Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations
Publication Year: 2003
Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations provides an innovative, interdisciplinary perspective on theory, research, and methodology of dynamic processes in parent-child relations. Edited by distinguished scholar Leon Kuczynski, this accessible volume is divided into six parts. Part I concerns dyadic processes in parent-child relationships and provides the conceptual grounding for the volume as a whole. Parts II and III examine the agency of the child and the agency of the parent, respectively. Part IV considers dynamics in the parent-child dyad as they are mediated by or impact on various lifespan, cultural, and ecological contexts. Part 5 addresses the methodological implications of adopting a dynamic process view of parent-child relations. Part 6 weighs future directions for theory, research, and practice. Interdisciplinary in scope, Handbook of Dynamics ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Conceptual Frameworks and Processes in Parent-Child Relations
- Chapter 1: Beyond Bidirectionality: Bilateral Conceptual Frameworks for Understanding Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations
- Chapter 2: A Developmental Neuroscience Perspective on the Dynamics of Parenting
- Chapter 3: Developmental Change in Parenting Interactions
- Chapter 4: Conceptualizing the Influence of the past and the Future in Present Parent-Child Relationships
Part II: Perspectives on Children's Agency
- Chapter 5: A Developmental Perspective on Children as Agents in the Family
- Chapter 6: Perspectives on Children's Agency within Families: A View from the Sociology of Childhood
- Chapter 7: The Aggressive Child as Agent in Coercive Family Processes
- Chapter 8: Behavioral Genetic Contributions to Understanding Dynamic Processes in Parent-Child Relationships
Part III: Perspectives on Parental Agency
- Chapter 9: Parenting as a Goal-Regulation Process
- Chapter 10: Meta-Parenting in the Journey of Child Rearing: A Cognitive Mechanism for Change
- Chapter 11: Effective Socialization as Problem Solving and the Role of Parenting Cognitions
- Chapter 12: Parental Agency and Mental Health: Construction and Proaction in Families with a Depressed Parent
Part IV: Parent-Child Interactions in Relational and Ecological Systems
- Chapter 13: Managing the External Environment: The Parent and Child as Active Agents in the System
- Chapter 14: Parent-Child Relations in Cross-Cultural Perspective
- Chapter 15: Parenting and Adult Development: Contexts, Processes, and Products of Intergenerational Relationships
- Chapter 16: Parent-Child Relations in Adulthood: An Intergenerational Family Systems Perspective
Part V: Methodology
- Chapter 17: Quantitative Methods for Deductive (Theory-Testing) Research on Parent-Child Dynamics
- Chapter 18: Qualitative Methods for Inductive (Theory-Generating) Research: Psychological and Sociological Approaches
Part VI: Implications for Research and Practice
For Barbara, Eva and Lizzie
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Kuczynski, Leon, 1950–
Handbook of dynamics in parent-child relations/Leon Kuczynski.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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1. Parent and child. 2. Parenting. 3. Child rearing. 4. Children—Family relationships.
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Introduction and Overview[Page ix]LeonKuczynski
This book is concerned with theory and research on dynamic processes in parentchild relations. It focuses on the cognitive, behavioral, and relational processes that govern immediate parent-child interactions and long-term parent-child relationships. It considers the nature of change in parent-child interactions and parent-child relationships and what makes parent-child interactions and relationships “work” the way they do.
For contemporary researchers interested in processes underlying parent-child relations, it is possible to subdivide the history of our field into two great eras, “before bidirectionality” and “after bidirectionality.” Before bidirectionality—the period before the late 1960s—might also be called the great era of unidirectional research, when parent-child relations was established as a topic of study and many of the parenting variables, dimensions, strategies, and styles that continue to occupy us today were identified. However, this was an era that was more concerned with the outcomes or end products of child rearing (internalization, sex role behavior, aggression, achievement) rather than with the processes by which these outcomes are brought about (Schaffer, 1984). It produced catalogs of associations between broad parent variables conceptualized as antecedents and child variables conceptualized as outcomes, but it gave little consideration to the processes occurring over many interactions and the continuous developmental change by which antecedents became transformed into child outcomes. Moreover, the selection of the specific variables for study and assumptions about causality created a series of “process myths” in which prematurely inferred processes potentially had little bearing on what had really transpired over the development of the parent-child relationship.
To illustrate, Radke-Yarrow, Campbell, and Burton (1968) discussed how observations of a toddler's interactions with her mother at a particular point in time produced a correlation between mother's use of reasoning and a high level of conscience development on the part of the child. Missed by the correlation was a developmental and experiential history extending over many months that included numerous acts of noncompliance and many instances of parental power assertion that gradually gave way to more psychological forms of control as the child's development of linguistic and self-regulation capacities enabled their effectiveness. Viewed in this way, theoretical explanations of the significant associations between reasoning and conscience promoted a kind of process myth concerning the child's acquisition of self-regulation that did not reflect the developmental and interactive processes that actually occurred.
In addition, many psychologists and sociologists noted that a deterministic mythology had arisen in which unidirectional transmission of [Page x]values was assumed rather than studied (Kohn, 1983), in which individuals were assumed to be conforming and society unchanging (Wrong, 1961), and in which parents were presumed to be the antecedent and the child the consequence in empirical correlations (Bell, 1968). Mothers were a specific focus of the process myths of the unidirectional era and were ascribed causal responsibility for all manner of ills that befall children. Caplan and Hall-McCorquodale (1985) examined mother-blaming in major clinical journals published in the years 1970, 1976, and 1982 and found that mothers were assigned causal responsibility for children's problems in 82% of the 125 articles that were reviewed. Seventy-two kinds of psychopathology ranging from bed-wetting to schizophrenia were attributed to the effect of mothers. The fact that fathers—let alone genetics, ecological factors, and the contributions of children—were neglected for their causal role in the development of psychopathology says much about the biases that clouded reasoning about process in the parenting literature of the unidirectional era.
For parenting researchers, a new era was marked in the 1960s by classic papers such as Richard Bell's (1968) reinterpretation of direction of effect, Harriet Rheingold's 1969 essay on the power and influence of infants to shape parental behavior, and also Piagetian theory on children's construction of knowledge. Socializations researchers active at the time may remember a period of defensiveness and then acceptance and excitement at new possibilities for the field (Hartup, 1978). A rapid succession of models emerged to replace parent effects models: child effects, transactional, goodness of fit, family systems and ecological systems, and first relationship system models. Studies of social interactions also began to produce a succession of microprocess models for parent-child interactions. Maccoby and Martin's (1983) landmark chapter captured the interactional and process-oriented new look for the field that bidirectionality had wrought. The chapter seemed to signal the beginning of a new era that accepted the ambiguous nondeterministic mutual processes of parent-child relations. Bidirectionality was no longer an option. The behaviors of mothers and children are linked, one giving rise to the other in cycles of recursive causality. New was the careful unpacking of parent and child contributions to interactive processes that may underlie correlations between parenting styles and outcomes and between security of attachment and other aspects of parenting. New also was a relational perspective on socialization that considered the role of parent and child expectancies resulting from their prior history of interaction and the co-regulated nature of children's socialization.
Despite the advances in the era of bidirectionality, it is possible to look at the field from the perspective of a glass half empty. Powerful new statistical techniques (Cook, this volume) have been developed to test process models of parent-child relations, but, in practice, research questions and analyses continue to resemble correlational efforts of the past: parental antecedents on the left of the equation and child antecedents on the right. Bidirectional causality is generally acknowledged, but all too often it is confined to discussion sections of research papers.
Many researchers in parent-child relations have recently voiced their continuing disenchantment with the traditional tone of mainstream research in the field. A sampling of quotations captures the sentiment for a more systematic process-oriented approach for the study of parent-child relations. Holden and Edwards (1989) complain about the continuing facile use of quick and dirty parent attitude questionnaires: “Typically, the surveys portray children as generic, parents as trait-like and unthinking, and parent-child interactions as unidirectional and acontextual” (p. 490). Within ecological psychology, there has been great success in promoting research that considers the larger contexts impinging on family life, and social interactions between parents and children. However, subsequent research was critiqued by Bronfenbrenner (1986) for overemphasizing unidirectional influence of contexts on individuals and neglecting the study of process within the proximal context of parent-child relations.
For some years, I harangued my colleagues for avoiding the study of development in real-life settings. No longer able to complain on that score, I have found a new bête noire. In place of too much [Page xi]research on development “out of context,” we now have a surfeit of studies of context without development. (p. 286)
A concern that a narrow focus on products of parenting continues to dominate research was echoed by Darling and Steinberg (1993) in their review of research on Baumrind's typology of authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles. They noted that “despite consistent evidence that authoritative parents produce competent children, we still do not really know how or why” (pp. 491–492).
A panel of leaders in the field commented on the gap between leading-edge research on social development and popular understanding of socialization processes.
Contemporary students of socialization largely agree that early researchers often overstated conclusions from correlational findings; relied excessively on singular, deterministic views of parental influence; and failed to attend to the potentially confounding effects of heredity. Contemporary researchers have taken steps to remedy many of those shortcomings. Unfortunately, the weaknesses of old studies still permeate presentations of socialization research in introductory textbooks and the mass media, partly because they appeal to preferences to simple generalizations instead of the conditional effects that capture the reality of socialization. (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington, & Bornstein, 2000, p. 218)
The concern with the dynamics involved in parent-child interactions and relationships represents an alternative paradigm for research in parent-child relations. It can be contrasted with a long-standing research tradition that has been concerned primarily with the products of parenting. Thus, the perspectives represented in the present volume include a focus on process rather than outcomes, bidirectional influence rather than either parent effects or child effects, transformation in behavior and relationships in addition to continuity and transmission, and an interest in parents and also children as agents and actors (what parents and children do and think) rather than on parents and children conceptualized as sets of passive, static traits or variables.
