including parenting children at different developmental stages and from common and special groups, the biology and socioecology of parenting, parenting in different circumstances, individual and contextual factors affecting parenting, the impact of parenting on children, developments and challenges on parenting research, and practical issues.

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  • Damon, William, and Richard M. Lerner, eds. Handbook of Child Psychology. 6th ed. 4 vols. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2006.

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    Important updates in socialization and parenting research can be found in different editions of this handbook. In this edition, theoretical approaches considering the parental role in child development are reviewed (Vol. 1), as well as research about the contextual influences implied (Vols. 2 and 3). Vol. 4 approaches applied development and addresses the ways in which research can inform those working with children, their families, and caretakers.

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  • Goslin, David A., ed. Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969.

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    This is a classic resource for researchers interested in thinking at the cusp of old and modern approaches to socialization. Twenty-nine chapters describe developmental sociological, cultural biological, cognitive developmental, behavioral, and psychoanalytic theory and research just as problems in the field were emerging.

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  • Grusec, Joan E., and Paul D. Hastings. Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research. New York: Guilford, 2007.

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    The most recent comprehensive handbook, bringing together leading authorities to synthesize current knowledge on socialization from earliest childhood through adolescence, adulthood, and into old age. Twenty-six chapters showcase cutting-edge work in genetics and biology, cultural psychology, and research on parenting strategies, bidirectionality, and emotion. The volume presents innovative theories and methods and identifies directions for future research. It is intended for advanced students, researchers, and professionals.

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  • Grusec, Joan E., and Leon Kuczynski, eds. 1997. Parenting and Children’s Internalization of Values: A Handbook of Contemporary Theory. New York: Wiley.

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    This is an important resource for modern theories on processes of socialization and internalization. The major parts concern history, developmental context, the nature of parental strategies and child outcomes, parenting cognitions, and social and biological contexts. Throughout the book, the contributing authors explain the approach to socialization taken in their work, and they review recent developments in theory and research that have influenced their conclusions.

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  • Hoghughi, Masud, and Nicholas Long, eds. Handbook of Parenting: Theory and Research for Practice. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2004.

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    This handbook is primarily concerned with considering theory and research evidence as a basis for practice rather than research, including topics on parenting research, such as parental influences on child development and adjustment; the impact of parenting on children’s health, development, and behavior; determinants of parenting; and support for parents.

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  • Holden, George W. Parenting: A Dynamic Perspective. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2010.

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    This textbook, intended for senior students, provides a parent-centered overview of the complexity of parenting with a focus on socialization. It follows a format common to other undergraduate texts, covering theory, parenting at different stages, and various contemporary issues, including diverse contexts and maltreatment. However, the work’s authoritative research-based approach makes it stand out from other introductory texts.

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  • Kuczynski, Leon. Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.

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    This is an important resource for research and theory on dynamic processes in parent–child interactions and relationships that may underlie outcome research. It provides overarching theoretical and methodological frameworks for studying bidirectional and relational processes in parent–child relations. Major sections of the book include conceptual frameworks; perspectives on children’s agency; perspectives on parental agency; ecological, cultural, and developmental contexts; and methodology.

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Critiques and Reinterpretation of Socialization Research

The traditional unidirectional or social-mold conception of socialization has been much criticized for over fifty years. Using a macro, societal level of analysis, Wrong 1961 argued that the traditional conceptions of socialization placed too high a value on conformity as a social value. Valsiner 1989 argued that they failed to account for intergenerational innovation and social and cultural change. Child development researchers critiqued the traditional view at the micro level of family interactions. Unidirectional models of parental influence failed to take into account the active nature of children in their own construction of knowledge, according to Kholberg 1994. Rheingold 1969, an influential reinterpretation of parent–infant interactions, demonstrated the power of infants to shape the kind of care that they receive from parents. Bell 1968, a seminal reinterpretation of the direction of effects in socialization, argued that all correlational findings that purported to study the effects of parental “antecedents” on child “outcomes” could be interpreted as effects of children’s temperament on parents. Kuczynski 2003 provided a comprehensive critique of the “unilateral model of parent–child relationships,” arguing that assumptions regarding causality, human agency, context, and unequal power in parent–child relationships were untenable and prevented an effective investigation of child-rearing interactions that would effectively incorporate the influence of the child.

  • Bell, Richard Q. “A Reinterpretation of the Direction of Effects in Studies of Socialization.” Psychological Review 75.2 (1968): 81–95.

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    A seminal paper credited with initiating the search for alternatives to unidirectional models of socialization in the family. A provocative review of the literature on socialization, based largely on correlations between parent and child behavior, which Bell plausibly reinterpreted as indicating effects of children on parents. Ushered in an era of child effects research and, subsequently, bidirectional models of socialization.

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  • Kohlberg, Lawrence. Stage and Sequence: The Cognitive-Developmental Approach to Socialization. Defining Perspectives in Moral Development 1. New York: Garland, 1994.

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    An integration and summary of twenty-five years of Kohlberg’s reconceptualization of moral development and socialization. Contrasts the cognitive-developmental perspective with social learning and psychoanalytic approaches. Presents an influential position on children as active in constructing their own moral development.

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  • Kuczynski, Leon. “Beyond Bidirectionality: Bilateral Conceptual Frameworks for Understanding Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations.” In Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations. Edited by Leon Kuczynski, 1–24. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.

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    Provides a comprehensive critique of the “unilateral model” of four implicit assumptions regarding causality, agency, context, and power in parent–child relationships in traditional models of socialization theory. Argues that these assumptions prevented research on dynamic processes in socialization. Consolidates three decades of research on parent–child interactions within an alternate “bilateral model” of these assumptions, emphasizing bidirectionality and equal agency of parent and child.

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  • Rheingold, Harriet L. “The Social and Socializing Infant.” In Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research. Edited by David A. Goslin, 779–790. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969.

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    A seminal chapter that changed the way young infants are viewed in socialization. Reviewing the then emerging research on infancy, the author demonstrated that even babies have the innate capacity and power to shape the child-rearing behaviors they receive from parents, using responses such as smiles and cries.

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  • Valsiner, Jaan. Human Development and Culture: The Social Nature of Personality and Its Study. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1989.

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    An innovative textbook introducing a sociocultural view of socialization, internalization, and cultural reproduction. Takes a Vygotskian-inspired co-constructionist approach to analyzing the active role of individuals in constructing cultural knowledge. Contrasts this with traditional unidirectional concepts of socialization, as well as most other behavioral and psychological perspectives.

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  • Wrong, Dennis H. “The Oversocialized Conception of Man in Modern Sociology.” American Sociological Review 26.2 (1961): 183–193.

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    This brief essay is one of the earliest and most highly influential critiques of traditional structural-functionalist conceptions of socialization. It argues that traditional conceptions of socialization assumed that society is much more integrated than it really is, and that human nature is much more socialized or conforming than it really is.

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Behavior Genetic Critiques of Socialization

Critiques from behavioral genetic research have also changed the perspectives of research in this area. Children are biological as well as social beings, and their genetic endowments in temperament and ability have an influence on the kind of parent–child interactions that take place, as well as influencing what parents do and what effects they can have. Putman, et al. 2002 provides an overview of the idea of temperament and its impact on parenting. It is now believed that parenting researchers have exaggerated arguments regarding the strength of direct parental effects. Until the 1980s, socialization researchers generally studied only one child per family. However, when the characteristics of more than one child in the family are compared, it is apparent that siblings growing up in the same family turn out to be very different. It is now understood that parental influence is often “nonshared,” or different for different children in the same family, and that parental influence probably rarely functions to make siblings more alike with respect to the outcomes that are commonly measured. Dunn and Plomin 1990 is a compelling discussion of research on nonshared environments of children reared in the same family, intended for the general public. During the 1990s, extreme views appeared that argued that parenting does not really matter. Behavior geneticists have attacked the “myth” of parental influence and the “failure of socialization science” (Rowe 1994) by proposing a biological view of causality. Findings concerning the genetic transmission of personality traits and other individual differences have been interpreted in a new conceptual framework that considers how children, under the influence of their genes, evoke, select, and construct environments from parents. Scarr 1992, a controversial essay, argues that beyond the provision of a minimal expected environment to support the child’s development—characterized as “good enough parenting”—parents do not have the broad influence on socialization that had been assumed by researchers. Harris 1998 asks the question, “Do parents matter?” bringing the controversy to the general public and causing considerable debate among scientists and in the popular media. A review and analysis of this debate are provided by leading parenting experts in Collins, et al. 2000. A discussion of a promising approach that attempts to take into account both parent and child influences in a dynamic-process account of socialization can be found under Bidirectional Models of Socialization in the Family.

  • Collins, W. Andrew, Eleanor E. Maccoby, Laurence Steinberg, E. Mavis Hetherington, and Marc H. Bornstein. “Contemporary Research on Parenting: The Case for Nature and Nurture.” American Psychologist 55.2 (2000): 218–232.

