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CHAPTER 5 Middle Childhood! in the Context of the Family Eleanor E. Maccoby Between the time when children enter school and the time they reach adolescence, the family plays a crucial role in socialization, although its role is not so predominant as in the early childhood years. In middle childhood, teachers, peers, coaches, and others outside the family have more contact with the child than in early childhood, and they exercise varying degrees of influence. During this time, parents negotiate on behalf of the child with these other socialization agents, but their parenting functions are still exercised mainly through interaction with the child. Psychological research on parent-child interactions has heavily empha- sized infancy and the preschool period rather than later periods. In compiling a recent review of research on this topic, Maccoby and Martin ~ 1983) located more than three times as many studies on children under age 6 as on school- age children. Although the research on certain aspects of family-based so- cialization in the school-age period is thin, studies on family characteristics and their relationship to children's current or future deviance e.g., alco- holism, drug addiction, aggression, delinquency, depression present sub- stantial information on the school-age years Barrington and West, 1981; McCord, 1979; McCord and McCord, 1960; Pulkkinen, 1982; Robins, 1974; Robins and Ratctiff, 1980; Rutter, 1982~. This chapter reviews some of the major themes of existing work, identifies promising themes that appear in more recent writings, and suggests gaps that additional research might help to fill. 184
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CON17EXT OF THE FAMILY 185 Most research on socialization within the family has been concerned with individual differences, explaining why children vary in their personal attri- butes. The major hypothesis has been that such variation stems at least in part from differences in parental socialization of children. Many studies have looked for dimensions in which parents differ and have then examined the relationship between these variations among parents and the characteristics of their children. The early work was essentially linear in concept, having its origins in a view of socialization wherein parents, by means of reinforcement and dis- cipline, trained their children to carry out certain behaviors and avoid others. In addition, some researchers studied the development of children's moti- vation to pattern themselves after their parents' values and behaviors via the process of identification. While the concept of identification gave chil- dren a somewhat more active role in their own socialization than did simple reinforcement theories, socialization was still conceptualized primarily as a flow of influence from parents to children, with children acquiring sets of behavioral tendencies in the form of habits or motives. The characteristics of parents and children that were studied varied from narrow and specific to broad and abstract. The child outcome measures ranged from highly specific responses (e.g., the frequency of smiling) to global characteristics, such as intelligence or competence. On the parental side, specific characteristics such as the frequency with which parents rewarded or punished a given behavior were studied; at the opposite ex- treme, such general characteristics as warmth or permissiveness were as- sessed. Although the work did not deny that individuals' behavior varies from one situation to another the focus was to identify individual charac- teristics of both parent and child that had some stability across time and situations and to look for functional relationships between the parental characteristics as antecedents and the child characteristics as outcomes. A major refinement of this point of view has been the study of behavioral patterns, in both parents and children. The assumption underlying the study of parental patterns or clusters has been that the effect of a parental practice depends on the context of other parenting characteristics with which it occurs (see Baumrind, 1967, 1971; Becker, 1964~. Investigation of child behavioral patterns occurs in studies of attachment, in which it is argued that children's attachment is adequately characterized not by counting the frequency of specific behaviors, but only by studying clusters of behaviors taken in context (Sroufe and Waters, 1977~. This point of view has been applied primarily to infants and toddlers, while the trait approach remains predominant in studies that examine how parental practices influence the characteristics of preschool children.