Recently, there has been a resurgence in research on processes in parent-child relations. Basic assumptions and concepts of the field are again being problemized and reinterpreted, and the stage is being set for a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of parents' influence on their children and children's influence on their parents. A recent review identified a number of distinctive features of the new research on parenting processes (Kuczynski, Harach, & Bernardini, 1999). These include the following.
- A bidirectional as opposed to a unidirectional model of causality has been adopted by most new proposals, and there has been an expansion in the number of different conceptions of bidirectionality, such as transaction, fit, systems, and dialectics.
- There is an enhanced focus on processes underlying transformation and change in parents, children, and parent-child relationships.
- There is an expanded interest in the agency of parent and agency of child, as opposed to an emphasis on parents and children as inert variables. A focus on agency means a concern with intentional, goal-oriented actions and the constructive, interpretive activities of both parents and children in their interactions with each other.
- Also occurring is a reexamination of power in parent-child relations. Theoretical discourses on power rarely went beyond the assertion that “parents have more power.” New research explores the complex dynamics of the asymmetrical power relations that exist between parents and children. In particular, it examines the paradoxical negotiations of power between parents and children made possible by the context of their distinctive, interdependent relationship. Behavior genetics also has made a contribution here by emphasizing the limitations on parental power to shape children's personality.
- An interest in contexts as both moderators and mediators of parent-child interaction, as opposed to parent and child being considered as decontextualized individuals, is also a mark of change in the field. Following the work of Hinde (1979), researchers have emphasized the parent-child relationship as the primary proximal [Page xii]context that creates distinctive dynamics within parent-child interactions. Other researchers consider how parents and children incorporate environments outside the family—neighborhoods, peers, media, and culture—in their interactions together.
The purpose of this book is to bring together researchers who have contributed to the understanding of dynamic processes in parent-child relations to present a comprehensive overview of the field. The focus on process that underlies numerous topics and domains of study is a distinguishing feature of this volume and complements other recent handbooks having to do with parenting outcomes and contexts of parenting, such as the Handbook of Parenting (Bornstein, 2002), Parenting and Children's Internalization of Values (Grusec & Kuczynski, 1997), and the Handbook of Attachment (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999).
This volume is interdisciplinary in scope and reviews major new developments from disciplines—such as developmental psychology, family science, childhood sociology, biology, and behavior genetics—that are affecting research on process. The chapters are organized so that each is a stand-alone overview of a particular topic, but together they provide an integrated, comprehensive overview of the parent-child relations literature.
The volume is organized into six parts. Part I concerns dyadic processes in parent-child relationships. Chapter 1 examines conceptual frameworks for understanding dyadic processes in parent-child relationships and interaction and provides the conceptual grounding for the volume as a whole. It argues that research on process in parent-child relations requires a broadening and updating of foundational assumptions of the field beyond the acceptance of bidirectional causality. The chapter examines evolution of four interconnected models that govern parent-child interactions and relationships: models of causality, models of human agency, models of power, and models of context. It is proposed that considering the four models together may help to overcome conceptual roadblocks that prevent deeper analyses of bidirectionality and agency of the child in research. Thus, the terms “unilateral” and “bilateral” are adopted to convey a distinction between more comprehensive conceptual frameworks, whereas the traditional terms “unidirectional” and “bidirectional” are restricted to models of causality alone. Other chapters in Part I consider broad central topics that fuel dynamic perspectives, including the connection between social interactions and the physiology of parents and children (Chapter 2), developmental change (Chapter 3), and the implications of the past history and future time line of the parent-child relationships for dynamics of parent-child interactions (Chapter 4).
Perhaps no other recent perspective on parent-child relationships places so much attention on the concept of human agency as an integral component of a dynamic process perspective on parent-child relations. Parts II and III, respectively, consider the agency of the child and the agency of the parent. Collectively, these chapters elaborate the concept of human agency both as a given of the human condition and as an individual difference characteristic of parents and children. Four chapters on the agency of the child represent the interdisciplinary scope of contributions to understanding the perspectives and contribution of children. There is a long tradition within developmental psychology of exploring both behavioral and cognitive aspects of children's agency in socialization, moral development, and parent-child relations (Chapter 5). A focus on children as actors and agents in their own right is a defining element of an emerging discipline, the sociology of childhood. Childhood sociology is interested in children and children's views, independent of the agenda of parents, and has an innovative perspective on children's role in society and on their capacities as social actors (Chapter 6). Another psychological perspective on children's agency comes from research on aggressive children. The active role of these children in, for example, instigating coercive interactions, undermining parental attempts at discipline, and evading parental monitoring is important in understanding and treating families with children who have conduct disorders (Chapter 7). Recent behavior genetic research that focuses attention on the child's role in geneenvironment interactions constitutes a biological perspective on children's agency. Chapter 8[Page xiii]discusses the promises and misconceptions of this new perspective.
The four chapters on parental agency in Part III offer a strong alternative to a still-dominant conception of parental skill in terms of stable traits and behavioral consistencies or as automatic reactions to immediate stimuli posed by children's behaviors. Instead, parents are viewed as altering their goals as social interactions with their children proceed (Chapter 9), engaging in planful thinking and appraisal before and after interactions with their children (Chapter 10), and flexibly discriminating and appropriately responding to the situational cues posed by their children's behaviors, needs, and changing developmental capacities (Chapter 11). In Chapter 12, the analysis of parental agency is extended to parents suffering from mental disorders such as depression. Traditional understanding of the impact of depression has been shaped by medical models of research that depict sufferers as passive victims of a disorder. An agentic perspective sheds light on the meaning-making and strategic capacities of depressed parents and their spouses as they seek to understand and manage the impact of their disorder on behalf of their children.
The four chapters in Part IV consider dynamics in the parent-child dyad as they are mediated by or affect various life-span, cultural, and ecological contexts. Traditionally, ecological contexts have been viewed primarily as having a top-down impact on family life. Less recognized is a dynamic interplay between parents and children acting as agents within systems, engaging the systems and altering their impact on family members (Chapter 13). A cross-cultural perspective is also important for the study of dynamics in parent-child relations. Culture sets the ground rules for parent-child relationships and the specific manifestations of agency, power, and bidirectional influence in parent-child relations. For example, culture determines the kinds of parent-child relationships that are appropriate or normative for a culture. It also determines the nature of power arrangements (egalitarian or hierarchical) and the degree to which children's legitimacy as agents is recognized (Chapter 14). Parentchild relationships do not solely involve the socialization of young children; they have implications for the continuing adult development of parents (Chapter 15) and form a continuing part of the network of adult relationships throughout the life span (Chapter 16).
Part V considers the methodological implications of adopting a dynamic process view of parent-child relations. Dynamic perspectives that assume bidirectionality, interdependence, and transformation in parent-child relations are fraught with conceptual, methodological, and analytical challenges. A persistent challenge to wider implementation of bidirectionality has been “Yes, but how do we study it?” The two chapters in this part provide an innovative approach for a comprehensive methodology that includes theory verification and theory discovery as essential for knowledge generation in the field. Chapter 17 considers recent innovations in quantitative methods in the theory-testing mode of research. It provides a user-friendly guide to the nature of the problems and possible directions for methods suitable for testing dynamic theories of parenting and parent-child relations. Chapter 18 considers the role of qualitative methods in the research process of conceptual innovation and theory discovery. Several proposals are advanced for how qualitative methods fit with quantitative methods in a broader methodology of knowledge generation, and four processes of inference—deduction, induction, interpretive induction, and abduction—are examined regarding their role in the process of generating theory in parent-child relations.
Part VI considers future directions for practice, theory, and research on parent-child interaction and relationships. Dynamic perspectives on parent-child relations derived from research on parent-child interaction have implications for clinical interventions in the family. Chapter 19 both considers new developments in behavioral training programs with conduct-disordered children and explores how a bilateral lens on parentchild relations may be adopted in the design of new intervention programs. Chapter 20 considers the problems of disseminating complex knowledge about dynamic parenting processes and furthering the development of scientific models of parent-child interactions. The role of metaphor in theory construction and in guiding everyday life is examined. The nature of [Page xiv]commonsense understanding of parenting in Western and Japanese cultures is explored using metaphors embedded in natural language, proverbs, and aphorisms. The chapter goes on to examine major metaphors that have been constructed for understanding dynamic concepts such as bidirectionality and human agency in scientific models of parent-child interaction.
Lastly, the epilogue by Eleanor Maccoby, a major contributor to contemporary perspectives on bidirectionality and dynamics in parent-child relations. Maccoby comments on the chapters in this volume and describes the challenges of incorporating dynamic viewpoints into research on the socialization of children.