    DOI: 10.1037//0003-066X.55.2.218Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important response by leading experts in parenting research to challenges posed by behavior genetics that parents have little or no influence on the socialization and development of children. Major arguments are reviewed and debated, but what emerges is a stance that recognizes the intertwining of nature and nurture and a more limited and nuanced view of the role of parents.

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  • Dunn, Judy, and Robert Plomin. Separate Lives: Why Siblings Are So Different. New York: Basic Books, 1990.

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    Written by child development and behavior genetics researchers for the general public. Provides a very readable and thought-provoking introduction to the concept of nonshared environments in behavior genetics by exploring the implications of the finding that two siblings raised in the same family are vastly different in personality and values. Explores different facets of the idea that each sibling is raised in a unique nonshared environment in the family.

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  • Harris, Judith R. The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do. New York: Free Press, 1998.

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    Much debated book meant for the general public, challenging the importance of child-rearing and parental practices for determining adult personality. One argument uses behavior genetic research based on twin studies. A more innovative argument is presented in group socialization theory, where groups outside the family, such as peer groups and cultural groups, carry out essential socialization functions generally attributed to parents.

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  • Putnam, Samuel P., Ann V. Sanson, and Mary K. Rothbart. “Child Temperament and Parenting.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 1, Children and Parenting. 2d ed. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 253–280. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    The history of the idea of temperament as an interaction of biology and environment is examined. The authors briefly review the major dimensions of temperament, their stability over childhood, and issues regarding the measurement of temperament in relation to parenting. They then review empirical evidence for relations between temperament and parenting, discussing the role of intervening variables and focusing on combinations of temperament and parenting in the prediction of outcomes.

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  • Rowe, David C. The Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience, and Behavior. New York: Guilford, 1994.

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    Provides a guide to the behavior-genetic perspective on the nature–nurture debate, and lands on the side of nature. Strongly argues that socialization and child rearing fail to account for individual differences in outcomes, such as personality, gender differences, and intelligence. Argues that many environmental measures actually reflect genetics. Examines why parents have little direct influence in areas that have been traditionally ascribed to effects of child rearing.

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  • Scarr, Sandra. “Developmental Theories for the 1990s: Development and Individual Differences.” Child Development 63.1 (1992): 1–19.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1992.tb03591.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Published version of a controversial presidential address to the Society for Research in Child Development, outlining the implications of research on children’s temperament and genetic makeup. Argues that while extreme parental abuse or neglect could harm children, in the vast majority of families, parents do not have much direct influence beyond a “good enough” level to support children’s development.

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Bidirectional Models of Socialization in the Family

Alternatives to the traditional unidirectional perspectives on family socialization appeared when researchers began to adopt bidirectional models of causality to understand children’s transactions with the environment. A major step in this development was Bell and Harper 1977, which presented a control process model of parental adaptation to variations in children’s temperament. A transactional model of human development forms the basis for the current understanding of socialization as a process by which parents and children change one another as they interact together over time. The argument is that children’s characteristics (such as temperament) or behaviors (such as noncompliance) influence parental practices and changing representations of the child. Such child influences on parenting behaviors are considered to feed back into the future development of children. Sameroff 2009 provides a thirty-year update on the conceptual and methodological innovations of the transactional model. Maccoby and Martin 1983, a review of the literature on parent–child interaction, decisively incorporated bidirectional causality into models of socialization in the context of the family. At present, there are two distinct theoretical perspectives on bidirectional processes. Patterson 1982 proposed social-interactional analysis of coercive processes, where bidirectionality is conceived as reactive exchanges of immediate behaviors between parents and children. Later, Kuczynski and Parkin 2007 proposed a return to Sameroff’s original cognitive-dialectical conception of transaction, where parents and children interpret each others’ behaviors and anticipate each others’ actions using their knowledge formed during the history of their relationship. Bidirectional processes are now taken as a “given” in the research literature on early socialization, and a major challenge is how to implement these processes in research designs and new questions. A provocative update presenting the tension between older and newer perspectives can be found in Croulter and Booth 2003. Finally, the idea of child agency and bidirectional influence has gained traction, as seen in Kerr, et al. 2008, an edited volume on adolescent socialization.

  • Bell, Richard Q., and Lawrence V. Harper. Child Effects on Adults. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1977.

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    This book is known for proposing the “control process model,” one of the first models of bidirectional processes that could explain how children with innate temperamental characteristics could gradually shape the kind of discipline that they receive from parents. Specifically, this model has been influential in explaining how children with a difficult temperament can “train” parents to use harsh discipline.

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  • Crouter, Ann C., and Alan Booth. Children’s Influence on Family Dynamics: The Neglected Side of Family Relationships. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003.

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    An edited volume updating the literature on child effects and bidirectionality. The volume has four parts that concern classic areas where child influence has been studied: behavior genetics, early childhood temperament, children’s shaping of parental child-rearing behaviors, and children’s effects on marriage. This book contains a very interesting debate on the status of parental monitoring, revealing the challenge that the idea of child agency and influence continues to have for contemporary researchers.

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  • Kerr, Margaret, Håkan Sttatin, and Rutger Engels, eds. What Can Parents Do? New Insights into the Role of Parents in Adolescent Problem Behavior. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2008.

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    In this edited book, international researchers examine bidirectionality, children’s effects on parents, and children as agents—ideas that have been slow to gain traction in the adolescent literature. The eleven chapters are presented in the following parts: a consideration of adolescents as agents, an analysis of parent and adolescent contributions to child-rearing outcomes and parenting practices, and what has been learned about parenting of younger children.

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  • Kuczynski, Leon, and C. Melanie Parkin. “Agency and Bidirectionality in Socialization: Interactions, Transactions, and Relational Dialectics.” In Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Paul D. Hastings, 259–283. New York: Guilford, 2007.

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    Proposes a distinctive developmental perspective based on dialectics. This cognitive view of bidirectionality is presented as an alternative to the dominant social interactional theory, which is based on behavioral principles. Emphasizes the study of social interaction occurring in the context of culturally embedded social relationships, while also having a focus on qualitative as opposed to linear change.

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  • Maccoby, E. E., and J. Martin. “Socialization in the Context of the Family: Parent-Child Interaction.” In Handbook of Child Psychology. Vol. 4, Socialization, Personality, and Social Development. 4th ed. Edited by E. Mavis Hetherington, 1–101. New York: Wiley, 1983.

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    This was a landmark review of the literature on socialization that incorporated the implications of then new research on bidirectional parent–child social interactions. It provided a bidirectional reframing of earlier research on socialization. It made a significant addition of neglecting style of parenting to the concept of parenting styles and it presaged contemporary relational perspectives on socialization processes and outcomes.

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  • Patterson, Gerald R. Coercive Family Process. Eugene, OR: Castalia, 1982.

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    A highly influential book on several levels. It outlines social interactional theory as the behavior theory approach to bidirectional processes in parent–child interaction, it develops an important model for understanding the development of aggression in the family context, and it establishes the behavior theory focus on compliance and noncompliance as key outcomes targeted by clinical interventions in the family.

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  • Sameroff, Arnold J. The Transactional Model of Development: How Children and Contexts Shape Each Other. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2009.

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    This edited volume provides a thirty-year update on the conceptual and methodological innovations of the seminal transactional model of human development, originally proposed in 1975. There are treatments of transactional theory and methodology; the predictive power of the transactional model; the relationship between child characteristics and parents’ child rearing; and new behavioral, dialectical, and dynamic-systems interpretations of transaction.

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The Role of Parents

In the following sections, the traditional question of the role of parents in children’s socialization will be considered. The idea of parents having a significant influence on children developed over thousands of years, and the first section briefly considers sources regarding Historical Influences on theory and research on parenting and socialization. Next, diverse approaches to understanding parental strategies for socializing children are considered. In particular, six general approaches will be considered. The first three topics—research on Parental Dimensions and Styles, Behavioral Perspectives on Compliance, and Internalization Perspectives—are longstanding and essentially unidirectional approaches that remain influential but are undergoing renovation. The second three topics—the newer Relational, Contextual and Ecological perspectives—incorporate the idea of child influence in parent–child relationships and socialization processes.

Historical Influences

Most texts on socialization review the teachings of philosophers and religious leaders as historical sources of ideas that initially guided research on parenting, and that also guided child-rearing practices. For example, the English philosopher John Locke (b. 1632–d. 1704) presaged social learning perspectives on socialization. He advocated the view of the child as a “blank slate” on which parents can write their ideas, and he promoted the importance of the parent in providing the child’s early experiences and rational guidance of the child’s learning of good habits. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (b. 1712–d. 1778) was an early source of socio-cognitive and developmental perspectives and socialization. He promoted the idea of an active developing child with innate capacities toward goodness, whose natural development must be nurtured and protected from the corrupt influences of society. Protestant religious leaders such as John Calvin (b. 1509–d. 1564) and John Wesley (b. 1703–d. 1791) presaged modern authoritarian approaches where children must be shaped by a wise parental authority to save them from proclivities to sin. The pioneering work Ariès 1962 initiated historical analyses of conceptions of the child and the role of parents. DeMause 1974 is an edited volume that critiqued and built on the work of Ariès using a psycho-historical perspective. Greven 1977 specifically focuses on Protestantism’s influence on child-rearing patterns in colonial America. Another useful source, French 2002, examines the history of parenting in ancient Mediterranean cultures. There are also a number of overviews of the history of theories and research during the 20th century. Most treatments trace the major research themes to theoretical roots in psychoanalysis, early behaviorism, and Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Two complementary accounts, Grusec 1997 and Maccoby 2007, are written by prolific researchers who have themselves been major influences on the research on parenting and initiators of major turning points in research on child rearing and socialization.

  • Ariès, Philippe. Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life. Translated by Robert Baldick. New York: Vintage Books, 1962.

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    Essential historical resource placing the socialization of children in the larger context of changing beliefs on the nature of children from Antiquity to the modern age. Although the assertion that childhood is a relatively recent social construction has been refuted, the larger argument that the idea of children as social constructions remains valid.

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  • deMause, Lloyd, ed. The History of Childhood. New York: Psychohistory Press, 1974.

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    This edited masterwork presents contributions by ten psycho-historians on childhood from the late Roman and early medieval periods to the 19th-century middle class in Europe and America. The essay by deMause argues that there has been a historical evolution in practices from an essentially abusive orientation, including infanticide abandonment and neglect, toward helpful and responsive parenting.

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  • French, Valerie. “History of Parenting: The Ancient Mediterranean World.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 2, Biology and Ecology of Parenting. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 345–376. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    Using sparse available sources, this article examines parenting practices in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, Israel, and Rome. The article analyzes diverse ancient constructions of the child and reported differences in parental values and child-rearing practices.

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  • Greven, Philip J. The Protestant Temperament: Patterns of Child-Rearing, Religious Experience, and the Self in Early America. New York: Knopf, 1977.

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    A history of child rearing during colonial era America. Provides a nuanced view of the influence of harsh parenting beliefs of the early Puritans. Argues that authoritarian parenting practices were limited to certain segments of society and were not representative of colonial America.

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  • Grusec, Joan E. “A History of Research on Parenting Strategies and Children’s Internalization of Values.” In Parenting and Children’s Internalization of Values: A Handbook of Contemporary Theory. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Leon Kuczynski, 3–22. New York: Wiley, 1997.

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    Excellent source for history of ideas, theory, and research on child rearing and socialization during the early 20th century. Traces the development of these behavioral, psychoanalytic, and developmental influences, particularly with reference to the internalization of values and their reemergence in new research trends.

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  • Maccoby, Eleanor E. “Historical Overview of Socialization Research and Theory.” In Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Paul D. Hastings, 13–41. New York: Guilford, 2007.

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    Good introduction to the history of ideas in socialization by an eminent researcher who has witnessed and contributed to major developments in the study of socialization. Presents a framework of three traditional perspectives of what socialization entails: teaching of good habits, regulation of impulses, and democratic parenting. Subsequent sections deal with new and emerging relational and contextual perspectives, with a forward look at new directions.

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Parental Dimensions and Styles

An early and enduring research approach is the search for global dimensions or traits of parental behavior that provide the essence of environments that support children’s optimal socialization. Peterson and Hann 1999 provides a contemporary overview of this approach. Outcomes in this literature center on measures of competence, achievement, and mental health. One early approach, based on factor-analytic research, concerned the search for the essential dimensions of parental behavior and attitudes with acceptance of child or warmth and firm control emerging in repeated studies. The circumplex model put forth in Schaefer 1959 is a good example of this approach. Following World War II, a second approach emerged that combined various dimensions, such as warmth and control, into larger patterns or styles. For example, Baldwin, et al. 1945 found that children in democratic families were the most socially competent. The most influential scheme of child-rearing styles, the “authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive” style, was proposed by Diana Baumrind, who elevated the importance of firm control in an overall effective pattern (see Baumrind 1971). In this view, the authoritative pattern, which combined a high level of firm control with a high level of warmth, was most associated with children’s competence. The most recent dimensional approach was proposed by Brian Barber, who distinguishes psychological control from behavioral control and discipline in parental supervision and monitoring (see Barber 1996). Critiques of this approach concern charges that globally measured parental characteristics have limited the ability to predict child outcomes, as well as disputes about the underlying processes represented by such approaches. Holden and Edwards 1989 argues that approaches that consider parental behaviors as stable traits do not acknowledge current knowledge of the contextual and bidirectional nature of parental behavior. Lewis 1981 describes parental styles as an amalgam of parental behaviors and child influence. Maccoby and Martin 1983 (cited under Bidirectional Models of Socialization in the Family) provides a general critique and a reframing and extension of the concept of parenting styles. Darling and Steinberg 1993 provides an influential argument that parenting styles are better considered as relationship styles rather than parental practices.

  • Baldwin, A. L., J. Kalhorn, and F. Breese. “Patterns of Parent Behavior.” Psychological Monographs 58.3 (1945): 1–75.

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    An influential early attempt to conceptualize global parenting patterns using interviews and observations of parent–child interactions. Most important was the democratic style, which entailed more affectionate behavior toward the child and more empathy for both the child’s point of view and the child’s emotional reactions to parental socializing efforts. Democratic parenting was associated with many positive characteristics, but also with more antisocial behavior.

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  • Barber, Brian K. “Parental Psychological Control: Revisiting a Neglected Construct.” Child Development 67.6 (1996): 3296–3319.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-624.1996.tb01915.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article introduces a distinction between the dimensions psychological control, which constrains, invalidates, and manipulates children’s psychological and emotional experience and expression, and behavioral control, which involves setting fair and consistent limits, that has generated much subsequent research. Psychological control is predictive of internalized problems (depression) and, in some cases, externalized problems such as delinquency.

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  • Baumrind, Diana. “Current Patterns of Parental Authority.” Developmental Psychology Monographs 4.1 (Part 2) (1971): 1–103.

    DOI: 10.1037/h0030372Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Baumrind proposed three major parenting styles, which continue to be influential: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. The optimal authoritative style involves age-appropriate demands on children and setting up firmly enforced rules for their behavior. At the same time, authoritative parents are responsive to their children’s needs, willing to listen to them, and take their viewpoint into account.

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  • Darling, Nancy, and Laurence Steinberg. “Parenting Style as Context: An Integrative Model.” Psychology Bulletin 113.3 (1993): 487–496.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.113.3.487Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a frequently cited reinterpretation of the parenting styles literature. The authors present a model that integrates two traditions in socialization research: the study of specific parenting practices, and the study of global parent characteristics. They propose that parenting style is best conceptualized as a relationship context that moderates the influence of specific parenting practices on the child.

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  • Holden, George W., and Lee A. Edwards. “Parental Attitudes toward Child Rearing: Instruments, Issues, and Implications.” Psychological Bulletin 106.1 (1989): 29–58.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.106.1.29Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes the historical use of surveys to assess parents’ global child-rearing attitudes, and reviews the structure and content of eighty-three parent-attitude questionnaires. In addition to problems with reliability conceptual problems associated with assumptions about the structure of parental attitudes and how attitudes relate to parental behavior are discussed.

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  • Lewis, Catherine C.“The Effects of Parental Firm Control: A Reinterpretation of Findings.” Psychological Bulletin 90.3 (1981): 547–563.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.90.3.547Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Casts doubt on the interpretation of “firm control” as a beneficial factor in the authoritative parenting style. Argues that parenting styles are an amalgam of parent and child influences. The variable “firm control” may measure the child’s willingness to obey rather than the parent’s tendency to exercise control; the behavior of well-socialized children may be due to the variables that accompany firm control rather than to firm control per se.

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  • Peterson, Gary W., and Della Hann. “Socializing Parents and Children in Families.” In Handbook of Marriage and the Family. 2d ed. Edited by Marvin B. Sussman, Suzanne K. Steinmetz, and Gary W. Peterson, 327–370. New York: Plenum, 1999.

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    This chapter is useful because it provides an overview of principal dimensions and strategies of parents before going on to sociological perspectives on the role of parents. Provides a good overview of discrete parenting strategies and goals conceptualized as stable traits.

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  • Schaefer, Earl S. “A Circumplex Model for Maternal Behavior.” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 59.2 (1959): 226–235.

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    This is a good example of the factor analytic approach to discovering essential dimensions of parental behavior. When ordered both with factor analysis and with Guttman’s circumplex model, similar two-dimensional organizations of maternal behavior concepts were found for the three sets of data. The two major dimensions of maternal behavior that were isolated from all the studies were: love versus hostility, and autonomy versus control.