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186 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD In recent years, a more interactive, less linear point of view has emerged. Researchers increasingly examine the effects of children on parents, the effects of parents on children, and cyclical processes. Little of this work, however, is developmental in concept. Researchers are only beginning to ask: How does parent-child interaction change with the developmental level of the child? Does a particular child-rearing style have a different impact on children of various ages ? How much does the impact of parental treatment of a school-age child depend on the relationship established with that child at earlier periods of development? How much are parents limited or facilitated in the relationship they can have and the child-rearing methods they can use with a school-age child by the characteristics that the child has developed during the first 6 years of life? The major contention of this chapter is that the process of child-rearing undergoes important changes as children develop, and that middle child- hood, with regard to parent-child relationships, has its own distinctive fea- tures. The chapter presents developmental changes that normally occur as children enter the middle childhood years, some of the concomitant changes in parents' child-rearing roles, and some of the more traditional socialization findings those concerned primarily with individual differences among school- age children and their parents. The chapter goes on to describe how parents differ from one another, then summarizes some of the major findings for this age period concerning the way parental variations relate to the variations among children in their personalities and social behavior. It takes up some of the differences among groups of parents (e.g., social class, ethnic, and family-structure groups) and considers some of the conditions that might bring these differences about. CHILD REARING AND DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGE Issues and Processes of Socialization Amount of Parent-Child Interaction As children enter the school-age years, there is a great decline in the amount of time they spend in their parents' presence and in the total amount of time their parents devote to them. Hill and Stafford (1980) reported in a time-use study that parents spend less than half as much time in caretaking, teaching, reading, talking, and playing with children ages 5-12 as they do with children of preschool age. The drop in interaction time is more pre- cipitous and occurs earlier with a lower parental education level. Other studies concur in finding this strong decline in interaction rates with the increasing age of the child (e.g., Baldwin, 1955~.
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CONTEXT OF THE FAMILY 187 Parent'Child issues There are important changes, too, in the kind of issues parents deal with in their day-to-day interactions with their children. Interactions with pre- schoolers focus on modesty, bedtime routines, control of temper tantrums, fighting with siblings or other children, eating and table manners, getting dressed by themselves, and attention seeking (Newson and Newson, 1968; Sears et al., 1957~. Some of these issues carry over into the school-age years (e.g., fighting, children's reactions to discipline). New issues emerge by age 7 (Newson and Newson, 19761: whether to require chores and how to enforce standards of performance; whether children should be paid for household work; how they can be encouraged to entertain themselves rather than relying on parents for activity planning; how to support them in their re- lationships with peers and whether to monitor their friendships and dis- courage or encourage contact with specific children. An important parental issue in middle childhood is how to keep track of children's whereabouts and activities now that they are spending more time away from home. With varying degrees of success, parents teach their chil- dren to inform them of their whereabouts at all times; parents often require either that children come directly home from school to discuss what they propose to do or that they check in by phone. An issue entirely new to middle childhood is how parents deal with the child's problems at school e.g., a child's unwillingness to go to school or a child's report of an encounter with the teacher (Newson and Newson, 1977~. Parents also become concemed about how much to become involved in the child's schoolwork. Roberts and colleagues ( 1981), working with an American longitudinal sample of children studied at ages 3 and 12, reported increasing parental emphasis on children's achievement during this period, a trend related primarily to their performance in school. Although there is reason to believe that the issues arising between parents and children change significantly as children enter and progress through the middle childhood period, data on these changes are limited, and many issues have been studied only minimally. We know little, for example, about what moral or ethical matters come up in family exchanges or how they are dealt with. We should be aware that the above discussion of issues proceeds from a rather culture-bound perspective. Weisner's chapter in this volume shows that in non-Western societies, in which most of the worId's children live, the 6-12 age period is when children enter the work world, contributing to the necessary survival functions of families-e.g., care of younger chil- dren, agricultural work, care of animals. In such societies, the issues that preoccupy Western parents may have little relevance.