Among the process myths of parent-child relations is the idea that at one time, long ago, parenting was a simpler process. Parents parented, children obeyed and were socialized, and that was all there was to it. It is doubtful that there was ever a time when parent-child relations were ever that simple. By documenting recent achievements in understanding parenting processes, the chapters in this handbook help to dispel that myth and open the door to future progress in our field.Acknowledgments
I owe a large debt of appreciation to a wide diversity of people for making this book possible. I thank the staff at Sage Publications, particularly Jim Brace-Thompson and Karen Ehrmann, for their generous support and excellent advice during the production of this volume. The thinking that led up to this project has taken many years, and I am grateful that many of the researchers who have inspired me agreed to participate in this project as contributors. I express my appreciation to the contributors both for their enthusiasm for this project and for their expertise and professionalism in preparing their own chapters and in reviewing the chapters of their co-contributors. I especially would like to express appreciation to Joan Grusec and Eleanor Maccoby. Joan is a long-time mentor and collaborator and has both encouraged and challenged my ideas as they were forming. She especially has provided me with a needed counterbalance on behalf of parents in the socialization process. The work of Eleanor Maccoby provided a conceptual inspiration for this book by bringing my attention to the complex bidirectional dynamics involved in the socialization of children.
The themes of this book regarding the agency of the parent and of the child and the dynamics of parent-child relations offer a much wider scope for expressing heartfelt appreciation. An interest in parenting dynamics is fostered by paying attention not only to the burgeoning scientific literature on parent-child relations but also to the ongoing social interactions and lived experiences of ordinary families. I therefore express appreciation to a number of close friends who have for many years shared their own experiences and analyses of parent-child relationships and unwittingly have provided many opportunities to observe the process of parenting, in process. They provided insight into various phenomena of parent-child relations and, above all, provided a constant reminder that our theories and empirical research have a long way to go before they can adequately model real life. These participants and collaborators in the inductive process of theory discovery include Christine and George Krantz and their children Jacqueline and Lee; Susan Lollis and her children Lauren and Adrian; Diana and Bill Summers and their children Geoffrey, Matthew, and Emily; Penny Trickett and her children Jennifer and Katie; and to Paul and Christine Yee and their children Alexandra and Kathleen. Family members also provided longitudinal observation samples. I express thanks to my spouse, Barbara, and my children, Eva and Lizzie, as well as to Roman and Susan Kuczynski and their children Danielle and Alexis, and to Karl and Donna Kuczynski and their children Brittney and Kyle.References[Page xvi]1968). A reinterpretation of the direction of effects in studies of socialization. Psychological Review, 75, 81–95. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0025583(2002). Handbook of parenting. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.(1986). Recent advances in research in the ecology of human development. In J. R.Silberseisen, K.Eyeferth, & G.Rudinger (Eds.), Development as action in context: Problem behavior and normal youth development(pp. 286–309). New York: Springer-Verlag.([Page xv]1985). Mother blaming in major clinical journals. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55, 345–353. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.1985.tb03449.x, & (1999). Handbook of attachment: Theory, research and clinical applications. New York: Guilford., & (2000). Contemporary research on parenting: The case for nature and nurture. American Psychologist, 55, 218–232. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.2.218, , , , & (1993). Parenting style as context: An integrative model. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 487–496. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.113.3.487, & (Grusec, J. E., & Kuczynski, L. (Eds.). (1997). Parenting and children's internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory. New York: Wiley.1978). Perspectives on child and family interaction: Past, present and future. In R. M.Lerner & G. B.Spanier (Eds.), Child influences on marital and family interaction: A life-span perspective(pp. 23–45). New York: Academic.(1979). Towards understanding relationships. London: Academic.(1989). Parental attitudes toward child rearing: Instruments, issues and implications. Psychological Bulletin, 106, 29–58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.106.1.29, & (1983). On the transmission of values in the family: A preliminary reformulation. Research in Sociology of Education and Socialization, 4, 1–12.(1999). Psychology's child meets sociology's child: Agency, power and influence in parent-child relations. In C.Shehan (Ed.), Through the eyes of the child: Revisioning children as active agents of family life(pp. 21–52). Stamford, CT: JAI., , & (1983). Socialization in the context of the family: Parent-child interaction. In E. M.Hetherington (Ed.), Mussen manual of child psychology (, & (4th ed., Vol. 4, pp. 1–101). New York: Wiley.1968). Child rearing: An enquiry into research and methods. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass., , & (1969). The social and socializing infant. In D. A.Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization theory and research(pp. 779–790). Chicago: Rand McNally.(1984). The child's entry into a social world. London: Academic.(1961). The oversocialized conception of man in modern society. American Sociological Review, 26, 183–193. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2089854(
Epilogue: Dynamic Viewpoints on Parent-Child Relations—Their Implications for Socialization Processes[Page 439]Eleanor E.Maccoby
Taken as a whole, the chapters in this volume perform a remarkable service. They have articulated and consolidated the quiet revolution that has been going on for some time in the way we think about the in-family socialization of children.Early Approaches to the Study of Parenting
As a number of the chapters note in their introductions, early conceptualizations of the way parents socialized their children were top-down formulations, in which parents were seen as “shaping” children, with more or less success, toward socially desired outcomes. The origins of these formulations lay in positivist theories that emerged from laboratory studies of learning (mainly in animals). These origins led researchers to minimize attention to anything that might be going on between the “treatment” (parenting) and the “outcome” (desired behavior in children). The early socialization theories—at least those in mainstream psychology—strove to connect parent actions directly with child outcomes, with little attention to the interaction processes between parent and child whereby the presumed “shaping” took place. Furthermore, little attention was given, in early theorizing, to the cognitions of parents or children relating to their interaction, or to the variations in context that we now know can produce great variations, even within the same family, in the way parents carry out their parenting functions. From today's perspective, it comes as no surprise that studies emerging from this early theorizing found only weak and inconsistent connections between the parenting children received and the children's characteristics (Maccoby & Martin, 1983).
A second unidirectional view of influence between parents and children emerged later in the 20th century, as a number of writers began to point to children's effects on their parents and to the fact that any connections that were found between parent behavior and child outcomes could reflect children's influence on parents rather than (or in addition to) parental influences on children. Over the past 20 years, behavior geneticists have presented evidence [Page 440]that there is a clear contribution of children's genetic makeup to the kind of interactions they have with their parents, and to the characteristics the children develop regardless of what their parents do. They also have claimed that aspects of the environment shared by children growing up in the same family often have little or no connection with children's outcomes. Initially, this claim was interpreted as meaning that it made little difference in children's achievements or adjustment whether their parents were well or poorly educated, whether or not there was high conflict between the parents, whether the family included both parents or only one—in short, that a whole list of presumed “risk factors” for children's development could be discounted. Taken together with the fact that direct connections between aspects of parenting and children's “outcomes” generally were weak, writers felt justified in saying that parents have little influence on their children, and that instead, children have influence on their parents—indeed, that children “drive” the kind of interaction that occurs between them (Harris, 1998; Rowe, 1994). From this standpoint, it would seem that parents hardly socialize their children at all.The Bidirectional Approach
The chapters in this volume have swept through and beyond these formulations. Building on an extensive body of research that has accumulated over the last 30 years or more, the largely unidirectional view of socialization as a process whereby parents “shape” children has been increasingly replaced by a bidirectional view involving mutual influence between parents and children as socialization progresses. The second “bottom-up” unidirectional view is now being supplanted by a view that it is time to move away from the traditional behavior genetic method of attempting to partition variance between two discrete kinds of effects (genetic and environmental) and instead to examine the way they jointly mediate the nature of the interactions and relationships that emerge within a family group (o'connor, Chapter 8, this volume).
The chapters in this volume tell us, in addition, that the idea of bidirectionality is only the first step toward a truly dynamic view of the family interaction processes whereby socialization occurs. Bidirectionality can imply two main effects—one of parent on child, the other of child on parent—in which the behavior of each stems from fairly stable habits or personality traits. If, however, parents and children truly influence one another, each should change the other, initiating a recursive cycle of reciprocal changes. Thus, A acts toward B, B reacts in a way that changes A, A now acts toward B in a different way than he or she did initially, and so on. This is called a transactional model, one that has been interpreted by writers on circular causality to mean that it becomes impossible to disentangle the roles of the two participants as causal agents. Several writers have noted that such circular processes do not necessarily move parent-child interactions progressively toward desired or mutually supportive syntheses—the interactions can become progressively more dysfunctional. parents and children have different needs, different goals, and different impulses, and transactions involve the balancing of each in a sense against the other, as well as with the other (Kuczynski, Chapter 1, this volume, citing Valsiner). This opposition, combined with the sharing of some goals, can bring about novel aspects of interaction and meaning that were not implicit in the initial interactions of the pair.
The study of relationships has carried the thinking about bidirectionality still further. It adds an extended time line to interaction. It is possible for strangers to engage in some degree of transactional mutual influence if they interact with one another over several days or even hours. Something very different, however, emerges between people who interact with one another over much longer periods. parents and children probably are unique in the amount of time they spend together over the first 20 years of a child's life, with additional intimacy in adulthood. The sheer frequency of parent-child interactions is enormous, particularly when children are young. Their relationship is obligatory—neither is free to leave—and it involves numerous acts of caregiving by parents and bids for attention or care by children. It is inevitable that a close relationship of some kind will develop. Even though parent-child relationships [Page 441]vary considerably with respect to many things (e.g., the level of mutual empathy, authority relations, the amount of conflict), in all parent-child relationships, each develops expectancies about how the other will behave and what the other intends. It is a major theme of this volume that the cognitions of the two partners—their explicit goals, as well as their understandings and beliefs about each other—have a controlling role in the quality of relationships and how these relationships can be transformed during development. In recent years, research and theorizing about “metacognition” in children has burgeoned. We now know a good deal about what children know and believe about thought processes in themselves and others, as well as about how these cognitions develop as children proceed through early and middle childhood (Flavell, 2000). What the work on children's “theory of mind” has not done so far, however, is consider metacognition in a truly bidirectional social context: that is, it has failed to consider what happens when two persons—say, parent and child—simultaneously act from cognitions about what the interaction partner knows, believes, or intends. Certainly we can see a potential here for interaction to be either facilitated or disrupted, depending on how well the two sets of metacognitions intersect.
Several chapters in this volume argue that it is the relationship within a parent-child pair that becomes the major functional element in socialization. Does this mean that the roles of the individuals who are involved in relationships become unimportant? By no means. Clearly, the preexisting characteristics of individual children and parents, as well as the unique roles of each actor in an interaction, have an impact on the kinds of relationships that can develop between them, and perhaps on the degree of change they can bring about in one another (see Cook, Chapter 17, this volume). But relationships have emergent properties that individuals do not and cannot have (see Cook, Chapter 17, this volume, and Maccoby, in press). The participants in a relationship develop a shared “culture” that has to do with mutually understood values, shared scripts, shared memories, shared goals, and reciprocal expectations. This “culture” provides the foundations for their continuing day-to-day interaction. A repeated theme in this volume is that it is the relationship itself, including but superseding what individuals bring to it, that largely determines how socialization of the child proceeds.
If we were to accept the idea that relationships are the major functional element in socialization, research on socialization would clearly need to focus on relationships—how they differ, what determines the developmental course they will take, and what the consequences are, for the future development of an individual child, of having participated in certain kinds of relationships with one or both parents (Collins & Madsen, Chapter 3, this volume). This calls for researchers to develop a taxonomy of relationships that is quite different from the dimensional approach to variations in parenting styles that dominated so much family research in the past. There is an extensive body of research describing and classifying adult relationships. Maccoby (1999) summarized some of this work and argued that the taxonomy of adult relationships that has emerged from this work does not provide a good fit for the variety of parent-child relationships that can be seen in the socialization literature. A new approach is needed.
Kuczynski and Daly (Chapter 18, this volume) make a case for an alternative to the traditional hypothetico-deductive approach to classifying parent-child interaction processes and theorizing about them. They stress the need for an inductive approach utilizing what they call a methodology of discovery, one that involves assembling a body of “preparatory knowledge” through qualitative methods such as unstructured observations and interviewing. Working from this foundation, they argue, researchers can employ interpretive forms of inference such as interpretive induction and abduction to achieve new understandings and theoretical formulations that are likely to be broader than those that arise from purely deductive thinking.Developmental Change
A major theme of this volume is that relationships do not remain static (see especially Collins and Madsen, Chapter 3, this volume). Changes are driven in part by biological changes in the child. Physical maturation, [Page 442]including maturational changes in the brain that support growth in the child's cognitive capacities, changes the nature of the interactions in which a child can participate. Transformations in the attachment behavior of children from the physical clinging of infancy and toddlerhood to the more distal forms of early and middle childhood change what is required of parents in the way of providing comfort and emotional security (Collins & Madsen, Chapter 3, this volume). Many developmental changes are driven, in addition, by what has happened between parent and child at preceding points in development (Lollis, Chapter 4, this volume). For example, there is a large element of biological maturation in children's development of language, but how fluent and linguistically competent they become also has much to do with how much and what kind of talking adults do with them or with other adults in the children's presence. In a similar vein, the developmental change that often takes place from a child's early noncooperation with parental directives to a more cooperative and/or negotiating stance several years later rests on a history of shared positive affect and reciprocation (Kochanska, 1997). Children who are subjected to inconsistent, neglectful, or punitive treatment from their parents can, over time, develop pervasive emotional states—fear, anxiety, anger, dysphoria— that can interfere with their capacity to take in messages from their parents or to profit from opportunities to learn from observing their parents and others.How Mutuality is Enacted
All relationships must be characterized by mutuality or reciprocation of some kind and to some degree, but Trommsdorff and Kornadt (Chapter 14, this volume) alert us to the fact that different cultures provide different contexts for how mutuality will be enacted between a parent and a young child. They make use of the distinction between individualist and collectivist cultures, and they show that in East Asian cultures (particularly in Japan), mothers typically neither confront their young children nor emphasize their own authority. Rather, through extensive physical contact, consistent responsiveness, and absence of punishment or negative attributions, they draw the child into a relationship of mutual empathy in which the child seems automatically to internalize parental values and accept parental guidance, so that it seldom becomes necessary, when the child is older, for the parent to invoke authority directly.
This volume contains several excellent descriptive analyses of the nature of day-to-day interactions between parents and children as socialization takes place. Grusec and Ungerer (Chapter 11) discuss earlier work on “parenting styles” including authoritative styles (aimed at producing internalization) or controlling styles (aimed at getting obedience). They point out that these styles were seen as something that stably characterized a given parent or father-mother pair, so that the research agenda involved comparing groups of parents classified according to their predominant parenting styles, to discover what the effects of differing parental styles might be on children's achievements and adjustment. This approach ignored characteristics of the child, or of changing contexts, that might affect how effective a given parenting approach will be with a given child at a given moment. The reality, Grusec and Ungerer argue, is that effective parenting involves moment-to-moment problem solving: Decisions about what parental action is appropriate depend, for example, on the nature of the child's misdeed and whether there are extenuating circumstances. A parent's skill in taking these things into account affects whether the child considers the discipline fair and accepts it, or instead considers it unfair and resents it. A parent's knowledge of the child's developmental level also helps the parent to know what kind of understanding the child has about what conduct is acceptable, as well as to know what it is reasonable to expect from the child. Also important is a parent's knowledge about what works with a particular child. Recent research has shown that children differ with respect to what parental strategies work best with them, with these differences depending not only on their age but also on their temperament and sex (Dodge, 2002). And for any child, the child's current mood affects which parental inputs will have the desired impact and which will not. In the end, Grusec and Ungerer say, effective socialization depends on the nature of the parent-child relationship [Page 443]that emerges cumulatively from the myriad parent-child problem-solving encounters. One might add that this relationship is likely to be unique to a given parent-child dyad, varying for a given parent's relationships with different children in the same family, and different for a given child's relationships with each parent (Cook, 2001).
Dix and Branca (Chapter 9, this volume) describe parenting as a goal-regulation process. Their viewpoint is entirely consonant with the problem-solving view presented by Grusec and Ungerer but has a different emphasis. Both approaches to socialization turn away from the traditional emphasis on static parental traits, practices, or styles and toward a dynamic view that sees parenting as a process of moment-to-moment adaptation to constantly changing children and contexts. Dix and Branca say that in every interaction with a child, parents have an action plan, which may be very short term (e.g., getting the child to stop whining) but which is often nested within longer-term goals (getting the child to be independent). In carrying out their action plans, parents must balance a set of goals: their own immediate and long-term goals as well as the child's goals. Parents' goals include what they want for themselves (e.g., getting to work on time), socialization goals (teaching children values and skills), and child-oriented goals (understanding and responding to what the child wants or needs). In addition, parents often are concerned with maintaining a positive relationship with the child.
Sometimes the parent and child want the same thing, but quite often they don't, especially when socialization goals are involved. In interviews conducted with parents of 6-year-old children (summarized in Maccoby, 1998, p. 274), parents were asked, “Suppose you want (child's name) to do something, and you know in advance that he/she is not going to want to do it. Do you think it's best to go ahead with it, or wait till you have a better chance of getting cooperation?” The parents' replies illustrated the variation in how parents deal with the conflicting goals of parent and child. For example, one mother replied: “Well, if what I am going to do could be put off to a better time, I would probably put it off, because everybody would enjoy it rather than have an argument” (p. 274). Her husband, however, in a separate interview, said: “I would say that, knowing the way we conduct our lives—pretty busy—probably we would go ahead and do it whether she liked it or not” (p. 274). Another mother said:
I think he [son] and I have a pretty good relationship. There is a certain power struggle that goes on periodically, but nothing really difficult. So when times are rough I just kind of ride it out and don't put pressure on him. There's no point in provoking a battle of the wills with a 6-year-old. It puts me at a disadvantage, and I don't like to be at a disadvantage with my own child. (p. 274)
Dix and Branca say that parents cannot and should not always accommodate to the child's goals. If parents consistently give priority to parent-centered goals, however, rather than to child-centered ones, they sacrifice a cooperative relationship with the child that would have many long-term benefits for both parents and children. Instead, Dix and Branca claim, when parents “can negotiate and respond in ways that reconcile conflicting concerns so that each enables the other to get, to a degree, what the other wants,” this will serve to integrate children into ongoing action plans and provide a foundation for a long-term cooperative relationship.Parents' Cognitions
In studies of attachment, there has long been an emphasis on the “internal working models” that children form to represent the security or insecurity of their attachments to their parents. Grusec and Ungerer (Chapter 11, this volume) describe a body of research on a reciprocal parental cognition: an internal representation of caregiving. Parents of children with secure attachments typically have positive internal representations, which have been shown to be associated with many positive aspects of parental behavior. These parents' perceptions of their children and their children's emotions are realistic and accurate. They are able to acknowledge the children's negative characteristics and emotions as well as the positive ones, but their overall stance is one of acceptance. They tend to respect their children's autonomy and typically enjoy the parenting role. By contrast, mothers of [Page 444]insecurely attached children tend to have distorted caregiving representations, Grusec and Ungerer say: “instead of having open and essentially veridical perceptions of their children's attachment needs, their view of their children is distorted by selective attention and by the misinterpretation of their children's emotional cues.” The patterns of interaction that are then generated—involving not only the parents' cognitions but presumably the child's as well—are such as to hinder the development of agency and emotion regulation in the children, and to keep them from developing effective strategies for getting their needs met.
When parents are engaged in moment-to-moment problem solving with their children, or balancing a set of goals in arriving at an action plan, how fully are they “cognizing” these processes? Often, not fully at all. As Dix and Branca (Chapter 9, this volume) note, parental reactions may be quick and automatic, rather than conscious and deliberate. When situations recur frequently, they say, parents acquire habitual “perception-motivation-action schemata” that run quickly and efficiently, with very little conscious awareness, on the parent's part, of having selected goals or engaged in problem solving. “Automatic” parenting can happen not only because of habituation but also because of parents' unthinking adoption of cultural practices and folk beliefs about what “works” with children. Holden and Hawk (Chapter 10, this volume) argue that the more automatic parents' reactions become, the less information they take in about contextual factors that might make their child rearing more adaptive. Indeed, auto-maticity can be seen as something that locks in an existing pattern of interaction and stands in the way of the kind of transformations that might otherwise take place. Holden and Hawk point to a counterweight to automatic parental responding, namely that a good deal of parents' thought about how they rear their children can occur outside the immediate context of interactions with children. parents who may have reacted automatically during an encounter with a child often reflect later on what transpired— what motivated the child, why they themselves reacted the way they did, how effective their reaction was, and how they should deal with growing issues when they recur. Sometimes they talk about these things with a spouse or friend, or they may seek information from books, newspaper columns, or electronic sources. Holden and Hawk call this aspect of parenting “meta-parenting” (i.e., thinking about parenting) and argue that it is a promising arena for intervention, in that when parents can be led to reflect constructively about their interactions with their children, this can lead to parents abandoning dysfunctional forms of parenting in favor of more effective ones. Holden and Hawk note, however, that there are impediments to such changes—lack of parental resources, acute or chronic family stress, lack of social support, parental overattention to immediate rather than long-term goals, and weak commitment by parents to their children's interests.Interventions
Cavell and Strand (Chapter 19, this volume) consider the implications of an interactionist point of view for clinical interventions designed to improve the functioning of aggressive children. They strongly challenge the view that the first step toward remediation ought to be forcing the child to comply with parental directives—by close monitoring and, if necessary, by punishment for noncompliance. Cavell and Strand agree that parents should never condone or endorse their children's antisocial behavior, but they argue that remediation efforts should not focus primarily on trying to change specific actions or habits in the child's repertoire. Instead, remediation should focus on what is needed to repair and sustain what they call a “socializing relationship,” one of positive reciprocity between parent and child. They outline a program for helping parents to move in this direction. one important ingredient of a positive socializing relationship, they say, is a high ratio of positive exchanges to negative exchanges. Another is conveyance to the child of a sense of belonging in the family. Still another is for the parent to focus at least as much on long-term goals as on immediate ones. of great importance is helping parents to recognize that they cannot accomplish everything at once, so that they must be selective about which socialization issues should have high priority and which can be set aside temporarily.
[Page 445]Cavell and Strand's program, then, puts into a practical application plan many of the aspects of effective parenting that are stressed in the chapters discussed above: moment-to-moment problem solving, goal balancing, and cognitive reflection. From an interactionist perspective, we should note that although it makes sense to help parents become more effective participants in a socializing relationship, this volume's emphasis on children as agents suggests that they too might benefit from child-focused interventions designed to complement the ones designed by Cavell and Strand for parents. Byrne (Chapter 12, this volume), in her discussion of parent-child interaction in families with a depressed parent, emphasizes the importance of involving children in remediation efforts. Perhaps it is time to rethink the therapies used with children from troubled families, bringing more into focus their role as participants in a socializing relationship.Parental Sense of Efficacy
For some parents, a major impediment to adopting effective parenting practices is a pervasive feeling that they cannot influence their child. Sometimes parents are afraid of a child who is coercive toward them or feel helpless in the face of such behavior; they feel that they lack the power to control the child. They back off from efforts to teach or control the child, and they avoid confrontations. under these conditions, the family becomes dysfunctional. A number of chapters in this volume discuss the implication of a parent having a low sense of parental efficacy. Grusec and Ungerer (Chapter 11) discuss the finding that, as might be expected, parents who lack social support, who are depressed, or who are dealing with a child who is temperamentally especially difficult typically are unskillful parents in many respects. The fact that they also believe themselves to be ineffective comes as no surprise—perhaps they are simply being realistic and feel ineffective because they are ineffective.
Grusec and ungerer, however, cite evidence that feelings of self-efficacy are not merely artifactual. These feelings, they say, mediate the relationship between such things as difficult child temperament and effectiveness in parenting, so that if parents of a difficult child come to believe that they can successfully parent the child, their parenting will not be derailed by the child's difficult temperament. In other words, parents' perceptions of their own efficacy have consequences in affecting the dynamics of parent-child interaction. Grusec and Ungerer point to some of these dynamics: Parents with a low sense of efficacy, they say, become preoccupied with themselves and progressively more unresponsive, and thus they have increasing difficulty reading children's cues and adapting their own actions appropriately to the current context and to the child's emotional states. Such parents set less exacting standards for their children and undergo a loss of motivation to parent well. All these things lead to negative child outcomes, which then support the parents' maladaptive cognitions. A negative cycle is maintained.
For a number of years, Bugental and colleagues have conducted studies focused on a subgroup of mothers who believe that negative child-rearing events are more under the control of the child than under the mothers' control. Such mothers experience high levels of stress (as indexed by high levels of cortisol) in response to their children's distress, and they do not habituate to stress as successfully as other mothers (see Bugental, Olster, and Martorell, Chapter 2, this volume). Furthermore, when under stress and hormonally aroused, mothers who see themselves as relatively powerless have been found to use harsh discipline and inappropriate levels of physical force with their children. Patterson (1980), in his work with the families of aggressive children, has described parents—in particular, mothers—who have given up on attempts to control their children, who yield to a child's coercion, and who indeed become afraid of the child.
Most parents, of course, do not consider themselves 100% efficacious. Indeed, most accurately recognize that there are occasions on which they cannot realistically expect to control what their children do or how they react. They realize, too, that they cannot always prepare their children for entry into a society that is changing rapidly, and where the parent's own skills and knowledge may no longer apply. Most parents, however, do maintain a general [Page 446]sense of being able to parent children effectively, meaning that they feel able to manage children's routines, teach them acceptable ways of behaving, administer discipline when necessary, and keep track of their whereabouts—all of this without too much dissention and while giving children the love and support they need to become competent adults. In this sense, the large majority of parents do maintain a sense of being adequately “in charge” through their children's growth years and sometimes beyond. The authority they possess is sometimes difficult to see in action: As Baumrind (1971) noted some years ago, some parents seem to have authority even though they seldom seem to exercise it. Their children comply without being required to. Under these conditions, of course, parents can feel fully effective. parental self-confidence would appear to be a necessary—or at least greatly helpful—factor in enabling parents to engage in reflective “meta-parenting,” moment-to-moment problem solving, and effective balancing between parents' goals and children's goals.Hierarchy in the Parent-Child Relationship
In all societies, parents are expected to exercise authority over their children as part of their social responsibility for the behavior of the children outside the home. This hierarchical view of the parent-child relationship seems to run counter to the one we have been emphasizing so far, that is, a parent-child relationship of reciprocity and mutuality. Kuczynski (see Chapter 1, this volume) has considerably advanced our thinking on this issue by offering distinctions between power and agency. First of all, he argues that we have overstressed the vertical elements and underestimated the horizontal elements of power between parent and child. The horizontal elements include mutual conflict and/or cooperation, child assertion and negotiation, and mutual responsiveness.
Kuczynski has argued further that parents and children are equally agentic, even when they are functioning within a hierarchical power structure. That is, both parent and child have inherent capacity for autonomy (i.e., have a strong motive to be self-determining and to avoid being dominated by others). Additionally, both have the capacity to create meanings and interpret events, and these meanings and interpretations affect the course of action an individual agent adopts. These capacities are manifested through agentic action irrespective of social power. As Cummings and Schermerhorn put it (see Chapter 5, this volume), agency is self-initiated, intentional action. Kuczynski (citing Giddens) says that agency implies being able to deploy a range of causal powers vis-à-vis one's partners in interaction. Kuczynski says: “A strong assumption of the bilateral model is that the parent and child are equally agents.” Indeed, several chapters in this volume attest amply to the fact that children do indeed exercise agency vis-à-vis their parents (Cummings and Schermerhorn, Chapter 5; Morrow, Chapter 6; Kent and Pepler, Chapter 7; and Parke et al., Chapter 13).
Kuczynski refers to the joint functioning of bilateral agency and hierarchical power as “interdependent asymmetry.” Though young children lack most of the resources that constitute the usual sources of power used in interactions between human beings, they do have certain resources, such as their ability to stop crying when parents respond to their cries appropriately, that give them the power to influence parents. As Kuczynski notes, even very young children have relational resources, in that they can draw on their parents' emotional commitment to them and responsibility for them in a way they never could with strangers. In addition, parents often cede power to children in the interest of promoting the child's autonomy or enhancing the mutuality of the parent-child relationship. Thus, they may acquiesce to a 4-year-old's bargaining over a parental directive when they could have asserted power instead. Furthermore, Kuczynski notes that people lower in hierarchical power structures, including people oppressed by despotic political power, have their own hidden and indirect ways of striking back; children, too, can evade or sabotage the influence attempts of powerful parents. Additionally, the effectiveness of parental power-assertion is limited by the fact that children sometimes simply cannot do what parents want to require of them. Most of all, [Page 447]Kuczynski argues, the reciprocity and mutuality of parent-child relations necessarily constrain parents from exercising the power that they possess. The burden of his argument, then, seems to be that parent-child relationships are seldom as hierarchical as they might seem.