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Behavioral Perspectives on Compliance

The behavioral perspective on socialization has conceptual roots in operant theory, which emphasizes observable parent and child behaviors and immediate antecedents and consequences as causes of behavior. It also has roots in social learning theory, which applied an expanded repertoire of learning processes, including modeling, to understanding socialization in children. A distinguishing characteristic of classic behavioral approaches is the central focus on compliance as a desirable outcome, and on external control strategies rather than psychological strategies such as reasoning with children. Since the 1980s, the behavioral perspective has also been shaped by clinical research on children with conduct disorders, whose presenting problems include severe noncompliance. The “coercive process” model, which provides a rationale for behavioral interventions, places a central focus on parental efforts to manage children’s noncompliant behavior (see Patterson, et al. 1992). However, Chamberlain and Patterson 1995 argues for a focus on immediate compliance as a general model for understanding socialization. MacMahon and Forehand 2003 is the authoritative technical manual of the core technical strategies, including identifying children’s noncompliant behaviors; monitoring children’s behavior outside the home; providing clear, direct, and forceful commands; and administering contingent rewards for compliance and contingent but noncoercive punishments (such as time-outs) for noncompliance. Contemporary behavioral perspectives consider bidirectional influence, though parents are emphasized as the critical agents of change, with children considered in a reactive role. Despite its dominant influence in clinical interventions and parental education, the behavioral approach has received considerable challenges. Kalb and Loeber 2003 provides a review of the behavioral and developmental research on compliance, and the authors find significant gaps in knowledge for older children. Cavell 2001 presents a case against targeting noncompliance as the central focus of parent-training interventions. Developmental researchers challenge the behavioral operationalization of immediate compliance, arguing that other goals—such as internalization, promoting autonomy, and maintaining a positive relationship—are other socialization goals that parents have when responding to children’s behavior. Kuczynski and Hildebrandt 1997 reviews three competing contemporary perspectives in addition to the behavioral approach for understanding and promoting competent cooperation with parental expectations. Most recently, a key strategy in the behavioral repertoire, monitoring, has been reinterpreted and is generating a large body of research. Stattin and Kerr 2000 found that it is not parental monitoring but children’s voluntary self-disclosure that is the source of parental knowledge and its positive effects on child outcomes. This has ushered in a new interest in the agency of adolescents in expressing resistance to parental intrusions and managing the information that parents receive regarding their behavior and whereabouts.

  • Bandura, Albert. “Social-Learning Theory of Identificatory Processes.” In Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research. Edited by David A. Goslin, 213–262. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969.

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    This is a classic chapter outlining social learning theory and its application to childhood socialization, reinterpreting Freud’s process of identification in terms of the learning process of modeling. Bandura also departs from traditional behaviorism and operant conditioning in his attempt to explain how new behaviors are acquired—not by direct reinforcement but by modeling.

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  • Cavell, Timothy A. “Updating Our Approach to Parent Training. I: The Case Against Targeting Noncompliance.” Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 8.3 (2001): 299–318.

    DOI: 10.1093/clipsy.8.3.299Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article challenges mainstream clinical assumptions in arguing that noncompliance should not be the principal focus of therapeutic intervention. It questions the usefulness of this approach, particularly for families with older, more aggressive children. A more focused strategy is suggested, in which parents target acts of physical aggression and verbal coercion, thus allowing parents to balance appropriately the level of positive emotional exchanges with the use of strict behavioral limits.

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  • Chamberlain, P., and G. Patterson. “Discipline and Child Compliance in Parenting.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 4, Applied and Practical Parenting. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 205–225. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1995.

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    This chapter generalizes what has been learned from research on problem noncompliance in clinic-referred children from normally developing families. The thesis is that effective parental discipline and compliance training is the core process in successful socialization. Sections include a review of concepts of inadequate discipline and noncompliance in childhood and adolescence.

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  • Kalb, Larry M., and Rolf Loeber. “Child Disobedience and Noncompliance: A Review.” Pediatrics 111 (2003): 641–652.

    DOI: 10.1542/peds.111.3.641Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews what is known about child noncompliance for pediatricians and others working with young children and their parents. Definitions of noncompliance are presented, and observational studies in the laboratory and at home reviewed. Parent-training programs designed to reduce noncompliance are described.

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  • Kuczynski, Leon, and Neil Hildebrandt. “Models of Conformity and Resistance in Socialization Theory.” In Parenting and Children’s Internalization of Values: A Handbook of Contemporary Theory. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Leon Kuczynski, 227–256. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 1997.

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    Useful source for broadening the discussion of the meaning of obedience and alternative ways of conceiving parental socialization and optimal outcomes. Five influential perspectives on conformity are described: traditional authoritarian, behavioral, internalization, relational, and contextual.

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  • McMahon, Robert J., and Rex L. Forehand. Helping the Noncompliant Child: Family-Based Treatment for Oppositional Behavior. 2d ed, New York: Guilford, 2003.

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    This is the authoritative technical manual intended for researchers and practitioners for the treatment of noncompliance in children from a behavioral perspective. Presents extensive research on the conceptualization of noncompliance and for targeting noncompliance in clinical interventions with hard-to-manage children. Describes essential skills to be taught in a parent-training intervention. Each strategy is explained, with each component of the strategy (e.g., “time-out”) theoretically justified by extensive research evidence.

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  • Patterson, Gerald R., John Reid, and Thomas Dishion. A Social Interactional Approach. Vol. 4, Antisocial Boys. Eugene, OR: Castalia, 1992.

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    This is an important source of theory for the importance of targeting noncompliance in clinical interventions with aggressive adolescence. Establishes “social interactional” theory, a behavioral approach to understanding family processes. Traces the development of antisocial behavior from infancy to adulthood, with a process that begins with poor parental management of simple noncompliance in early childhood.

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  • Stattin, Håkan, and Margaret Kerr. “Parental Monitoring: A Reinterpretation.” Child Development 71.4 (2000): 1072–1085.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.00210Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    New classic article initiating a new look in adolescent research that extends the ideas of agency and bidirectionality into adolescence. The authors demonstrate that measures of monitoring typically assess parents’ knowledge but not its source, and parents could get knowledge from their children’s free disclosure of information rather than parental surveillance.

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Internalization Perspectives

Internalization theories have their source in developmental and social psychology. In contrast to the behavioral perspective, this body of research deemphasizes the importance of external parental control of compliance and instead focuses on psychological strategies that promote internal self-regulation and children’s internalization of values. There is also an emphasis on the cognitive capacities and motives of parents and children. An important early theory is Hoffman’s information-processing theory of discipline (see Hoffman 1970). Hoffman argued that providing children with explanations, such as other-oriented induction, involves the important elements of clear information and the optimal level of emotional arousal to promote children’s long-term internalization of parental messages. Attribution theory, proposed by Lepper 1983, was influential in prescribing a parenting approach that includes the low use of obvious parental power. Self-determination theory (see Deci and Ryan 2002) emphasizes parenting behaviors employing minimal use of coercive power, while autonomy support as a way of promoting internal control of conformity is an important new perspective that emphasizes the motivational aspect of internalization. Grolnick 2003 outlines a self-determination perspective for parenting and socialization. Grusec and Goodnow 1994 provides an influential integration of research on internalization by outlining two problems that an optimal parenting approach must address: accurate communication of the parental message, and children’s acceptance of the parental message. Other approaches are concerned with the content, or what is internalized, rather than the motivation for doing so. These approaches take issue with the implication that parents transmit a faithful copy of their ideas to children, thus ensuring intergenerational continuity. Sociocultural researchers argue that the interpretive processes underlying internalization ensure that what children internalize will always be a novel personal synthesis of parental ideas (see Lawrence and Valsiner 1993 and Corsaro 2005). Kuczynski and Navara 2006 elaborates this viewpoint to understand the process of shared and divergent construction of internalization by both parents and children during interaction.

  • Corsaro, William A. The Sociology of Childhood. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks. CA: Pine Forge, 2005.

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    Discusses a contemporary sociological perspective on socialization, called interpretive reproduction. The idea is that children and adolescents do not passively receive parental and cultural messages; they interpret and reconstruct these messages, modifying them to suit their own circumstances. Also describes the peer culture that operates alongside adult culture as vital in the creative process of appropriating culture.

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  • Deci, Edward L., and Richard M. Ryan. “Overview of Self-Determination Theory: An Organismic-Dialectical Perspective.” In Handbook of Self-Determination Research. Edited by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, 3–33. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002.

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    A comprehensive introduction to the evolution of self-determination theory, a core theory for human motivation. Its assumptions contradict behavioral theory when applied to the socialization of children. Presented as a framework that comprises a number of “mini theories”: cognitive evaluation theory, organismic integration theory, causality orientations theory, and basic needs theory.

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  • Grolnick, Wendy S. The Psychology of Parental Control: How Well-Meant Parenting Backfires. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003.