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188 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD Techniques of Discipline Parents report that interactions with school-age children are in some respects easier than with preschoolers; for example, it may be possible to use reasoning rather than discipline. The children's increasing ability to discuss issues with their parents, however, is a mixed blessing; parents often weary of extended arguments and regret their children's increasing skill in catching their parents' inconsistencies. Studies consistently show a decline in the use of physical punishment as children get order (Clifford, 1959; Fawl, reported in Patterson, 1982; Newson and Newson, 1976~. Parents also decreasingly use distraction and physically moving the child away from forbidden or dangerous activities. At the same time, there is evidence of an increase, as children move from the preschool into the school-age years, in parents' using deprivation of privileges, appeals to the child's self-esteem or sense of humor, arousal of the child's sense of guilt, and reminders that children are responsible for what happens to them (Clifford, 1959; Roberts et al., 1981~. Threatening, ignoring, and isolating appear to decline from the time of school entrance to the later middle childhood years. Changes in Affectional Relationships If we assume that the issues and techniques of discipline change with children's development, as well as the nature of the parent-child relationship itself, we are on thin ground as far as research evidence is concerned. The work that is available does not reveal a consistent picture. Consider for example the role of affect in the relations between parents and children, taking positive affect first. Newson and Newson (1968) reported that, at age 4, the question of open displays of affection did not appear to be prob- lematic. In a majority of cases, both parents and children seemed to accept and value cuddling. By age 7 (Newson and Newson, 1976), many of the children were becoming circumspect, avoiding affectionate displays with their parents whenever a peer was present, although they still sought physical affection at private moments such as bedtime. From the parents' standpoint, mothers expressed continued readiness for physical contact with their chil- dren. The implication of this descriptive account is that it is primarily the children, rather than the parents, who pull away from physical affection and provide the impetus for whatever decline in such displays occurs with age. Shows of physical affection, of course, are only one aspect-and a fairly narrow one of the affectional relationship between parent and child. The
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CONTEXT OF THE FAMILY 189 detailed work on attachment that is now available in infancy and the early childhood years has no counterpart in research on middle childhood. While a few writers (Bow~by, 1969; Marvin, 1977) have studied the transition that occurs at about age 3 from proximity-seeking to more distal forms of at- tachment, few have examined transitions that occur beyond this point. Some years ago, Baldwin (1946), working with families in the Fels lon- gitudinal study, compared the relationships between parents and 3-year-olds with those between parents and 9-year-olds. At the younger age, higher levels of parental warmth were recorded on all the relevant measures: child centeredness, approval, acceptance, affection, and rapport. Parents of 9- year-olds were less warm in all these ways and more severe and critical. Lasko (1954), working with the same data but reporting on more age levels and differentiating the sample by birth order, reported that the decline in parental warmth was found primarily for firstborn children. She indicates that later-looms have an affectional relationship with their parents that is more stable over time. A recent report from another longitudinal study presents a different pic- ture. Roberts et al. (1981) reported a decrease, between the ages of 3 and 12, in displays of physical affection, but there was little change in the reported mean levels of enjoying parenting, having positive regard for the child, and having respect for the child's opinions and preferences. Thus it appears that although parental warmth is shown in different ways with older children, it may not shift downward, as Baldwin claimed. A third study (a cross-sectional one by Armentrout and Burger, 1972) asked children in grades 4 through 8 to describe certain aspects of their parents' child-rearing practices. The parental acceptance-rejection balance changed with the ages studied. For boys, acceptance by parents increased from the fourth to fifth grade, then declined; for girls, the peak was reached in the sixth grade and declined thereafter. The trends in displays of negative affect between parents and children are somewhat clearer than the trends for displays of positive affect. Generally, anger between parents and children declines as children move into the school years. Goodenough (1931) reported that the frequency of angry outbursts by children declined after the age of 18-24 months. Patterson (1982) re- ported a steady decline, between ages 2 and 15, in the frequency of coercive behavior directed by children toward other family members (whining, yell- ing, hitting, ignoring others' overtures), and Newson and Newson showed a decrease in the frequency of temper tantrums between the ages of 4 and 7. Concomitantly, a steady decrease occurred, from age 3 to age 6 to age 9, in the frequency of disciplinary encounters (Clifford, 1959~; that is, in conflictual incidents in which the parent directed the child to do something