Kuczynski sees this as a good thing. A strong assumption throughout this volume is that strictly hierarchical relationships between parents and children seriously constrain children's development. One of the most fully documented findings in research on parent-child interaction is that when parents are coercive and exercise unmitigated power assertion, this is associated with less successful socialization of their children. Parenting that involves not only firmness but also empathy, sensitivity to children's needs, and responsiveness to their signals, on the other hand, is associated with children's growing cognitive and social competence. It is important to reiterate that for this sensitive style of parenting to be effective, it must be accompanied by firmness in enforcing reasonable parental demands.
This conclusion is based mainly on work with children in modern industrial societies. The question must be raised: How limited is this formulation to present times in modern Western societies? Trommsdorff and Kornadt (Chapter14, this volume) say, “ The phenomenon of bidirectionality is not simply a universal and general principle of parent-child relations. Instead, the degree to which children's behavior influences their parents' behavior and thereby affects subsequent interaction circles depends on several sociocultural conditions.” They provide a comprehensive account of what some of these conditions are. They suggest, for example, that the closer a society is to a subsistence economic level, the fewer degrees of freedom parents have in terms of accommodating to their children— strict control by parents and obedience by children are the only options. As the cross-cultural work by the Whitings (Whiting & Edwards, 1988; Whiting & Whiting, 1975) has shown, there are simple societies in which parental authority is absolute and unquestioned, and where very little negotiation occurs between parents and children. In fact, one might say that there is very little reciprocity of any kind, except perhaps at the time of breast-feeding and through the bodily adjustments parents make when carrying or sleeping with a young child. parents in these cultures seldom talk to or with their children, certainly do not bargain with them, and frequently leave them in the care of older siblings while the parents are doing agricultural or other work. one might say that a reciprocal relationship of the sort we have been describing so far hardly exists, yet the children know full well which family they belong to, who is responsible for them, and whom they must obey. We can only assume that they are successfully socialized for the roles and functions their societies will require them to undertake when they are grown.
Through many periods of human history, parents have had unquestioned authority over major aspects of children's lives—they could sell a child, marry off a child at a young age without regard to the child's preferences, send the child out to heavy and dangerous work, or punish the child in any way they chose. of course, although parents had the right to do these things, many no doubt loved their children and were as kind as possible to them. Still, there were serious constraints implicit in the harsh conditions under which many families lived. Fathers primarily exercised autocratic control, and mothers often were limited in the kind of softer counterbalance they could provide. in some settings, mothers had little power to protect children from a father's arbitrary actions, or even to develop a reciprocal relationship with the child—mothers had heavy work to do and were themselves under the father's control, so that they had to act as the father's agent vis-à-vis the children. By modern standards, children were often abused and neglected. in short, unmitigated power assertion by parents and obedience by children has been a prevailing mode of parent-child interaction during many periods of history and in many cultural settings.
Kuczynski, of course, is quite aware of the cultural and historical variations in parental power and the way it is exercised. Still, he has implied that children can have equal agency with their parents even when the power differential is quite great. i question whether this is possible at the higher levels of parental power that have prevailed at many times and places in the past, and that still prevail in some [Page 448]present-day societies. When parents exercise autocratic power, it would seem to be a necessary consequence that children's agency is constrained. When, for example, children are required to be seen but not heard when in the presence of powerful adults, there is no dialogue, no give and take, no room for children to negotiate with their parents or even to make their preferences known. Kuczynski's effort to decouple agency and power may make sense for modern Western family relationships (though this has been challenged—see Maccoby, 1999), but I would argue that when parents in other cultures and at earlier times have exercised unmitigated power, they have thereby limited the actual agency that is possible for their children. That is, children subject to such parenting are very limited in the “range of causal powers” they can exercise toward their parents. This type of constraint, however, may not produce depression, learned helplessness, passivity, or hidden anger in the way it might in our society. Perhaps these consequences occur only when a society allows children to expect more freedom of action than they have.
Kuczynski is right, I believe, in saying that when we equate parental power assertion with parental influence and with an imbalance between parental and child agency, we are thinking unilaterally, in a way that constrains our ability to understand and embrace bidirectionality. From the standpoint of the major message this volume seeks to convey, this is a serious dilemma.The Legitimacy of Parental Authority
Cummings and Schermerhorn (Chapter 5, this volume) offer a way to make progress in solving this dilemma. They distinguish between (a) the exercise of agency—that is, executing a plan and/or acting so as to try to achieve actual influence on an interaction partner—and (b) the sense of agency, meaning the sense of control over one's own actions as well as over events. Readers will recognize the kinship of “sense of agency” with Bandura's (1977) “self-efficacy” concept. Up to this point in this chapter, we have discussed parental efficacy but not the sense of efficacy experienced by children in connection with their relationship with parents. For either parent or child, I would suggest, it is important to note that the sense of efficacy applies within spheres in which one can reasonably expect to exert influence. Most of us do not experience any loss in our sense of agency when we cannot ride a large wave on a surfboard. It is something we don't aspire to and is not expected of us. parents differ greatly in what they see as their legitimate and socially expected sphere of authority. Their sense of parental efficacy should depend directly on how they define this sphere. The flip side of parental self-efficacy is the perceptions of children— their sense of confidence and trust in the parents' fair exercise of parental authority, and how they construe their own range of agency. Clearly, children have a wide range of activities that they have no expectation of being allowed to engage in—driving a car, using a credit card, choosing their own doctor, even crossing a dangerous street—and they understand that the right to make decisions about which activities are allowable for a child at what age belongs in the adult sphere. Thus, children experience no loss of their sense of agency when their parents don't allow them to do engage in these activities. Children's actual agency is constrained, but their sense of agency is not. Children's beliefs in the rightness of parents having authority in certain spheres helps to legitimate the authority relations between parents and children and supports a parental sense of efficacy.
What determines children's concepts of what is within their own and their parents' proper sphere of action? Here we come to a distinction that has been important in much of the writing about hierarchical organizations but has been given less attention than it deserves in thinking about parent-child relationships, namely, that between authority that is legitimate and authority that is not. Twenty-five years ago, Damon (1977) explored children's understanding of their parents' authority in what he referred to as the “social world” of children. He found that the fact that parents were bigger, stronger, and more knowledgeable than young children was sufficient to legitimize parental authority in the eyes of those children. In middle childhood, children grow somewhat more sophisticated about authority: The idea of reciprocation enters their thinking, so that a child is thought to owe a [Page 449]parent obedience because of all the things parents do for the child. There was little doubt in the minds of the children in Damon's study (aged 4 to 9 years, and from relatively advantaged families in the United States) that parents have legitimate authority over their children.
I would argue that hierarchy is an essential ingredient in the parent-child relationship. That is, for socialization to be successful, parents must have authority, and parents and children must have reasonably congruent conceptions concerning what the sphere of parental authority encompasses. Research on leadership in business organizations and other task-oriented groups indicates that individual qualities of the person in charge of a group's activities do not matter greatly when it comes to the group's functioning. What matters is that someone is designated to fill the role of supervisor or director, and that this person actively takes on the management role and fulfills the leadership functions.
Every family has internal management functions that must be undertaken by someone, and the laws of nature and of societies both decree that it is the parents who must fulfill the managerial role. We have seen that in families where the authority relationships are reversed and children control their parents—through coercion or because parents are dysfunctional and children must take charge of the household—the children do not fare well. Managerial functions include setting rules for children's conduct; establishing routines for meals, bedtimes, and household chores; and coordinating the schedules of family members in such a way that necessary family activities can be performed. Of course, much goes on in families other than the carrying out of such managerial functions. When it comes to soothing children when they are upset, listening to them, attempting to understand their moods and states of mind, and planning for their futures, hierarchy can be relatively unimportant. For the managerial functions, however—particularly those associated with short-term parental goals—some amount of hierarchy is inevitable.
Kuczynski may be correct that in the past, researchers overemphasized the vertical elements of power between parent and child, but we should not react by underestimating them now. Rather, let us note that the vertical elements can coexist harmoniously with the horizontal ones. Several chapters in this volume show that in well-functioning families, as children grow older there is a good deal of negotiation between parents and children about the spheres in which children have the right to exercise autonomy and those that should continue to rest under parental authority. Parents can draw even fairly young children into the decision-making processes, to the benefit of family relationships. This does not change the fact, however, that the parents are in charge when it comes to managerial functions. Exercise of parental power need not threaten close bilateral relationships so long as its legitimacy is understood and accepted by all parties.
Here is a hypothesis: When absolute parental power is legitimated by social customs, laws, and beliefs, parents can function successfully in a largely power-assertive mode, and the level of reciprocity with children can be minimal. Under such a regime, children can develop well and exercise agency in the spheres that are available to them, such as in interaction with peers or by using parents and other powerful adults as models for learning needed skills and values. A parent exercising fully legitimated power commands children's attention, and the children can identify with such a parent. Indeed, a child can experience a parent's dealings with the outside world as personal agency executed by proxy, in the child's own interests. Furthermore, the children themselves collaborate in legitimizing their parents' power because they come to share the community-wide assumptions that what their parents do is fair and right. Under these circumstances, they experience little loss of a sense of agency because they do not attempt to act in spheres they see as being outside their own circumscribed role.