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    This book considers the implications of self-determination theory for parenting. It is a readable but research-focused source for practitioners and students. It considers the meaning and predictors of parental control and the consequences for children’s internalization of values. Also addresses the difference between positive and negative parental control and explores different meanings and issues around the core concepts of involvement, structure, and control.

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  • Grusec, Joan E., and Jacqueline Goodnow. “Impact of Parental Discipline Methods on the Child’s Internalization of Values: A Reconceptualization of Current Points of View.” Developmental Psychology 30.1 (1994): 4–13.

    DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.30.1.4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important reconceptualization of the processes of socialization and internalization, taking into account new literature on the effects of children on parents, as well as the contextual nature of parenting. The new model argues that two features of a parental discipline strategy, accurate communication and fostering children’s motivational acceptance of the parent’s message, are critical.

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  • Hoffman, M. L. “Moral Development.” In Carmichael’s Manual of Child Psychology. Vol. 2. 3d ed. Edited by Paul Henry Mussen, 261–359. New York: Wiley, 1970.

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    An influential review of theory and research on socialization, with a focus on moral development. Explores the parenting practices that promote or undermine the development of conscience. Focuses on power assertion, love withdrawal, and induction or parental reasoning. There is an important discussion about the concept of providing reasons as a discipline strategy.

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  • Kuczynski, Leon, and Geoffrey S. Navara. “Sources of Innovation and Change in Socialization, Internalization and Acculturation.” In Handbook of Moral Development. Edited by Melanie Killen and Judith G. Smetana, 299–327. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2006.

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    This chapter critiques the literature on internalization, arguing that too much attention has been paid to intergenerational transmission of continuity, and not enough to the creation of novel ideas between the cultures. Research on the active nature of both parents and children in the construction of knowledge is reviewed. The problem of socializing children faced by immigrants to a new culture is used to explore the shared and different perspectives of parents and children in their interactions with one another.

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  • Lawrence, Jeanette A., and Joan Valsiner. “Conceptual Roots of Internalization: From Transmission to Transformation.” Human Development 36.3 1993: 150–167.

    DOI: 10.1159/000277333Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes a theory of socialization in which children are conceived as actively making personal meanings of the social messages presented to them. Individuals are conceptualized as engaged in two processes: internalization, which involves interpreting and transforming parental messages; and externalization, which involves a further transformational process as the child decides how to act on internalized messages in the social world.

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  • Lepper, Mark R. “Social-Control Processes and the Internalization of Social Values: An Attributional Perspective.” In Social Cognition and Social Development: A Sociological Perspective. Edited by E. Tory Higgins, Diane N. Ruble, and Willard W. Hartup, 294–330. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

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    Presents an influential social psychological perspective, attribution theory, on socialization. Offers theory and evidence that blatant external control may produce “mere compliance” but undermines the process of developing internalized motives for cooperating with parents. Advocates low-power strategies that foster children’s ability to attribute their cooperation to internal motives such as self-concept.

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Relational Perspectives

In earlier socialization research, dimensions of parent–child relationships such as parental acceptance, nurturance, involvement, and warmth were considered background variables that enhanced the effectiveness of parental discipline practices. Since the 1990s, new relational perspectives have appeared, proposing that parent–child relationships rather than parental discipline strategies are the foundation for successful socialization. In this view, parental behaviors that contribute to the formation and maintenance of relationships characterized by mutual responsiveness and reciprocity provide the early basis of children’s cooperation with parental requests and demands. Links between children’s compliance and measures such as secure attachment, positive affect, and responsive parental behavior in nondisciplinary contexts are used as evidence for this view. Labile and Thompson 2007 provides an overview of relational underpinnings of socialization. Bretherton, et al. 1997 reviews the theoretical and empirical arguments that the development of secure attachment is a foundation for children’s cooperation with parental socialization efforts. An influential reframing of children’s socialization as growing out of patterns of mutual responsiveness formed early in the parent–child relationship was proposed by Maccoby and Martin 1983 (cited under Bidirectional Models of Socialization in the Family). Parpal and Maccoby 1985 is a classic study demonstrating how children’s compliance can be elevated through parental training in responsiveness in nondisciplinary situations, an approach that has been taken up in some clinical interventions. Kochanska 1997 initiated a large body of research indicating that a disposition to cooperate willingly and eagerly with parental requests, and to accept parental values, comes from features such as positive affect and mutuality and responsive care in the parent–child relationship. A more comprehensive model of personal relationships that has been very important for a wide variety of subsequent relational approaches was proposed by Hinde 1979. Hartup and Rubin 1986, a landmark book, promoted the idea that children’s socialization and development occur in the context of close relationships with parents. The implications of this view for relational analyses of parent–child dynamics are described in Loulis and Kuczynski 1997.

  • Bretherton, Inge, Barbara Golby, and Eunyoung Cho. “Attachment and the Transmission of Values.” In Parenting and Children’s Internalization of Values: A Handbook of Contemporary Theory. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Leon Kuczynski, 103–134. New York: Wiley, 1997.

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    This is a principal source arguing for an attachment perspective on internalization and socialization. Discusses how the quality of parent–child communication becomes reflected in a child’s internal working models (representations) of secure and insecure attachment relations. Argues that optimal parenting practices for socialization are related to behaviors important for secure attachment.

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  • Hartup, Willard W., and Zick Rubin. Relationships and Development. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1986.

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    Landmark book arguing that the parent–child relationship is a close personal relationship that serves as the proximal context of children’s socialization and development. Spurred researchers to think of the parent–child relationship as a dynamic system and not an interaction between isolated individuals.

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  • Hinde, Robert A. Towards Understanding Relationships. New York: Academic Press, 1979.

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    Seminal book demonstrates the link between parent–child relationships and other interpersonal relationships, and is one of the foundations of contemporary relational approaches to socialization. Relationships are conceptualized as being formed from a history of past interactions and carried forward into the present in the form of mental representations that influence how people interact.

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  • Kochanska, Grazyna. “Mutually Responsive Orientation between Mothers and Their Young Children: Implications for Early Socialization.” Child Development 68.1 (1997): 94–112.

    DOI: 10.2307/1131928Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a solid empirical basis for relational perspectives on socialization where the mutually responsive, reciprocal orientation of the parent–child relationship has been implicated as fundamental in children’s future socialization. In this study, both mother–child shared cooperation and mother–child shared positive affect that were measured in multiple contexts of daily interactions using a combination of micro and macro behavioral coding systems, as well as mothers’ self-reports.

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  • Laible, Deborah, and Ross A. Thompson. “Early Socialization: A Relationship Perspective.” In Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Paul D. Hastings, 181–207. New York: Guilford, 2007.

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    Examines the role of close parent–child relationships in fostering the early socialization of children. Research on relationship qualities of warmth, security, and mutual reciprocity in parent–child relationships are reviewed. Relational processes under the control of the parent, the child, and the dyad are described.

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  • Loulis, Susan, and Leon Kuczynski. “Beyond One Hand Clapping: Seeing Bidirectionality in Parent-Child Relations.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 14.4 (1997): 441–461.

    DOI: 10.1177/0265407597144002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contrasts the concepts of long-term relationships and moment-to-moment social interactions. Proposes a model for understanding how relationship contexts affect parent–child interaction dynamics. Following Hinde’s theory, interactions are seen as the building blocks of relationships, but the relationship subsequently affects the dynamics of interactions, contributing a past history and an anticipated future. Bidirectional processes are considered at different levels of analysis.

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  • Parpal, Mary, and Eleanor E. Maccoby. “Maternal Responsiveness and Subsequent Child Compliance.” Child Development 56.5 (1985): 1326–1334.

    DOI: 10.2307/1130247Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classic study that has become a model for relationship-based interventions for enhancing children’s compliance with parental requests. Compares the effects of three modes of mother–child interaction—responsive play (mother trained), free play (mother untrained), and noninteractive—on young children’s subsequent compliance with maternal directives. Results show that responsive play outside of disciplinary situations can enhance children’s subsequent cooperation.

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Contextual Perspectives

Most research on parental behaviors, dimensions, and styles that promote socialization has examined variations between parents, with the assumption that parental characteristics can be understood as stable traits. Beginning in the 1980s, studies began to appear that demonstrated the situational specificity or within-parent variability of parental discipline strategies. Grusec and Goodnow 1994 (cited under Internalization Perspectives) provides a review of this literature, indicating that parents adapt their strategies depending on the nature of the child’s misbehavior, the child’s gender, the child’s age, the child’s emotional state. A variety of models that consider parental goals as organizers of parental choices for responding to children’s transgressions have been proposed to understand the importance of parents’ interpretations of context. Dix 1992 proposes three competing goals that arise when parents are confronted with children’s initiations or transgressions: parent-centered goals, child-centered goals, and socialization goals. Hastings and Grusec 1998 demonstrates how different parental goals are associated with different outcomes. A more general approach invokes the idea that parent–child relationships and interactions occur within qualitatively different but coexisting domains. Smetana 1997 applies the social domain approach to an analysis of parenting practices. Beaulieu and Bugental 2007 outlines an evolutionary rationale for different domains of parent–child relationships, which are activated at different times during parent–child interactions. This has been elaborated for socialization by Grusec and Davidov 2010, which provides a contextual model that argues that socialization occurs within five social domains. In essence, each domain constitutes a different but complementary route to socialization, with different principles governing parent–child interactions, somewhat different outcomes, and requiring different parenting practices. A critique of recent domain approaches to socialization can be found in Dunn 2010.

