The study of parent-child relationships has long been of interest to behavioral scientists, both for its theoretical importance and for its practice and policy implications. There are, however, certain limitations to the knowledge in this area. First, research on parents and children is spread throughout a number of disciplines and as a consequence is not well integrated. Further, there has been little dialogue among researchers concerned with parents of young children and those interested in middle-aged and elderly parents and their offspring. The present volume predicates the notion that there is considerable similarity in the issues explored by researchers on different points of the life course.
Contributions by leading scholars in psychology, sociology, and anthropology are organized into four sections, each of which contains a treatment of at least two stages in the life course. The sections cover attachment in early childhood and in later life, life course transitions, relationships within families, and the influence of social structural factors on parent-child relations. Although the chapters make important contributions to basic research and theory, many also deal with issues of public concern, such as day care, maternal employment, gay and lesbian relationships, and care of the elderly.
Table of Contents
Contents: S. Scarr, Foreword. Preface. Part I:Attachment. I. Bretherton, Z. Biringen, D. Ridgeway, The Parental Side of Attachment. V.G. Cicirelli, Attachment Theory in Old Age: Protection of the Attached Figure. Part II:Transitions. C.J. Mebert, Variability in the Transition to Parenthood Experience. A.M. Boxer, J.A. Cook, G. Herdt, Double Jeopardy: Identity Transitions and Parent-Child Relations Among Gay and Lesbian Youth. C.N. Nydegger, The Development of Paternal and Filial Maturity. Part III:Between-Family and Within-Family Approaches. J. Dunn, The Developmental Importance of Differences in Siblings' Experiences Within the Family. K. McCartney, W.W. Robeson, E. Jordan, V. Mouradian, Mothers' Language With First- and Second-Born Children: A Within-Family Study. K. Rathunde, M. Csikszentmihalyi, Adolescent Happiness and Family Interaction. K. Pillemer, J.J. Suitor, Relationships With Children and Distress in the Elderly. J.J. Suitor, K. Pillemer, Family Conflict When Adult Children and Elderly Parents Share a Home. Part IV:Social Structure and the Family. A.S. Rossi, P.H. Rossi, Normative Obligations and Parent-Child Help Exchange Across the Life Course. E.G. Menaghan, T.L. Parcel, Transitions in Work and Family Arrangements: Mothers' Employment Conditions, Children's Experiences, and Child Outcomes. V.L. Bengston, G. Marti, R.E.L. Roberts, Age-Group Relationships: Generational Equity and Inequity.
"The papers are well-written, current and informative. All deal with important issues....The volume fits within the long tradition of human development research which seeks to create an accurate description of the phenomena and processes under study."
—Journal of Marriage and the Family
"It belongs on the shelves of good libraries..."
"...covers the life span -- young children, adolescents, and adult children of elderly parents -- and includes representatives from psychology, sociology, and anthropology. This diversity serves well to challenge our unexamined assumptions about families and development."
"...near the 'cutting edge' of family development, reviewing past concerns, reporting present research efforts, and pointing the way to new inquiries....should be read by all scholars in the field of family development..."
—Merril Palmer Quarterly
"The strength of the volume is that it is organized around topics that cut across developmental periods in the individual and family life cycles, rather than chronologically."
—Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography