Parental discipline and gender-role socialization are two interrelated normative processes that may be affected by family structure, parent gender, and child gender. To investigate these family processes and how they may differ depending on family composition, three groups of families (approximately 90% Caucasian) with 5-year-old children were studied: 67 two-parent families, 32 single-mother families, and 13 single-father families. In the two-parent families, mothers were focused on in 33 of the families and fathers were focused on in 34 of the families. Overall, gender-role socialization processes were affected by family structure and parent gender: Single-parent families and mothers had less traditional gender-role socialization than two-parent families and fathers. Family discipline processes were also affected by family structure, as single-parent families reported more positive behavior from their children and reported using more problem-solving strategies. Regardless of family structure, parents used different discipline strategies depending on the gender of parent and child. No evidence was found to suggest that gender-role socialization mediated the discipline process.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 24, 2007
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