"What sort of an adult would you like your child to be?": Mothers' developmental goals in different cultural communities in Israel

Miriam K. Rosenthal*, Dorit Roer-Strier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper discusses the impact of changing ecological contexts on socialization, utilizing qualitative data obtained from 42 mothers of 3-4 year old children, in five communities in Israel. In depth interviews explored mothers' developmental goals concerning valued characteristics for their young boys and girls and valued goals for their children as adults. Similarities and differences in gender-related expectations are discussed in relation to cultural scripts. One major finding in this study is the great similarity between themes mothers used to describe the characteristics they valued in their young children and the themes that emerge from their descriptions of their long-term developmental goals for these children. Our study challenges the dichotomy between individualism and collectivism as a unit of analysis of parental socialization goals and suggests that parents' goals in different cultural communities ought to be characterized not only in relation to the underlying cultural scripts of their community but also in relation to: (a) the level of exposure to eco-cultural change; (b) the specific social structure of the community, or socio-cultural group, undergoing such a change; (c) the community's, or individual's attitude towards such a change; and (d) the host culture excluding or including attitudes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)517-528
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2006

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Developmental goals
  • Early childhood

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