  • Beaulieu, David A., and Daphne Blunt Bugental. “An Evolutionary Approach to Socialization.” In Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Paul D. Hastings, 71–95. New York: Guilford, 2007.

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    This chapter presents an evolutionary rationale for a domain-specific model of socialization. The four domains relevant to parent–child relations are: protective care-giving, hierarchical authority, coalition formation, and mutual reciprocity. The authors argue that all parents function within each of these domains from time to time, depending on the issue or parental task involved. For each domain, distinctive parenting patterns are called into play, and these have an evolutionary basis that prepares the dyad for interaction.

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  • Dix, Theodore. “Parenting on Behalf of the Child: Empathic Goals in the Regulation of Responsive Parenting.” In Parental Belief Systems: Psychological Consequences for Children. Edited by Irving E. Sigel, Ann V. McGillicuddy-DeLisi, and Jacqueline J. Goodnow, 319–346. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1992.

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    An influential discussion of the role of parental goals in regulating parent–child interaction. Describes a four-stage process: selection of goals and concerns, formulating plans, appraising and interpreting children’s behavior during interaction, and activation of emotions. An important distinction is made between parent-centered goals, child-centered goals, and socialization goals, which may be activated by parent’s interpretation of the requirements of a situation.

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  • Dunn, Judy. “Commentary and Challenges to Grusec and Davidov’s Domain-Specific Approach.” Child Development 81.3 (2010): 710–714.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-624.2010.01427.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is one of several critiques of domain approaches appearing in this issue of Child Development. Dunn raises concerns regarding insufficient attention to bidirectionality, problems regarding the specification of domains given the evidence of overlap between domains, and of combinations of different domains in real-life interactions. Also discussed are developmental and cultural issues, as well as challenges posed by models of family environments that include effects not shared by siblings.

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  • Grusec, Joan E., and Maayan Davidov. “Integrating Different Perspectives on Socialization Theory and Research: A Domain-Specific Approach.” Child Development 81.3 (2010): 687–709.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01426.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Theoretical article argues that socialization processes be viewed from a domain perspective, with each domain characterized by a particular form of social interaction between the parent and the child, and by specific socialization mechanisms and outcomes. Research in support of four distinct domains is reviewed: protection, reciprocity, control-guided learning, and group participation.

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  • Hastings, Paul D., and Joan E. Grusec. “Parenting Goals as Organizers of Responses to Parent-Child Disagreement.” Developmental Psychology 34.3 (1998): 465–479.

    DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.34.3.465Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a useful study demonstrating the importance of parental goals in responding to varying socialization situations. Socialization goals, relationship goals, parent-centered goals, and child-centered goals were elicited by different contexts and related to different kinds of parental reactions. Differences in goal preferences by mothers and fathers were also found.

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  • Smetana, J. G. “Parenting and the Development of Social Knowledge Reconceptualized: A Social Domain Analysis.” In Parenting and Children’s Internalization of Values: A Handbook of Contemporary Theory. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Leon Kuczynski, 162–192. New York: Wiley, 1997.

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    Applies the important social-domain perspective to the topic of parenting and socialization. Argues that socialization experiences are situation-specific, and that specific domains of social behavior evoke very different disciplinary behaviors from parents and interpretive responses from children. Distinctions are made between four domains: the moral, the conventional, the personal, and the prudential.

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Ecological Perspectives

Parents do not exert an impact on children’s socialization solely in the confines of the family, because the family is itself embedded in a system of ecological contexts. Luster and Okagaki 2005 is the best introduction to the implications of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model for children’s socialization experiences, with both retrospective and prospective examinations of the influential ecological model of development and its approach to understanding socialization. Garbarino, et al. 1997 is a rare examination of the adversities facing parents as they seek to promote the development of prosocial values in violent, high-risk neighborhoods. Parke and Buriel 1998 is a major review that describes a comprehensive perspective on parenting in various contexts. Whereas most treatments examine the effect of contexts on parenting, there are new approaches that examine parents’ attempts to manage the influences of the ecological environment as a child-rearing strategy. An original framework for understanding parental strategies in managing the ecological system of influences to protect parental influence on children is presented by Parke, et al. 2003. Another innovative model is described in Holden 2010, which conceives of parents as guiding their children’s trajectories in diverse contexts and life circumstances.

  • Garbarino, James, Kathleen Kostelny, and Frank Barry. “Value Transmission in an Ecological Context: The High-Risk Neighborhood.” In Parenting and Children’s Internalization of Values: A Handbook of Contemporary Theory. Edited by Joan E. Grusec and Leon Kuczynski, 307–332. New York: Wiley, 1997.

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    Examines the adverse issues facing parents from outside influences found in violent and high-risk neighborhoods. The chapter provides an overview of ecological theory, with a focus on parenting. The concept of social toxicity, with correlates of child maltreatment and community violence, is introduced to describe threats to well-being and survival in the context of socialization of values. The chapter also considers what can be done to intervene and support parents in such communities.

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  • Holden, George W. “Childrearing and Developmental Trajectories: Positive Pathways, Off-Ramps, and Dynamic Processes.” Child Development Perspectives 4.3 (2010): 197–204.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2010.00148.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the idea that outcomes of socialization can be perceived as launching children on trajectories. Parents have four fundamental tasks: initiating trajectories, supporting development along trajectories, mediating children’s understanding of experiences, and reacting to child-initiated trajectories. Children’s roles include accepting or rejecting the pathways, engaging in them with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and initiating trajectories.

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  • Luster, Tom, and Lynn Okagaki. Parenting: An Ecological Perspective. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005.

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    A primary text on Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological perspective on parenting and child socialization. An ecological perspective draws attention to the fact that the family system is the primary context of child rearing, but also that it has dynamic linkages with other key contexts affecting development, both immediate (child care, school, parents’ workplace, neighborhood, etc.) and more remote (e.g., class and culture).

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  • Parke, Ross D., and Raymond Buriel. “Socialization in the Family: Ethnic and Ecological Perspectives.” In Handbook of Child Psychology. Vol. 3, Social, Emotional, and Personality Development. 5th ed. Edited by Nancy Eisenberg, 463–552. New York: Wiley, 1998.

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    Examines how family environments shape and constrain their socialization practices. Parent–child, marital, and sibling subsystems, among others, are recognized. The authors demonstrate the value of a life-course perspective on socialization that recognizes the importance of both developmental changes in adult lives and the historical circumstances under which socialization unfolds.

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  • Parke, Ross D., Colleen M. Killian, Jessica Dennis, et al. “Managing the External Environment: The Parent and Child as Active Agents in the System.” In Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations. Edited by Leon Kuczynski, 247–269. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.

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    This is an original treatment of parents and children acting on each other and on the environment that contains them. Expands the conception of parental socialization to include managing the environment, including peers, schools neighborhoods, television on behalf of their children. This treatment also includes children as actively managing the environment that parents experience.

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Socialization and Development

Socialization is a process that continues throughout the life span. Moreover, the processes and content and contexts of socialization in the family change from infancy through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. One driver of change is ontological development as the child’s cognitive and communicative abilities, and capacities for self-regulation, change from infancy to young adulthood. Another driver of change is change in the contexts of socialization. In early childhood, the context is almost exclusively in the family, but children soon engage with the competing influences of schools, peers, other adults, and popular media. According to transactional models of development (reviewed under Bidirectional Models of Socialization in the Family), parents and children influence each other continually over many years. This implies that not only socialization of children but also the continual adult resocialization of parents can be considered to be outcomes of child rearing.

The Developing Child and Socialization

Recognition of the importance of the developmental context of socialization is found in all textbook treatments of parenting where separate chapters are devoted to parenting and the accomplishment of social and developmental milestones at different stages of development. Handbooks on childhood and socialization have comprehensive treatments of the particular issues and processes at particular points in development. Particularly useful treatments that consider both the content and process of socialization are Edwards and Liu 2002 for early childhood; Collins, et al. 2002 for middle childhood; and Steinberg and Silk 2002 for adolescence. Youniss and Smollar 1985 is a thought-provoking book on changes in the parent–child relationship throughout early and late adolescence. Some researchers have particularly promoted analyses of the processes underlying change that operate across developmental periods. Kopp 1982, for instance, focuses on the development of children’s capacities for self-regulation from infancy to childhood. Sroufe 1996 integrates the developmental changes in children’s attachment behavior with reciprocal changes in parenting and self-regulation. Maccoby 1984 and Collins and Madsen 2003 are written by leaders in the field who have periodically reviewed and proposed frameworks for the study of developmental change in parent–child interactions having to do with socialization.

