Parents' Cultural Belief Systems: Their Origins, Expressions, and Consequences

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November 1995



In recent years, psychological interest in the cultural dimensions of parents' beliefs has been stimulated by studies of ethnic differences in developmental expectations and the identification of cultural themes in childrearing. This volume offers a multifaceted view of parents' cultural belief systems, their origins in culturally constructed parental experience, their expressions in parental practices, and their consequences for children's well-being and growth. Discussing issues with implications beyond the study of parenthood, the book shows how the analysis of child outcomes related to parents' cultural belief systems (or parental ethnotheories) can provide valuable insights into the nature and meaning of family and self in society and, in some cases, a basis for culturally sensitive therapeutic interventions.


1. Introduction, Harkness and Super I. Theoretical Perspectives2. Parents' Free Descriptions of Child Characteristics: A Cross-Cultural Search for the Developmental Antecendents of the Big Five, Kohnstamm, Halverson, Havill, and Mervielde 3. Processes of Generalization in Parental Reasoning, Valsiner and Litvinovic 4. The Answer Depends on the Question: A Conceptual and Methodological Analysis of a Parent Belief Behavior Interview Regarding Children's Learning, Sigel and Kim II. The Nature and Origins of Parents' Cultural Belief Systems 5. Essential Contrasts: Differences in Parental Ideas About Learners and Teaching in Tahiti and Nepal, Levy 6. How do Children Develop Knowledge?: Beliefs of Tansanian and American Mothers, McGillicuddy-De Lisi and Subramanian 7. Japanese Mothers' Ideas about Infants and Temperament, Shwalb, Shwalb, and Shoji 8. Scenes from a Marriage: Equality Ideology in Swedish Family Policy, Maternal Ethnotheories, and Practice, Welles-Nystrom III. Intracultural Variation: The Role of Education and "Experts" 9. Parents' and Adolescents' Ideas on Children: Origins and Transmission of Intracultural Diversity, Palacios and Moreno 10. Education and Mother Infant Interaction: A Mexican Case Study, LeVine, Miller, Richman, and LeVine 11. The Contrasting Developmental Timetables of Parents and Preschool Teachers in Two Cultural Communities, Edwards, Gandini, and Giovaninni 12. Ask the Doctor: The Negotiation of Cultural Models in American Parent Pediatrician Discourse, Harkness, Super, Keefer, Raghavan, and Kipp IV. The Instantiation of Parents' Cultural Belief Systems in Practices 13. From Household Practices to Parents' Ideas About Work and Interpersonal Relationships, Goodnow14. How Mayan Parental Theories Come Into Play, Gaskins 15. Parental Theories in the Management of Young Children's Sleep in Japan, Italy, and the United States, Wolf, Lozoff, Latz, and Pauladetto16. Maternal Beliefs and Infant-Care Practices in Italy and the United States, New and Richman V. The Consequences of Parents' Cultural Belief Systems for Children's Health and Development17. My Child is My Crown: Yoruba Parental Theories and Practices in Early Childhood, Zeitlin 18. Growth Consequences of Low-Income Nicaraguan Mothers' Theories About Feeding 1-Year-Olds, Engle, Zeitlin, and Medrano 19. The "Three R's" of Dutch Childrearing and the Socialization of Infant Arousal, Super, Harkness, van Tijen, van der Flugt, Fintelman, and Dijkstra 20. Imagining and Engaging One's Children: Lessons From Poor, Rural New England Mothers, Bond, Belenky, Weinstock, and Cook 21. American Cultural Models of Early Influence and Parent Recognition of Developmental Delays: Is Earlier Always Better Than Later?, Weisner, Matheson, and Bernheimer


Sara Harkness and Charles M. Super, co-editors of Guilford's Culture and Human Development Series, have worked together on research with children and families in Africa, the United States, and Europe. Sara Harkness, Ph.D. received her doctorate in Social Anthropology from Harvard University, where she was also a National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow, earned a Master of Public Health degree, and taught at the School of Public Health. Charles M. Super, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Harvard University. In addition to his research and clinical work, he has consulted internationally for the United Nations and USAID.


"This book is an invaluable resource for anyone thinking about or teaching about the role of culture in human development. By considering intracultural as well as intercultural variability, Harkness and Super have assembled a volume that gives serious consideration to shared group cultures, while respecting individual differences within a culture, thus avoiding the dangerous ground of stereotypes.
"Cultural meanings are critical for understanding cultural differences; consequently, parents' cultural belief systems are critical to understanding cultural differences in child development. Harkness and Super's book is the first to devote an entire volume to this important topic.
"Because, as Harkness and Super point out, cultural models of development are implicit rather than explicit, the scientist's own cultural model can be mistaken for a universal theory of development. By sampling parents' beliefs about the nature and goals of development across most regions of the world--North America, Western Europe, Far East and Pacific, Africa, and Latin America--this book lays the groundwork for the first theory of human development to have universality without ethnocentrism." --Patricia M. Greenfield, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, UCLA
"This volume is the most extensive and compelling effort to date to examine the nature and ramifications of parents' belief systems. It encompasses dozens of cultures and diverse domains of child development, ranging from sleep and temperament to school learning, work, and relationships. In no other source are cultural variations so effectively used to illuminate principles that link culture and family processes. It is must' reading for developmental scholars, regardless of discipline." --W. Andrew Collins, Ph.D., Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
"Harkness and Super's concept of the developmental niche' is currently the most influential theory in the study of cross-cultural human development.
EAN: 9781572300316
ISBN: 1572300310
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: November 1995
Seitenanzahl: 558 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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