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190 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD or to stop doing something and the child failed to comply. Such conflicts, especially when they culminate in physical punishment, often involve angry emotions for both parents and children. The finding that physical punish ment is much less frequent with school-age than preschool children indicates that parents and school-age children either have fewer conflicts or have reamed to deal with them without letting them escalate into highly emo- tional encounters. When school-age children do become angry, however, they do not recover from it as quickly as they did when younger (Clifford, 1959), and this means their parents must deal with the aftereffects of emo- tional outbursts sulkiness, depressed mood, avoidance of parents, or passive noncooperation. Information on the displays of positive and negative affect between parents and children gives us only a partial picture of their affective relationship. Attachment bonds within families presumably have more generalized man- ifestations and, with respect to such bonds, a number of important questions remain unanswered. What is the capacity of children in middle childhood to form strong bonds with new caretakers' What is the impact of disruption at this age of earlier-formed bonds' To what extent do the reactions of children at this age to disruption of bonds depend on the nature of inter- personal ties formed at earlier ages' When disruptions of bonds occur at this age, what are the implications for the child's functioning at subsequent age periods? ~ discuss these issues briefly below but must note that they are still open questions. Changes in Control Processes It is a usual assumption that a major accompaniment of children's de- velopmental change is the gradual shift of controlling functions from parent to child. In fact, this assumption is largely unverified. We have little in- formation concerning changes that occur in the degree and kind of parental control between the preschool and school-age periods. Baldwin's (1946) reports from the Fels longitudinal study in some ways run counter to a transfer-of-power trend. Comparing the behavior of a group of parents toward their 3-year-olds with the behavior of the same parents when their children were 9, Baldwin reported that the parents were more restrictive, more coercive, stricter, and even somewhat less democratic with the children when older. The parental attitude toward 3-year-olds was pre- dominantly indulgent and protective, while much more was expected of older children, who were thought to be capable of conforming to nearly adult norms of behavior. In a cross-sectional study with more age groups (each half-year or year from ages 6 to 10), Emmerich (1962) questioned parents concerning their
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CONTEXT OF THE FAMILY 191 child-rearing. He extracted two dimensions: one running from nurturant (positive, facilitating reactions) to restrictive (negative, interfering reac- tions), and the other, a power scale, reflecting the amount of active control exerted by the parent, which included rewards as well as punishment. Neither factor showed any consistent increase or decrease over the 6-10 age period. The more recent study by Armentrout and Burger ( 1972) covered an older age range (10-14~. These children reported a considerable decline in the amount of psychological control (possessiveness, intrusiveness, arousal of guilt) exercised by their parents. On the firm-lax dimension, however, there was an increase in parental firmness up to the age of 12, then a decline. In a study of preadolescents and adolescents, Dombusch et al. (1983) analyzed the responses of youth to questions concerning how decisions were made regarding: how they should spend their money, how they should dress, how late they might stay out, and what peers they should associate with. Over the age range 12-17, an increasing proportion of youth reported that they make such decisions alone, and a decreasing proportion reported that their parents made them alone. The proportion reporting that such decisions were made jointly remained constant. The findings would be consistent with a shift in the locus of decision making from parent-alone, to joint, to youth- alone. Taken together, these studies suggest that, at least in some respects, the transfer of power from parent to child occurs somewhat more slowly than had been supposed, with the major shift to genuine child autonomy begin- ning to occur at about age 12. The information to support this suggestion is meager, however, and it is obvious that children ages 6-12 already are participating in the controlling and managing processes. This participation is a simple necessity that stems in part from the decrease in time that parent and child are together. ~ suggest that the original conception of parents transferring control directly to their children may be an oversimplified one- that a better conceptualization involves an intermediate process that may be called coregu~non. That is, before they relinquish control of a given aspect of their children's lives, parents continue to exercise general super- visory control, while children begin to exercise moment-to-moment self- regulation. This phase is paramount for many aspects of children's behavioral devel- opment during the 6-12 age period. The process of coregulation, if it is to be successful, must be a cooperative one, with clarity of communication between parent and child of paramount importance. The parental tasks during this period are threefold: First, they must monitor, guide, and support their children at a distance-that is, when the children are out of their presence; second, they must effectively use the times when direct contact does occur; and third, they must strengthen in their children the abilities
