The growth of new scholarship in culture and parenting has provided a context for revisiting several abiding theoretical issues. Cross-cultural approaches to parenting have highlighted the fact that parenting involves, “a lifetime of relationships” (Bornstein, 2002). Various studies seeking to distinguish core dimensions of parenting have been reasonably consistent in refining two constructs underlying parental attitudes and behaviors. First, a “care” dimension of parenting has emerged consistently as the principal construct, and a second dimension of “control” or “protection” has usually generated.
Just as these two dimensions have been identified as primary elements in parent-child relationships, they have also been defined as elements common to all significant interpersonal relationships (Pierce, 1996). Influence on Child Behavior Parenting style is a factor that has an important influence in child behavior. The two dimensions of parenting mentioned at the beginning, yields to four types of parents: authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglecting.
According to the model, parents who employ an authoritative style of being responsive, child-centered, and yet controlling tend to produce independent, self-assertive, friendly, and cooperative children (Aiken, 1999). Cultural Variations Culture and socioeconomic status undoubtedly affect parenting style (Bank, 1996). Parenting beliefs and practices are shaped by culture. One culture might promote independence and autonomy, while another might encourage less exploration and greater social courtesy.
When discussing the impact of cultural variations in parenting practices, it is difficult to determine where stereotypes leave off and real distinctions among groups exist. Often, a distinct group subsumes many different subgroups that espouse different traditions. For example, the groups considered to be Latino is quite varied. It includes Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Central and South American, as well as people of other Hispanic origin. Some groups do not share a common language.
Among Asians, there are Taiwanese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean to mention a few, Asian parenting practices vary according to the ethnicity, culture, and language. Moreover, parenting practices change with increased assimilation into the dominant culture. Although it can be helpful to pay attention to culture origins and beliefs of any particular group, it is important to avoid the imposition of evaluative comparisons with other cultural groups. it addition, the role of grandparents and other members of the extended family as parenting agents must factor into an understanding of different child-rearing practices.
Likewise, a discussion of cultural influences on parenting must take into account immigration patterns and acculturation trends. Finally, cultural differences are often confounded by social and political contexts. Poverty, prejudice, and the various stressors that accompany these conditions are decisive in determining parenting practices (Lee, 2005). The literature on culture and parenting intersects with related scholarships focusing on cultural images of childhood, cultural practices as contexts for development, and the cultural construction of the child.
Likewise, increasing interest in parental belief systems has helped focus new attention the role of culture in their formation, expression and developmental consequences (Bornstein, 2002). African American Families In African American culture, probably the single most significant theme in child rearing is teaching young children, especially males, to cope with racism. They are taught the importance of achievement, to have self-esteem, and to understand their African American heritage and identity (Barrett & George, 2005; Klein, Chen, & NetLibrary, 2001).
Despite a strong loyalty to the extended family and relatively authoritarian parenting styles, African American families, like mainstream families, value the development of independence and assertiveness as well as individualism. Children are not discouraged from developing their own style and personality. Independence in skills such as walking and dressing are encouraged, and children take on responsibility for household chores and childcare at much earlier ages than children from mainstream families. An important value in African American family is the notion of kinship.
Ones “kin” or “folks” may include blood relatives and good friends. Reliance on this extended kinship system has important survival value for African American families. Young children learn to identify kinship relationships and to value the persons who are “their people”. Also important in many African American communities is the in loco parentis role played by adults. Historically – although less so today – all adults have the collective responsibility for correcting or disciplining children (Klein et al. , 2001).
Asian American Families Studies focusing on how parents contribute to Asian American children’s educational achievement have found that Asian American parents’ academic expectations for their children are higher than those of their parents, as is their emphasis on self-control and academic achievement. Immigrant Chinese mothers practice authoritarian parenting more than European American mothers; they do not adhere to the strict parental authority and control of European American mothers who practice authoritarian parenting.
Chinese mothers also love their children in order to foster close and enduring parent-child relationships; European American mothers love their children to foster children’s self-esteem. The effects of family socialization and parenting on ethnic identity of Asian American children have also been studied. Parental pressure to preserve ethnic culture affects the Chinese immigrant children’s ethnic identity, but factors such as birth order, sibling size, language ability, age, and gender do not.
It was also found out that second and third- generation Japanese American parents who do not give much emphasis on their ethnic heritage increased ethnic identity among their children more than did parents who emphasized family histories (Ganong & Coleman, 2004). Traditional Asian Families The number of distinct subgroups included under the term “Asian” is overwhelming (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, “Indochinese” including Laotian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Malaysian).
East Asian Indians and Filipinos might also be included. In many ways, this lumping together of many separate groups is inappropriate. Even within the major Asian cultural groups, such as Chinese, there are many different subgroups characterized by significant linguistic, social, and political differences. Various “Asian” cultural groups suggest several family and child-rearing characteristics typical across many groups. In part, these reflect the influence of religion and philosophy that have shaped many Asian cultures.
Buddhist religious teachings together with the powerful influence of Confucian philosophy are particularly important to our understanding of Asian child-rearing practices (Klein et al. , 2001). Conclusion This discussion on social support in a cultural context shows that many similarities exist among ethnic groups regarding the structure, type and configuration of their family social support. These similarities, however, are not influenced by similar socio historical experiences of different cultural groups. Instead, the specific history of a group helped shape the cultural context in which social support is given.
Furthermore, both qualitative and quantitative methods need to be developed in order to study the range of issues in understanding social support where diverse cultures are included (Pierce, 1996). References: Aiken, L. R. (1999). Human Differences. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bank, W. (1996). Managing Capital Flows in East Asia. Washington, DC: University of California Press. Barrett, K. , & George, W. H. (2005). Race, Culture, Psychology, & Law. London. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Bornstein, M. H. (2002). Handbook of Parenting (2nd ed.
Vol. 2). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Ganong, L. H. , & Coleman, M. (2004). Handbook of Contemporary Families: Considering the Past, Contemplating the Future. London. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Klein, M. D. , Chen, D. , & NetLibrary, I. (2001). Working with Children from Culturally Diverse Backgrounds. United States: Thomson Delmar Learning. Lee, S. W. (2005). Encyclopedia Of School Psychology. London. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Pierce, G. E. (1996). Handbook of Social Support and the Family. New York. London: Springer.
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