Parent, child, and reciprocal influences

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Research in the 1960s demonstrated the capabilities of infants and the demand characteristics of their behavior. These data, together with the failure of studies directed exclusively to parent effects on children, have led to a reformulation of socialization theory to encompass the reciprocal influences of parent and offspring. The cognitive capabilities, knowledge, and attitudes of parents assume a more important role in this theory. New research approaches are now available that can isolate parent and child effects, thus providing the foundation needed for identifying reciprocal influences. If research fills in the outline of this new perspective, and the viewpoint is communicated to parents, it should facilitate parent-child interaction. Previous theories, all too often given extreme expression in the mass media, have adversely affected the functioning of parents, either causing them to feel too much responsibility for their children's development, or leading them to mistake permissiveness for parental involvement and commitment. The reformulation should attenuate these extreme formulations, because neither of the latter is consistent with the concept of reciprocal influences. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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