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192 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD that will allow them to monitor their own behavior, to adopt acceptable standards of good and bad behavior, to avoid undue risks, and to know when they need parental support or guidance. Children must be willing to inform parents of their whereabouts, activities, and problems so that parents can mediate and guide when necessary; parents must keep informed about events occurring outside their presence and must coordinate agendas that link the daily activities of parent and child. Parents seem to have some, although not explicit, knowledge that different methods are needed for out-of~sight control than for face-to~face control of children. Grusec and Kuczynski ( 1980) found that most parents use a variety of methods in attempting to influence their children's behavior, and that the method chosen depends in part on whether infractions occur in or out of the parents' presence. For in-presence infractions (e.g., quarreling among siblings, excessively noisy behavior, or throwing a ball in the living room), parents tend to use power-assertive methods. For infractions not directly observed, however, (e.g., stealing money, teasing an old man, running into the street) parents are more likely to use reasoning and explanation. In an unpublished study, Kuczynski compared methods of parental influence when the parents either (1) knew they would be absent or (2) did not know they would be absent at the time of the child's compliance with parental instruc- tions.When the child was out of parental sight, parents were more likely to use inductive reasoning and character attribution e.g., "You are certainly nice and helpful." With boys, they also used less power assertion if they needed out-of-sight compliance. With the child's increasing age, we should expect an increase in parents' fostering out-of-sight compliance. These changes in child-rearing occur concurrently with a variety of norm- ative developmental changes that occur in all children during middle child- hood, albeit at somewhat different rates. We turn now to a consideration of these changes-what they are and how they might be linked to the ontogeny of the parent-child relationship. Because there is little research focusing on how changes in child-rearing are related to the developmental level of the child, this section is necessarily speculative. It will point to some gaps in our theorizing and knowledge and suggest some promising approaches. Normative Developmental Changes in Children Developmental changes occurring in early childhood, such as the shift from crawling to walking and running or the acquisition of language, are dramatic and universally acknowledged. The developmental advances that occur in middle childhood are less obvious but nonetheless important. A
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CONTEXT OF THE FAMILY 193 review of the developmental changes in middle childhood follows (for a fuller exposition, see Maccoby, 1984~. Social Cognition and Social Competence Between ages 6 and ~ 2 children's ability to adopt the perspectives of others and to recognize other people's purposes and probable reactions substantially increases (Selman and Byme, 19741. Partially as a consequence of this improved understanding, school-age children also improve considerably in their referential communication skills (Krause and Glucksberg, 1969~. That is, they are more able to select and convey the crucial information necessary for a partner to understand the message that the child wants to convey. A second social-cognitive gain has to do with the child's increasing un- derstanding of social roles their requirements and how they intersect. The acquisition of sex-role knowledge has been more extensively studied than most other aspects of role concepts, but it is reasonable to believe that in middle childhood there is considerable expansion of children's understanding of other roles as well e.g., teacher and pupil, leader and follower. Some aspects of role reaming that affect peer interaction are discussed by Hartup (in this volume). Some changes in children's conceptions of parent-child roles may affect family interactions. Specifically, there is a shift in children's conceptions about authority and the basis for parents' rights to exercise it (Damon, 1977~. While preschoolers tend to think that parental authority rests on the power to punish or reward, the beginning of an exchange relationship can be seen with the onset of the middle childhood period. Children of this age begin to say that they ought to obey because of all the things their parents do for them. Some time after the age of 8, children also begin to give weight to their parents' expert