Dynamics of Mothers' Goals for Children in Ethnically Diverse Populations across the First Three Years of Life

Florrie Fei Yin Ng, Catherine S. Tamis-Lemonda, Erin B. Godfrey, Cristina J. Hunter, Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Parents' socialization goals are important for cultural transmission across generations, but whether such goals vary by ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and change over children's first years of life remains unexamined. In Study 1, African-American, Dominican immigrant, and Mexican immigrant mothers (N=300) reported on the qualities deemed as desirable or undesirable when children were aged 1 month, 14 months, and 2 years. Mothers spontaneously referred to a common set of qualities, including achievement, self-maximization, proper demeanor, and connectedness. Most mothers emphasized achievement (desirable qualities) and disapproved of improper demeanor (undesirable qualities). Desirable qualities varied by age and socioeconomic factors more than did undesirable qualities. Mothers (N=185) were followed up in Study 2 when children were aged three years, and ranked 21 qualities using a Q-sort instrument. Ethnic differences were revealed at this more specific level, with Latina mothers being more similar in their rankings than African-American mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-848
Number of pages28
JournalSocial Development
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Early childhood
  • Ethnicity
  • Parental attitudes
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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