Article

Socialization and Child Rearing

Leon Kuczynski

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0035
Socialization and Child Rearing

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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.

Article.  13530 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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