knowledge and skill as a reasonable basis for parental authority. We may assume that parental appeals based on fairness, the return of favors, or reminders of the parents' greater experience and knowledge would be increasingly persuasive as the child progresses through this period, so that parents would less often fee} compelled to resort to promises of reward or threats of punishment. There are many other components of the social competence acquired in middle childhood. Some (e.g., entry skills that facilitate a child's joining peer group activities) have been studied primarily in the context of peer interaction. We know little about the role of other family members in children's acquisition of the social skills that they employ outside the family, although there is reason to believe that their behavior with siblings does generalize to peers (Dunn, 1983~. It would be useful to know more about
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194 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD the transfer of social skills, not only from the family to other contexts, but also in the reverse direction; it is reasonable to believe that social skills acquired during peer interaction are sometimes brought to bear in a child's negotiations with family members. Self-Concepts About the time of entrance into school, children begin to acquire the ability to view the self from an outside (other-person) perspective. At about the same time or a little later, children also begin to define themselves more in terms of such attributes as appearance, possessions, or activities (see Markus and Nurius, in this volume). Perhaps in part as a consequence of these changes, children become more susceptible to attributional appeals. Grusec and Redler (1980) found, for example, that the generalized altruism of 5-year-olds was not enhanced when the experimenter responded to their generosity by an attribution such as "I can see that you are the kind of person who likes to help." Eight-year-olds, however, showed increased help- fuIness in an unrelated situation a week or two later as a result of such treatment. Although to our knowledge the point has not been tested, it seems likely that during the school-age years children would become more responsive to parental reminders that other people will not think well of them if they behave in certain ways. That children are beginning to see themselves as others see them, however, does not necessarily mean that they will become more tractable. When children realize that they can tailor their behavior and emotional expressiveness to what they think are the expectations and values of a given audience, they become more self-conscious and less open, even with their parents. Some parents (see Newson and Newson, 1976) complain that when their children have entered the school-age period, it is no longer so easy to know what their children are thinking and feeling; this renders the task of monitoring and guidance more difficult. Impulsivity ImpuIsivity declines fairly steadily from early childhood into the school- age years. As we have already noted, the frequency of angry outbursts de- clines, and children are more able to endure frustration and accept delays in gratification. Although not clearly demonstrated in research, it is probably also true that children improve in their ability to regulate their bodily activity according to the demands of the situation they are in, so that they exhibit less restless motion and wild running about as they grow older.
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CONTEXT OF THE FAMILY 229 Nevertheless, the time is ripe for a wider application of the sophisticated multivariate analysis techniques that have been developed in recent years for nonexperimental data. These techniques require large samples and mul- tiple measures of single constructs. Hence they are not likely to be feasible for studies calling for the kind of intensive assessments that can only be done with small samples. Nevertheless, when the number of variables is relatively small and it is possible to plan for a large sample, structural mod- eling procedures have begun to prove their power. An example comes from the work of Entwisle and Hay~uk (1982~. These investigators took note of the correlation between children's school achievement and their level of expectations for their achievement in school-related tasks. The study sought to determine which way the causal arrow pointed; by estimating altemative models, it showed that first-grade children's expectations determine their achievement rather than the reverse-a result that runs counter to findings with older children. In the section on child-rearing characteristics of parents from different ethnic groups, we noted that ethnicity as a variable is often confounded with other characteristics of these groups, notably eclucation and economic level. We implied that ethnic groups should be matched for these charac- teristics in order to obtain valid comparisons. The same kind of reasoning applies to comparisons of other groups. We need to introduce some cautions, however, concerning either planned or ex post facto matching. Selecting a subgroup of, say, single white mothers who match single black mothers with respect to other demographic variables results in the selection of a group of single white mothers who are unrepresentative of their own population. For longitudinal studies, this fact raises the issue of regression