Topic # 7
In this paper I will discuss the affects of an individual’s social class, and occupations on their parenting styles. Most of the literature points to the upper classes careers providing them with opportunities for freedom and room to express themselves. The research also shows that the lower classes occupations require much more conformity and ability to simply follow directions. Many of the studies have also been correlated to the ways parents raise their children. They describe that as these individuals become parents they prepare their children to perform some of the same tasks they are required to do. This means that the upper class gives their kids more autonomy, while the lower classes are much authoritarian. Lastly, I take a closer look at my own upbringing and in particular how being the son of college educated professionals helped my parents be better parents and provided me with a healthier childhood environment. The majority of my research comes from a sociologist named Melvin Kohn who published several books throughout the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s on social class and parenting.
The introduction to this paper begins with a question. What are the ways discipline and expectations are affected by family social class? First we need to describe what social class means, according to Marx Weber one of the leaders in this field social class is defined as a large group of people who rank closely to one another in property, prestige, and power. Many sociologists have published their own theories on how these different criteria’s can lead to either conformity or self direction (Kohn, 1977). Conformity which is commonly synonymous with the working or lower class has a more authoritarian parenting style usually accompanied by physical discipline and expectations of following directions (Boveja, 1998). The characteristics associated with this style are frequently a great deal more negative. They range from aggression to substance abuse. Self direction is relegated to the middle and upper class because they are able to have free time away from work and autonomy at work (Kohn and Schooler, 1969). The positives associated with self direction or the authoritative styles of parenting include: academic achievement, and self confidence. Lit Review
There are a great deal of studies being done in the field of developmental psychology to try and find correlations between social class and parenting styles (Belskey, 1984). The researchers are beginning to find some positive relationships between parents who work in fields that give them more autonomy being authoritative parents which is usually thought to be the most beneficial style because it creates superior leadership skills and creativity (Robinson, 1995). Researchers believe this is beneficial because it provides a grooming for the children. Parents who exhibit these characteristics are involved and prepared to assist or answer any questions that their children may have. The other style which is commonly attributed to the lower class is a more authoritarian permissive style. This style generally sets boundaries yet allows their children to develop naturally. These individuals believe that their responsibility is to provide the basics shelter and food and allows them to do as they wish. The parents are frequently more apt to use physical punishment as opposed to other means of discipline. However, this evidence is still very because there are so many other factors that these characteristics can be attributed to. Most researchers agree that more research needs to be done to pin point stronger relationships between one variable. This is essential because at this time so many factors are known to be at work when the topic of lower class underachievement occurs. This can be due to the stresses that come along with having to provide for a family without sufficient funds, as well as, just not knowing the best ways to parent due...
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