Effects of Children on Adult Development and Learning

Jack Demick

in The Oxford Handbook of Reciprocal Adult Development and Learning

Second edition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736300
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Effects of Children on Adult Development and Learning

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  • Developmental Psychology



For 50+ years, developmentalists have examined the problem of socialization effects, namely, the processes by which children acquire the beliefs, values, and behaviors considered appropriate or desirable by the society to which they belong. Toward this end, child effects were initially characterized as unidirectional, flowing in only one direction, viz., from the environment (via socializing agents) to the child (e.g., Freud, 1940; Skinner, 1953). This was replaced by the notion of bidirectional effects (Bell, 1968), that children can act on parents to the same extent that parents can act on children. Recently, researchers have moved toward a transactional model (e.g., Sameroff, 1983), which describes the cumulative effects of ongoing two-way influences between parents and children including their social and economic contexts. Relevant here, however, holistic/systems-developmental theory (Demick, 2010) is employed to advance the transactional model, advocating a need to reconceptualize child effects as “child-in-environment effects” on adult development and learning.

Keywords: socialization; unidirectional effects; bidirectional effects; transactional effects; holistic/systems-developmental theory; parenthood

Article.  11407 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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