effects. Serious questions are being raised concerning the legitimacy of partialling out con- founding variables in attempts to isolate the effect of single variables in "causal" analyses of samples in which it has not been possible to assign cases randomly to groups. These problems do not render group comparisons useless for some purposes, of course, but they do call for a reconsideration of how to analyze nonexperimental studies (Cronbach, 1982~. The utility of causal models is currently being hotly debated. Clearly, there are trade-offs. Further application of these techniques in a variety of studies is needed before we will understand the limits of their applicability and can identify the kinds of studies in which the techniques will lead to different and more valid conclusions than would otherwise be possible. Interviews with teachers, parents, and children; Q-sorts by parents and teachers; and paper and pencil assessment procedures (e.g., personality as- sessment batteries, moral dilemma stories) have been used extensively in studies of school-age children. The self-report measures take advantage of
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230 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD the fact that children of this age at least those beyond third grade are old enough to read questions, write out answers, and fully enter into con- versations with interviewers. Measures derived from child reports and parent reports, however, are fraught with problems of halo effects, inaccurate rec- ollections, and biases that reflect the subjects' wish to present themselves or their children in a favorable light. In recent years, these methods have been increasingly supplemented by observations of parent-child interaction. Observational data are valuable, expanding our knowledge beyond what was available from the interview and paper and pencil measures. Observational methods, however, have hazards. One-shot observations are of doubtful value; tO get stable scores on the characteristics of parents or children, it is necessary tO sample behavior across time and situations, and this is expensive. In addition, in some respects it is more difficult to conduct naturalistic observations of school-age children than with infants and preschoolers. M. Radke-Yarrow (personal communication) reported that when mothers have been trained as observers and dictate into a tape recorder brief summaries of disciplinary encounters with their children, children age 6 or 7 sometimes insist on dictating their own version of the episode, indicating their high level of awareness of being observed. Similar problems are encountered by those attempting to make inconspicuous observations on school playgrounds. It is difficult to prevent children from knowing they are observed. Further- more, much of the free-play interaction of school-age children occurs in settings ant! at times that preclude observation. In-home observations of older children are similarly susceptible to dis- tortion. It is unnatural to require family members to remain in the same room for periods of observation or to set other constraints that may be desirable to researchers (e.g., family members should not read or watch television). Most observational studies have turned to structured problem' solving or teaching-learning kinds of interaction. It may be, however, that direct observations of any sort necessarily lose their ecological validity with the increasing age of the child. It appears that consideration of other as- sessment methods, and ways to improve them, is in order. Some recent data, as yet unpublished, by Jacques Wright indicate that when observational scores are aggregated across a considerable number of occasions or situations or both, the aggregate scores correspond well (cor- relations in the 70s or higher) with the ratings on comparable dimensions made by adults who are familiar with how the children behave in a variety of settings. The ratings by familiar peers are also highly related to aggregated observational scores that reflect how the children actually behave; this re- lation is particularly strong with respect to antisocial behavior (see also Epstein, 1980, on the importance of aggregation). Thus, for research that
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CONTEXT OF THE FAMILY 231 seeks to identify children's stable individual characteristics, it may be both necessary and defensible to rely more heavily on ratings, Q-sorts, and nom- ination procedures rather than behavioral observations that are restricted in frequency and cross~situational scope (see also Calms and Green, 19791. Peer nominations are important in assessing the social behavior of school- age children, but their use is constrained by ethical considerations. Re- searchers must not exacerbate the tendency of school-age children to neg- atively label their peers. Considering that each method has known strengths and weaknesses, researchers more often are fuming to multimethod assess- ment batteries for both parent and child. CONCLUSION The first major theme of this chapter is that research on socialization has not been sufficiently developmental in concept. ~ have argued that the middle childhood period has its distinctive patterns of parent-child rela- tionships and its distinctive socialization agenda, both of which need to be understood in terms of the developmental level children have reached by the time they enter this period and