  • Collins, W. Andrew, and Stephanie D. Madsen. “Developmental Change in Parenting Interactions.” In Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations. Edited by Leon Kuczynski, 49–66. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.

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    The most recent comprehensive treatment of what is known about developmental change in socialization and relational processes during early and middle childhood. As children grow older, there is a progressive decrease in the amount of time parent and child spend together; physical displays of affection lessen, as do the frequency of disciplinary encounters and the direct expressions of anger between parent and child.

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  • Collins, W. Andrew, Stephanie D. Madsen, and Amy Susman-Stillman. “Parenting during Middle Childhood.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 1, Children and Parenting. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 73–101. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    This is the best source for socialization and the process of development in parent–child interactions during the understudied period of middle childhood. Describes normative changes in cognitive competence, self-concept, self-regulation, and social contexts in middle childhood. There is a section on consequent changes in parent–child relationships and parenting. Finally, specific issues such as effective control, fostering self-management and social responsibility, peer relationships, and extra-familial experiences are examined.

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  • Edwards, Carolyn Pope, and Wen-Li Liu. “Parenting Toddlers.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 1, Children and Parenting. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 45–72. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    This chapter covers child rearing between eighteen months and two years, which mark the period when socialization begins in earnest. Reviews cognitive theories, attachment theories, systems theories, and cross-cultural critiques of socialization. The principal topics reviewed include empathy and the development of standards, gender identity, and cognitive and communicative competence. The final section translates theory and research into practical information for parenting toddlers.

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  • Kopp, C. B. “The Antecedents of Self-Regulation: A Developmental Perspective.” Developmental Psychology 18 (1982): 199–214.

    DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.18.2.199Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents an important perspective that examines the developmental, sequenced capacities that are a precondition for children’s ability to respond appropriately to parental expectations and demands. This article summarizes the literature devoted to early forms of control and highlights the different philosophical orientations in the literature. The author traces the development of the kinds of control the child is capable of during the period from infancy to early preschool years. The developmental sequence of monitoring behaviors that is proposed calls attention to contributions made by the growth of cognitive skills. The role of parents in supporting developmental change is also discussed.

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  • Maccoby, Eleanor E. “Middle Childhood in the Context of the Family.” In Development during Middle Childhood: The Years from Six to Twelve. Edited by W. Andrew Collins, 184–239. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1984.

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    An important theory that argues that between six and twelve years of age, there is a gradual transfer in responsibility between the parent and the child, from a co-regulated system in which the parent assumes relatively immediate control over an aspect of children’s lives to a co-regulated system where parents adopt a more general supervisory role as children begin to exercise moments of self-regulation.

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  • Sroufe, L. A. Emotional Development: The Organization of Emotional Life in the Early Years. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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    This book presents the early phases of emotional life from a developmental perspective. Sroufe presents a timetable showing the successive changes that occur in the role of the mother in supporting the child’s development of self-regulation through infancy and toddlerhood. During this time, the parent shifts from direct and immediate controls to more indirect controls and the encouragement of the child’s internalization of standards.

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  • Steinberg, Lawrence, and Jennifer S. Silk. “Parenting Adolescents.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 1, Children and Parenting. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 103–134. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    This authoritative chapter examines sources of change that drive socialization experiences in parent–adolescent relationships. Comprehensively reviews a series of changes during adolescence that have implications for parents, including pubertal changes, cognitive challenges, self-definitional changes, importance of peers, changes in the social context, and expectations for autonomy. There is also a review of specific issues in parent–child relationships, including increased independence and conflict.

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  • Youniss, James, and Jacqueline Smollar. Adolescent Relations with Mothers, Fathers, and Friends. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

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    Groundbreaking book on adolescent parent–child relationships that is compelling for a general audience. Traces shifts from orientation of children toward peers and away from parents as sources of influence and intimacy in early adolescence. Finds that adolescents typically continue to recognize parental authority, but at a cost of parent–child intimacy. There is a renegotiation of the parent–child relationship at the transition to young adulthood.

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Child Rearing as a Context of Parent’s Adult Development

The process of child rearing has implications not only for children’s socialization and development, but also for the resocialization and adult development of parents. Research on Bidirectional Models of Socialization in the Family indicates that children can shape parenting practices, which then feed back into children’s development. Second, children directly and indirectly influence the socialization and continuing development of parents as individuals. The argument is that people who become parents, have children as part of their environment, and are involved in the child-rearing process follow a different developmental trajectory than people who do not engage in parenting roles. There are three general approaches to this topic in the literature. The first approach considers underlying processes. Erickson 1963 presents a classic psychosocial theory that first brought attention to the influential stage of generativity, or promoting the success of younger generations as a force in adult development. Ambert 2001 is a thought-provoking text that describes children’s impact as having a comprehensive impact on parent’s lives and outcomes as individuals. Palkowitz, et al. 2003 is important because it is one of the few articles to look at the research questions that need to be asked to advance this area. The second approach considers parenting as a stage of human development. A good example is Demick 2002, which reviews theory and research on the changes in individual development across different stages of parenting. A third approach considers the development of mothers and fathers separately, arguing that because mothers and fathers tend to have different relations and involvement in the child-rearing process, there are differences in the impact that child rearing has on their identity and development. In a comprehensive review of the fathering literature, Parke 2002 examines both the processes underlying father involvement as well as the impact of child rearing on their development as individuals. Barnard and Solchany 2002 reviews how the experiences of interacting with children impact the life experiences of mothers.

  • Ambert, Anne-Marie. The Effect of Children on Parents. 2d ed. New York: Haworth, 2001.

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    Accessible textbook written by a sociologist explores the interactions by which parents and children change, develop, and influence each other. What is unusual is an emphasis on the neglected perspective of children’s positive and negative influence on the lives and development of parents during childhood and in later life.

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  • Barnard, Kathryn E., and JoAnne E. Solchany. “Mothering.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 3, Being and Becoming a Parent. Edited by Marc. H. Bornstein, 3–25. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    Describes the process of becoming a mother, the capacity for mothering, and the meaning of mothering as an environment for children’s development. A lengthy discussion on the experience of becoming a mother as a transformation of a woman’s identity. The process of attaining the maternal role, including transforming challenges and responsibilities, is described from pregnancy and the postpartum period to early childhood.

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  • Demick, Jack. “Stages of Parental Development.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 3, Being and Becoming a Parent. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 389–414. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    Comprehensive examination of theory and research on the stages of parental development. Considers the changes adults undergo during the transition to parenthood, and cognitive stage theories that consider the changes parents go through in thinking about themselves in relationship to their child. A substantial portion of the chapter is devoted to explicating and evaluating Galinsky’s stages of parenthood, as well as a proposed systems-oriented approach to parental development.

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  • Erickson, Erik H. Childhood and Society. Rev. ed. New York: Norton, 1963.

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    In this enduring classic, first published in 1950, Erickson proposes that human beings go through seven stages of psychosocial development across the life span to reach their full potential. The seventh stage, Generativity versus Stagnation (from the early forties through the mid-sixties), highlights the importance of caring for the younger generation. The need for generativity is the starting point for conceptualizing the importance of parenting as a process in continuing adult development.

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  • Palkowitz, Rob, Loren D. Marks, David W. Appleby, and Erin Kramer Holmes. “Parenting and Adult Development: Contexts, Processes, and Products of Intergenerational Relationships.” In Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations. Edited by Leon Kuczynski, 307–323. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.

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    This essay, intended for researchers, reviews the hypothesis that child rearing is a driver of adult development. It reviews the available literature on parental outcomes attributed to child rearing, and argues that there needs to be a new focus on the processes by which parental change comes about. An important argument is that parents need to be involved in rearing their children for the processes of change to be engaged.

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  • Parke, Ross D. “Fathers and Families.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 3, Being and Becoming a Parent. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 27–74. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    Reviews literature on fathers’ versus mothers’ capacities and performance as parents, social influences on the father role, fathers’ effects on children’s socialization and development, and the development of fathers. Also reviews the influence of children and child rearing on fathers’ continuing individual development, including marital satisfaction, occupational development, and identity development.

