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Parenting Beliefs and Practices for Children Ages Birth through Age 2

Parenting Beliefs and Practices for Children Ages Birth through Age 2


Child Development

Speak with two parents of young children who are of distinctly different cultural groups in your class or in your neighborhood.  I encourage you to ask questions about what children are like and how they should be educated.

The following questions might be considered: What learning and behaviors should be expected of children ages birth through age 2?  What should teachers do to ensure that children are learning? What should classrooms for these the age groups be like?

Take your notes from both interviews and write a one page summary reflection on the questions below:

How were the two parents’ answers different? How were they alike?

Which sources of information does the adult use to answer these questions? For example, does this adult rely on research? On systematic observation? On personal opinion?

To what degree do answers reflect family background, culture, or other life experiences? For example, does this adult rely on beliefs passed down from parents or other family members? Does this adult refer to conditions in the neighborhood or community that influence thinking about children?

What can you conclude about cultural differences in parenting beliefs and practices?


  1. Introduction

By both focusing on a specific set of infant care practices and customs and using diverse measures of predictor variables, we hope to present a rich and detailed picture of the development of parenting during the transition to parenthood. The content of this book reflects various interests and concerns that grew out of this prospective study, as well as earlier research. We examine cultural differences on a number of variables and constantly compare findings to the existing literature on parenting and cultural comparisons. We examine the socialization and social cognitive mechanisms by which sociodemographic factors operate to influence parenting and various moderating influences on cultural differences in parenting.

The study focused on parents of firstborn infants, as several studies we have done in anticipation of this book have shown that the transition to parenthood is different after the first child, and also because we felt it important to be able to present a comprehensive picture of beliefs and practices across the age span of infancy. For the present study, data on beliefs and practices were gathered when the infant was 3 months old and were focused on the use of three infant care customs: swaddling, supine infant sleep, and breastfeeding, on which there are cultural differences and for which the epidemiological evidence is clear on outcomes that have implications for infant morbidity and mortality. Data on the predictors were gathered at recruitment and at 6 months postpartum.

This book was developed to examine the diversity of beliefs and practices that parents of infants hold and to report on a study that tested the hypothesis that for European American and African American parents, individual differences in sociodemographic characteristics, psychological functioning, and life stress would be related to concomitant differences in beliefs and practices.

  1. Learning and Behaviors Expected of Children

2.1. Cognitive Development

2.2. Language Development

2.3. Motor Skills Development

2.4. Social and Emotional Development

  1. Ensuring Children’s Learning

3.1. Creating a Stimulating Environment

3.2. Providing Age-Appropriate Toys and Activities

3.3. Encouraging Exploration and Curiosity

3.4. Establishing Routines and Consistency

  1. Classroom Environment for Children Ages Birth through Age 2

4.1. Safe and Childproofed Spaces

4.2. Comfortable and Nurturing Atmosphere

4.3. Age-Appropriate Learning Materials

4.4. Opportunities for Play and Social Interaction

  1. Differences and Similarities in Parental Answers

5.1. Variation in Expectations and Priorities

5.2. Commonalities in Developmental Milestones

5.3. Diverse Approaches to Learning Strategies

  1. Sources of Information for Parental Answers

6.1. Research Studies and Scientific Findings

6.2. Personal Observations and Experiences

6.3. Advice from Pediatricians and Childcare Professionals

6.4. Recommendations from Family and Friends

  1. Influence of Family Background, Culture, and Life Experiences

7.1. Cultural Traditions and Beliefs

7.2. Impact of Socioeconomic Factors

7.3. Neighborhood and Community Influences

7.4. Historical and Generational Influences

  1. Cultural Differences in Parenting Beliefs and Practices

8.1. Variations in Discipline and Behavior Management

8.2. Attitudes towards Independence and Autonomy

8.3. Importance of Extended Family and Community Support

8.4. Influence of Cultural Values and Norms

  1. Conclusion

Parenting Beliefs and Practices for Children Ages Birth through Age 2

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