We must take note of the much more reciprocal, indulgent mode of interaction between mothers and young children that is dominant in East Asian societies. There is no reason to believe that this pattern is a recent one; indeed, it may well have been in place for centuries. These societies have been highly hierarchical, and parents have had great power to determine their children's occupations, marriage partners, and stations in life. What we see, then, is that [Page 450]when societies legitimate absolute parental power, parents sometimes exercise this power coercively, with minimal give-and-take with their children. Some, however, function much more in the mode of reciprocity. In either case, the parent maintains authority that is understood by all parties, and the child does not sacrifice a sense of agency. of course, children emerging from these two kinds of parenting regimes may have systematically different kinds of adult relationships, but this is a large issue—relating to the whole field of personality and culture—that is far afield from the concerns of this volume.
The other side of the hypothesis is that when social legitimation of parental power is weakened, parents can most successfully achieve authority by means other than direct power assertion. one such means is to draw children into reciprocal relationships in such a way that children are motivated to cooperate with their parents' agendas. Such means and processes are examined in detail in this volume.
We could speculate at length about the conditions that legitimate or de-legitimate parental authority. We have seen that in subsistence economies, parental authority tends to be absolute; perhaps that is true as well in societies with strongly fundamentalist religions. on the other hand, the public ideology of democratic societies presumably tips the balance toward de-legitimizing authoritarian processes of all kinds, including those within the family. The children's rights movement implies limitations on parents' rights to exercise unmitigated power over children. In individualist societies, as distinct from collectivist ones, great value is placed on the right of individuals to pursue their own ends without interference from others. At the libertarian extreme, people are supposed to leave each other alone as far as humanly possible, and within this ethos many people, including parents, are uncomfortable when exercising authority and want to treat subordinates, including children, in as egalitarian a manner as possible. In some cases, parents may not want to manage and control their children's lives as fully as is actually necessary for successful socialization.
Modern societies are changing so rapidly that it is difficult to pinpoint how changes in parenting fit in with the larger cultural trends. Parke and colleagues (Chapter 13, this volume) point to the pervasive influence of television and films in guiding our assumptions about what is, and should be, normative. parents are often depicted as bumbling and fallible, and children as smart and deserving. Love between them is shown as enabling them to surmount their difficulties. The assumption seems to be that if there is underlying affection between the generations, children will grow up wanting to do the right thing. The concept of parental authority having its own legitimacy seems to be fading in the media and other public expressions of values concerning parenting.
What this volume tells us is that regardless of the ethos of the larger society regarding parents' and children's rights, parents can achieve legitimate authority by entering into a relationship of reciprocity and mutual trust with their children. By this means they can successfully guide their children into becoming adequately prosocial and competent adults.Effects of Parenting on the Parents Themselves
It is important to note that parents, when they engage in reciprocal interaction with children, are themselves changed. palkovitz and colleagues (Chapter 15, this volume) make a convincing case that the experience of being a parent is a formative one for adult development. As they say, this is not merely a matter of acknowledging that children influence parents as well as vice versa. The birth of children taps new, intense emotions and motivations in parents. As palkovitz and colleagues say, “active engagement in parenting roles and behaviors creates a varied, multilayered context of relationships, interactions, roles, social supports, and challenges that span significant periods of time in parents' lives.” presumably, adults can experience “generativity”—the realm of personal development and identity formation that Erikson believed most characterizes adulthood—in contexts other than that provided by parenting. parenting, however, surely is unique in the range and depth of opportunities it provides for this aspect of adult development.[Page 451]Conclusion
The chapters in this volume tell us that there is no single recipe for successful parenting. It would be hard to develop, from what is presented here, a list of “do's” and “don'ts” for parents to follow, other than, perhaps, “know your child.” What is clear is that the development of a close, effective parent-child relationship involves a high level of parental commitment, willingness to be available to children and to take the time to listen to them, and the ability on the part of parents to keep their children's individual interests and agendas in mind, along with the parents' own. These things take effort, coordination, planning, sacrifice, motivation, and resources. Parents vary greatly in their ability and willingness to mobilize these things, and consequently they vary greatly in effectiveness.
Promising lines of research could further explore the conditions that underlie variations in how close a socializing relationship can be formed between parent and child. The next step could explore more fully how such relationships play out in terms of parental effectiveness. Many of the studies reported in this volume have laid the groundwork for the next body of work. It is to be hoped that experimental interventions can be increasingly employed to identify the possibilities and limits of producing change.
This volume has provided a fascinating picture of how parenting functions in the modern world, how it varies among families, and how it is changing at this point in historic time. It moves us away from thinking about parenting as a manifestation of fixed parental traits or styles. It focuses on the parenting processes that intervene between societal contexts for family life and/or parental traits, and child outcomes. A number of chapters in this volume have made good use of improved methods of modeling to clarify the way these mediating processes work. The volume also alerts us to the profound changes in parenting that take place, and that must take place, as children grow from infancy through adolescence. Furthermore, it embarks on the difficult process of analyzing how parent-child relationships that prevail at early points in development set the stage for what will happen between parent and child at later times. It provides some guidelines for ways in which
For many years, students of socialization have been shifting away from the simplistic, top-down views of child rearing that emerged from the reinforcement learning theories that dominated the mid-20th century. These shifts have involved a large variety of research methods and theories, and up to now their fundamental coherence could hardly be seen. This volume has brought together widely disparate bodies of work that have in common an essentially bidirectional point of view concerning parenting and socialization processes. In so doing, it has illuminated a level of coherence that was not evident before.References1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavior change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191(1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monographs, 4(1, pt. 2).(2001). Interpersonal influence in family systems: A social-relations model analysis. Child Development, 72, 1179–1197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00341(The social world of the child. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.2002). Mediation, moderation, and mechanisms in how parenting affects children's aggressive behavior. In J. G.Borkowski, S. L.Ramey, & M.Bristol-Powers (Eds.), Parenting and the child's world: Influences on academic, intellectual, and social-emotional development(pp. 215–229). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.(2000). Development of children's knowledge about the mental world. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 24, 15–23. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/016502500383421(1997). Mutually responsive orientation between mothers and their young children: Implications for early socialization. Child Development, 68, 908–923.(1998). The two sexes: Growing up apart, coming together. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(1999). The uniqueness of the parent-child relationship. In W. A.Collins & B.Laursen (Eds.), Relationships as developmental contexts (The Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology, Vol. 30). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.((in press). The gender of child and parent as factors in family dynamics. In parenting can adapt to changing social conditions and changing social values. For many years, students of socialization have been shifting away from the simplistic, top-down views of child rearing that emerged from the reinforcement learning theories that dominated the mid-20th century. These shifts have involved a large variety of research methods and theories, and up to now their fundamental coherence could hardly be seen. This volume has brought together widely disparate bodies of work that have in common an essentially bidirectional point of view concerning parenting and socialization processes. In so doing, it has illuminated a level of coherence that was not evident before.A.Booth & C.Crouter (Eds.), Children's influence on family dynamics: The neglected side of family dynamics. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.[Page 452]1983). Socialization in the context of the family: Parent-child interaction. In E. M.Hetherington (Ed.) & P. H.Mussen (Series Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 4. Socialization, personality, and social development(pp. 1–101). New York: Wiley., & (1980). Mothers, the unacknowledged victims. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 45.(Whiting, B. B., & Edwards, C. P. (Eds.). (1988). Children of different worlds: The formation of social behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.1975). Children of six cultures: A psycho-cultural analysis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press., & (
About the Editor[Page 481]
Leon Kuczynski is a Professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Toronto and was a Visiting Associate Scientist for 6 years at the Laboratory of Developmental Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, prior to his current position. His research concerns parent-child interactions, parent-child relationships, socialization, and children's social development. He is also interested in parental depression and child abuse. He is a coauthor (with Joan Grusec) ofParenting and Children's Internalization of Values: A Handbook of Contemporary Theory.[Page 482]
About the Contributors[Page 483]
David W. Appleby is Associate Professor of Counseling and Family and Consumer Sciences at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. His area of study is fathering, with particular interest in divorced men's relationship to their children. He is also a private practice therapist and divorce mediator.
Sylvia H. Branca is pursuing her PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research examines cognitive processes in parenting, the development of positive parent-child relationships, and links between basic research and policies affecting children and families.
Daphne B. Bugental is Professor of Developmental and Social Psychology within the Department of Psychology and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Human Development at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research is concerned with the influence of cognitive, affective, and neurohormonal variables within conflictual family systems, with a particular focus on violence and violence prevention. Her work has been published in journals within the fields of social and developmental psychology, and she has contributed chapters to theAnnual Review of Psychology, theHandbook of Child Psychology, theHandbook of Parenting, and theReview of Personality and Social Psychology.
Carolyn Byrne, RN, PhD, is a Professor and Dean of Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, and a researcher affiliated with the System-Linked Research Unit at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Her research interests include the mental health of children and families.
Timothy A. Cavell, PhD, is Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arkansas. His research interests include interventions for aggressive children, the prevention of delinquency and substance abuse, the self-systems of aggressive children, and the assessment of social competence and peer relations in children and adolescents.
W. Andrew Collins is Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota. His research interests include parent-child and peer relationships, romantic relationships in adolescence and young adulthood, and transitional processes in development.
William L. Cook is Associate Director of Psychiatry Research at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. He received his PhD in Family Studies from the University of Connecticut in 1987 and was an NIMH postdoctoral scholar at the UCLA Family Project. His expertise is the quantitative analysis of interpersonal systems. A former student of David A. Kenny, he pioneered the application of the Social Relations Model to family data. In 1994, he received a National Science Foundation grant to investigate attachment relationships within families. He has published results from this project in theJournal of Personality and Social Psychology andChild Development.
[Page 484]E. Mark Cummings, PhD, holds the Notre Dame Chair in Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana. He is the author of numerous research papers and chapters on family functioning and children's adjustment and is the coauthor or coeditor of several books, including Children and Marital Conflict: The Impact of Family Dispute and Resolution; Attachment in the Preschool Years: Theory, Research, and Intervention; Altruism and Aggression: Biological and Social Origins; and Developmental Psychopathology and Family Process: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications.
Kerry Daly is a Professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition and is one of the founding directors of the Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. His current qualitative research interests focus on the way that families negotiate and navigate time pressures in their lives, the changing meaning of fatherhood, and the challenges families face in trying to harmonize their work and family life.
Jessica M. Dennis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research interests include the social development of children from middle childhood to adolescence, emphasizing family-peer linkages and the effects of economic difficulties on family functioning.
Theodore Dix is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. He studies cognitive, affective, and motivational processes that regulate effective and dysfunctional parent-child interaction. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and winner of the George A. Miller Award (1996) for outstanding paper in general psychology.
Mary L. Flyr is a Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research interests include the social development of children from preschool through middle childhood as influenced by family and peers, with particular attention to friendship.
Joan E. Grusec, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include socialization processes, parenting strategies, and parenting cognitions and affect. Recent work has considered the role of culture in parent-child relationships and outcomes of parenting. She is currently an Associate Editor ofDevelopmental Psychology.
Carol Kozak Hawk is a graduate student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. She completed a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin in 1998 while continuing her work in the computer industry. Current research interests include factors affecting parent-child interactions, assessment of parent training and intervention programs, and child outcome improvement in stressed environments.
George W. Holden is Professor and Associate Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.A. and PhD in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Society and a member of the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. His research interests include parent-child relationships, parental social cognition, and the problem of family violence. Holden is the author ofParents and the Dynamics of Child Rearing and a co-editor ofChildren Exposed to Marital Violence andThe Handbook of Family Measurement Techniques, volumes 2 and 3.
[Page 485]Erin Kramer Holmes is a doctoral student in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests lie in parent-child relationships, with a particular focus on co-parenting and its effect on fathers' relationships with their children.
Donald Kent is currently working toward the completion of his doctoral dissertation at York University. He received his M.A. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in 1996. His primary research interests lie in the area of antecedents to delinquency and adult criminality. He is the Senior Research Analyst with the Ministry of Public Safety and Security in Toronto, Canada. He advises policing agencies and ministry stakeholders on a wide variety of issues and is currently designing an evaluation framework for the Ontario Sex Offender Registry and Ontario's Organized Crime Initiative.
Colleen M. Killian is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and a research associate at West Ed. Inc. Her research interests include the links between academic and social competence in Euro-American and ethnic minority families, and the family antecedents that influence academic and social competence.
Mina Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Vassar College. Her primary research interest lies in the area of children's social development, with specific concern for how parents socialize their children to become socially and emotionally competent. In her research, she has investigated the effects of both the marital relationship and parental emotional expressiveness on the quality of children's peer relationships and has extended this line of research to the study of ethnic minority families and the development of social competence in ethnic minority children.
Yuiko Koguchi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Her research interests include social development in children, parent-child relationships, and the socialization of sibling relationships in Western and Japanese cultures.
Hans-Joachim Kornadt is Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at the University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken, and adviser to the University of Erfurt. He received his PhD from the University of Marburg. From 1964 to 1966, he carried out research in East Africa, and from 1968 to 1984, he was vice-director of the Social-Psychological Research Center for Development Planning in Saarbrücken. Since 1978, he has been involved in research on the development of social motives and socialization in East Asia, Southeast-Asia, and East Germany. He was awarded the Japanese-German Research Award (Humboldt/JSPS), is a former President of the German Psychological Association, and currently is President of the German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences.
Stephanie L. Kuiack, MSc, is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. Her research interests include intergenerational relationships, with a focus on extended family.
Susan Lollis, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Her research has focused on bidirectional influences between parents and children, with particular interest in the socialization of care and justice within the family and the understanding of conflict. She is currently on the Advisory Board for theJournal of Social and Personal Relationships.
[Page 486]Eleanor E. Maccoby received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1950. She taught at Harvard University for a number of years before going to Stanford University in 1958. At Stanford, she served as a Professor of Developmental Psychology and chaired the Stanford Psychology Department from 1973 to 1976; she is now emerita. She has written numerous books, papers, and chapters on parent-child interaction, gender differentiation in development, and family organization and disorganization. She has received awards for distinguished scientific contributions from the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the American Educational Research Association; is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1993.
Stephanie D. Madsen received her PhD in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2001. She is now Assistant Professor of psychology at Western Maryland College. Her research interests include close relationships, and her current research is concerned with romantic relationships in adolescence and young adulthood.
Loren D. Marks is an Assistant Professor of Family, Child, and Consumer Studies at Louisiana State University. His research interests include parent-child relationships, with a focus on the connections between faith involvement and individual and family development.
Gabriela A. Martorell is an Assistant Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology at Portland State University. Her work is concerned with neurohormonal influences on attachment processes and the role of affect and subjective stress on information processing and decision making. She has presented her work at child development conferences and has published in the field of developmental psychology.
David J. McDowell is a Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. His research interests include parental influences (including influence of fathers) on children's social and emotional development in middle childhood.
Virginia Morrow, PhD, is Research Lecturer, Department of Health and Social Care, Brunel University. Her research interests include the history and sociology of childhood, the sociology of gender, social capital, child labor, children's and young people's perspectives on their environments, children's rights, qualitative research methods, and the ethics of social research.
Joan E. Norris, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Guelph, Ontario. Her research focuses on intergenerational relationships in later life, with a particular focus on parent-adult child interaction.
Thomas G. O'Connor, PhD, is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. His research interests are concerned with behavioral genetics, family systems theory, attachment theory, and the role of early experiences on development.
Deborah H. Olster is currently a Senior Advisor in the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health. She was formerly a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The focus of her research is the neuroendocrine regulation of reproductive function in a variety of animal models, including rodents, sheep, birds, and nonhuman primates. Specific research foci have included sexual differentiation, sexual maturation, reproductive dysfunction related to obesity and stress, and seasonal breeding. Her work is published in various journals in the fields of physiology, endocrinology, and behavior.
[Page 487]Rob Palkovitz is Professor of Individual and Family Studies at the University of Delaware. His research interests are in intergenerational relationships and development, with a particular emphasis on the relationships between patterns of father involvement and men's adult development.
Ross D. Parke is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Family Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His research interests include the role of fathers in children's development, family and peer relationships, and the role of ethnicity in family relationships. He is editor of theJournal of Family Psychology and president of the Society for Research in Child Development.
Debra Pepler is Professor of Psychology at York University and Director of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution. She received her PhD in 1979 from the University of Waterloo. Her research, concentrating on children at risk for developing antisocial behaviors, has earned her the Contribution to Knowledge Award from the Psychology Foundation of Canada and the Educator of the Year Award from Phi Delta Kappa (Toronto). She is currently a consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health to document the role of peers in the development of antisocial behavior problems.
Michael W. Pratt, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Psychology and University Research Professor (2001–2002) at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. His research interests are life-span social cognitive development and narrative.
Alice C. Schermerhorn, M.S., is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include family relationships, marital functioning and conflict, and child functioning. In particular, she is interested in cognitive processes in children that are associated with marital conflict. She is interested in attributions about others' reasons for behaving in certain ways and how particular family environments foster particular attributional tendencies. In addition, she is interested in change and stability in family functioning over time.
Sandra Simpkins is a Research Investigator in the Institute on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. In her research, she has examined children's peer relationships, after-school activities, and the links between developmental contexts, such as the family context, and children's relationships and activities.
Paul S. Strand, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University. His research examines the development of self-control and social cooperation among children. He is also concerned with how emerging verbal capacities relate to these constructs.
Gisela Trommsdorff, PhD, is Chair for Developmental Psychology and Cross-Cultural Psychology in the Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, Germany. Her research has included cross-cultural studies on socioemotional development with focus on empathy, emotion regulation, and prosocial behavior; intergenerational relations and the value of children; and social change and individual development. She has been a research fellow at several universities in Japan, editor or coeditor of several books and journals, and a member of editorial boards for various international journals. She has been appointed to several advisory boards of German and Swiss research institutions and evaluation committees and is Vice President of the German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences.
Judy Ungerer, PhD, is Associate Professor and head of the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney. Her research has focused on social-emotional [Page 488]development of children in normal and at-risk groups, with a particular interest in the role of parental cognitions, adjustment, and behavior. She is currently a member of the consortium responsible for designing and implementing the nationally representative Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children.
Margaret Wild, PhD, is Coordinator, Early Childhood and Family Studies Programs, University of California, Riverside. Her research interests include marital interaction and peer relationships, development of emotional regulation, social competency, research models, and family environments.