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Culture and Parenting

Until recently, the topic of child rearing and socialization was limited to Western urban perspectives, while research on other cultures was conducted using inappropriate Western models of parenting and desired outcomes of socialization. Three kinds of approaches to parenting can now be found. One examines parenting from a comparative cross-cultural perspective. Harkness and Super 2002 describes the history and provides examples of this approach to socialization. Trommsdorf and Kornadt 2003 describes contemporary concerns in the literature, with a greater emphasis on the topic of parent–child dynamics. There are also analyses of child-rearing practices and socialization processes in particular cultural groups. For example, comprehensive treatments of parenting and socialization are provided by Chao and Tseng 2002 for Asian families and McAdoo 2002 for African American families. Alwin 1990 documents cultural changes in child-rearing values in the United States during the 20th century. A second approach can be found in a growing literature on the process of acculturation that concerns the special problems of immigrant families raising children in a new culture with values and practices that differ from those of the originating culture of the parents. A classic reference is Garcia Coll, et al. 1995, which discusses differences among a variety of minority ethnic groups living in the United States. Berry 2007 discusses acculturation theory and various ways by which socialization and cultural transmission are accomplished. Pachter and Dumont-Matheiu 2004 describes diversity in parenting in a chapter aimed at practitioners.

  • Alwin, Duane F. “Historical Changes in Parental Orientations to Children.” Sociological Studies of Child Development 3 (1990): 65–86.

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    Rare article charting cultural change in parenting practices in the United States. Longitudinal survey data collected in the United States between 1924 and 1984 are used to investigate historical changes in parenting values. Parental values increasingly reflect a preference for autonomy or independence in children and a decreased emphasis on obedience and conformity.

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  • Berry, John W. “Acculturation.” In Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research. Edited by Joan E. Grusec, and Paul D. Hastings, 543–650. New York: Guilford, 2007.

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    Describes acculturation as the dual process of cultural and psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between two or more cultural groups and their individual members. The processes of socialization, enculturation, and acculturation are considered to be distinguishable features of the general concept of cultural transmission.

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  • Chao, R., and V. Tseng. “Parenting of Asians.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 4, Social Conditions and Applied Parenting. 2d ed. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 59–93. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    The authors trace Confucian and Buddhist views of childhood and their influences on Asian parenting historically and in the modern era, with Japan as an example. Reviews classic research on Asian parenting. Three central themes are then discussed: the centrality of the family and family interdependence, the use of parental control and strictness, and fostering educational achievement in children.

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  • Garcia Coll, C. T., E. C. Meyer, and L. Brillon. “Ethnic and Minority Parenting.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 2, Biology and Ecology of Parenting. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 189–209. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1995.

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    Addresses the influences on parenting among ethnic and minority families in the United States. Discusses differences in the definition and roles of the family; parental beliefs about the determinants of development, including what might foster or hinder a child’s development; and different socialization goals for children. Includes studies conducted with Native American, African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American families.

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  • Harkness, Sara, and Charles M. Super. “Culture and Parenting.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 2, Biology and Ecology of Parenting. 2d ed. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 253–280. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    The authors review the development of research on culture and parenting, beginning with classic anthropological studies and continuing in the current era. The authors argue that children’s culturally shaped experience is the medium of culture transmission, and thereby the production of culturally specific adult personality patterns.

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  • McAdoo, Harriette P. “African American Parenting.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 4, Social Conditions and Applied Parenting. 2d ed. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 47–58. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2002.

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    This chapter examines African American parenting in the context of the interaction of race, social class, culture, and ethnicity. Reviews central issues faced by African American parents, including a lack of adequate financial resources, poor education, high proportion of single parents, grandparents as primary parents, and the task of racially socializing their children.

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  • Pachter, Lee M., and Thyde Dumont-Mathieu. “Parenting in Culturally Divergent Settings.” In Handbook of Parenting: Theory and Research for Practice. Edited by Masud Hoghughi and Nicholas Long, 88–97. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2004.

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    Describes parenting styles and practices that characterize different cultural groups as adaptive to specific contexts. Examines theory on culture and parenting, social position, minority status, and immigrant families, with a view to enhancing the clinician’s ability to work with clients from diverse cultural groups. Considers whether unusual parenting practices are detrimental or just different.

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  • Trommsdorff, Gisela, and Hans-Joachim Kornadt. “Parent-Child Relations in Cross-Cultural Perspective.” In Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations. Edited by Leon Kuczynski, 271–306. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.

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    An excellent introduction to cross-cultural approaches for understanding dynamics in parent–child relationships and interactions. Reviews the classic dimensions of culture, including independence/interdependence, collective and individualistic cultures, and the concept of the value of children. Includes a discussion of the potential applicability of bidirectional influence to a cross-cultural perspective. There is a particular focus on contrasts between Asian and Western parenting practices and relationships.

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Parent Education

The source of knowledge that has the largest impact on parents comes not from research articles and reviews of the literature but from parent education as disseminated by popular media and child-rearing manuals. Probably the most influential in terms of readership are articles on parenting in magazines intended for parents in general and mothers in particular. Studies reporting content analyses of popular women’s magazines have tracked the nature of advice from 1820 onward. A good example is Bigner and Yang 1996, which covers changes in parenting advice for the period 1972–1990. Popular child-rearing manuals provide another forum for parental education. The advice in these works reflects knowledge derived from various schools of psychotherapy or other clinical intervention. Fine 1980 is an important resource of therapy-inspired approaches to parent education. Important sources of parenting strategies coming from specific theoretical perspectives cited in undergraduate textbooks include the Adlerian-inspired approach taken by Driekurs and Stoltz 1964, the Rogerian-inspired approach of Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training (Gordon 1970), and Forehand and Long’s behavior management approach (see Forehand and Long 2002). Another important area of influence on socialization of children, particularly since the 1990s, is the renewed promotion of traditional “family values” and a return to traditional authoritarianism in child rearing. An influential classic is Dobson 1970, which advocated practices such as corporal punishment in order to instill obedience to authority as a family value. Bartkowski and Ellison 1995 provides a review of the divergent messages of secular and Protestant Christian child-rearing manuals.

  • Bartkowski, John P., and Christopher G. Ellison. “Divergent Models of Childrearing in Popular Manuals: Conservative Protestants vs. the Mainstream Experts.” Sociology of Religion 56.1 (1995): 21–34.

    DOI: 10.2307/3712036Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews conflicting perspectives and parenting advice in leading child-rearing manuals by conservative Christian and secular child-rearing “experts” from the perspective of the family values debate in the United States. The study compares recommendations from these two sources with regard to four areas: (1) long-term parenting goals, (2) the structure of parent–child relations, (3) the definition of parental roles, and (4) strategies of child discipline and punishment.

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  • Bigner, Jerry J., and Raymond K. Yang. “Parent Education in Popular Literature: 1972–1990.” Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 25.1 (1996): 3–27.

    DOI: 10.1177/1077727X960251001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The literature review is a good source for references to content analyses of magazines in earlier eras. The study itself provides a content analysis of parenting advice from 1972 to 1990 in three women’s magazines where parent–child relations and the socialization of children were discussed.

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  • Dobson, J. Dare to Discipline. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1970.

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    This is an influential and controversial classic for a large segment of conservative Christian parents in North America, and it has been promoted through religious groups around the world. It is well known for advocating hierarchical parent–child relationships and the use of spanking of children up to eight years old when they misbehave.

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  • Driekurs, Rudolf, and Vicki Stoltz. Children: The Challenge. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1964.

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    Dreikurs simplified many of Alfred Adler’s psychotherapeutic approaches for use by parents and teachers. Many of the principles espoused in this book have since been assimilated in modern child-centered and democratic parenting manuals. Key strategies have to do with encouragement and maintaining open communication in a democratic atmosphere. The classic techniques of natural logical consequences emerged from this book.

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  • Fine, Marvin J., ed. Handbook on Parent Education. London: Academic Press, 1980.

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    This is a useful guide to the seminal sources on parent education. The contributions cover influential approaches such as parent effectiveness training, Adlerian parental education, behavioral parent training, and transactional analysis. Other sections deal with parenting programs for particular groups and the evaluation of parenting programs.

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  • Forehand, Rex, and Nicholas Long. Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds. Rev. ed. New York: Contemporary Books, 2002.

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    Explains the behavioral approach to managing children’s behavior. Part 1 describes behavior theory in a popular, nontechnical, but authoritative manner, including a rationale for each step. Part 2 has chapters devoted to each of the major techniques of the behavioral repertoire: attending, rewarding, ignoring, giving instructions, and time-outs. Part 3 addresses strategies for maintaining a positive climate in the home.

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  • Gordon, Thomas. Parent Effectiveness Training: The Tested New Way to Raise Responsible Children. New York: Wyden, 1970.

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    This is an influential approach based on Rogerian nondirective psychotherapy, whose techniques have become the staple of many subsequent parenting manuals. Takes a radical position that parents should forsake power and adopt the position of a wise consultant. The goal is to enable children to find solutions to their own problems, to negotiate differences when problems are shared in the relationship, or to communicate in a reasonable way on the rare occasions when the parent is truly affected by the child’s behavior.

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LAST MODIFIED: 03/23/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199791231-0035

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