the normative developmental changes they undergo as they traverse it. ~ have traced some of these changes and suggested how they might be implicated in the patterns of parent-child interaction that characterize middle childhood. ~ have suggested that some of the traditional variables chosen by students of socialization, such as the frequency of reward or punishment, may not be as appropriate for the middle childhood period as they are for younger ages, and that we must be alert for the emergence of significant new parent-child interaction variables as chil- dren progress through the developmental timetable. Specifically, ~ have suggested that child-rearing shifts as children enter the school-age period, changing from largely face-to-face control, management, and teaching to more distal processes. These processes call for complex cooperation co- regulation-between parent and child. ~ have urged that research should focus on how these coregulation functions are carried out and how they change as children become more competent participants. The second major theme concerns individual differences differences among families in the way they rear their children during the middle childhood years and the possible effects of these variations. ~ have considered the evidence concerning differences in the way families in different social groups function and have discussed a number of viewpoints concerning how these group variations have evolved. While there are some replicable relationships between socioeconomic status and child-rearing, much less is known con- ceming how child-rearing is influenced by other aspects of the sociocultural
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232 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD niche in which families function. That we could list many alternative ex- planations for the known variations in childrearing underscores our igno- rance about the causal chain leading from the social and environmental conditions of family life to the Sanctioning of parents to the various devel- opmental paths taken by children. ~ have argued that these causal networks become more complex as children enter the age period when they begin to have some control over the selection and modification of their own envi- ronments. Longitudinal research is needed to clarify the effect of early family interaction patterns on later ones in the development of individual differ ences. REFERENCES Armentrout, V.A., and Burger, G.K. 1972 Children's reports of parental childrearing behaviors at five grade levels. Developmental Psychology 7:44-48. Baldwin, A.L. 1946 Differences in parent behavior toward three' and nine~year~old children. Joumal of Per- sonality 15: 143- 165. 1955 Behavior and Development in Childhood. New York: Dryden Press. Baldwin, A.L., Kalhorn, ]., and Breese, F.H. 1945 Pattems of parent behavior. Psychological Monographs 58:1-75. Bank, S., and Kahn, M.D. 1975 Sisterhood-brotherhood is powerful: Sibling subsystems and family therapy. Family Proc- ess 14:311-337. Barkley, R.A. 1981 The use of psychopharmacology to study reciprocal influences in parent-child interaction. Journal of AbnorTr~1 Child Psychology 9:303-310. Barkley, R.A., and Cunningham, C.C. 1979 The effects of methylphenidate on the mother-child interaction of hyperactive children. Archives of General Psychiatry 36:201-208. Barkley, R.A., Cunningham, C.E., and Karlsson, I. 1983 The speech of hyperactive children and their mothers: Comparison with normal children and stimulant drug effects. Joumal of Learning Disabilities 16: 105- 110. Baumrind, D. 1967 Childcare practices anteceding 3 patterns of preschool behavior. Generic Psychology Mon- ographs 75:43-88. 1971 Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monographs 4(1):part 2. 1973 The development of instrumental competence through socialization. In A.D. Pick, ea., Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology. Vol. 7. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Bearison, D. I., and Cassell, T. Z. 1975 Cognitive decentration and social codes: Communication effectiveness in young children from differing family contexts. Developmenm1 Psychology 11:29-36. Becker, W.C. 1964 Consequences of different kinds of parental discipline. In M.L. Hoffman and L.W. Hoffman, eds., Review of Child Development Research.Vol. 1. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
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CONTEXT OF THE FAMILY 239 Whalen, C.K., Henker, B., and Dotemoto, S. 1980 Methylphenidate and hyperactivity: Effects on teacher behaviors. Science 208:1280- 1282. 1981 Teacher response to the methylphenidate (Ritalin) versus placebo status of hyperactive boys in the classroom. Journal of Child Development 52:1005-1014. Yankelovich, D., Clark, R., and Martire, G. 1977 General Mills American Family Report. Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, Inc. Yarrow, M.R., Scott, P.M., and Waxier, C.Z. 1973 Leaming concern for others. Developmental Psychology, 8:240-260. Young, V. 1970 Family and childhood in a southern Negro community. American Anthropologist 72:269 288. Zill, N. In press 1978 Divorce, Marital Happiness, and the Mental Health of Children: Findings from the FCD National Survey of Children. Paper prepared for NIMH Workshop on Divorce and Children, Bethesda, Md., February. Happy, Healthy and lusecuTe. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Representative terms from entire chapter: