Developmental Perspectives - Dr. Ana Garcia Nevarez
Culture and Self Labels in Young Children
Posted April 1st 2014

Through the process of socialization, children learn the values, behaviors, and social patterns of their ethnic group before they gain the ability to self-label. Families pass their culture on to their children by socializing their children to become members and participate in a particular culture. Although a family may live in the United States, it may function within a subculture based on its ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, or sexual orientation. Parents being the primary caretakers are the primary socializing agents. Parents socialize children to encourage the development of those qualities and attributes required for their expected adult roles in their particular subculture or society. To illustrate this, Barry, Child, and Bacon’s (1959) study assessed 104 societies to find out whether the child rearing practices of parents in industrialized societies, such as the United States, differed from those of parents in agricultural societies, such as India. They found that parents in industrialized societies socialized children for achievement and independence, whereas parents in agricultural societies socialized children for obedience and responsibility. Another study compared European-American and Japanese mother-infant interaction and found that European-American mothers interacted more vocally with their infants, whereas the Japanese mothers exhibited more body contact with their infants and, in so doing, soothed them into quiescence. The European-American infants tended to be more vocal, active, and explorative of their environment than the Japanese infants, who tended to be more passive (Caudill, 1988). Have you ever seen or experienced cultural variations in children's socialization processes?

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Reply from Carmen Mejia posted on July 31st 2014
I do believe that there are cultural variations in children's socialization process. Children's Cultural upbringing makes a huge impact in their lives growing up in the way they interact with others. I know that in the Hispanic culture, children are taught to respect all adults, and so are children in the Asian culture.
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Reply from Nancy Rosario posted on July 31st 2014
I agree that there are cultural variations in children's socialization process. I think that culture, beliefs, background, language and social morals shape the person that you are today. Depending on the cultural beliefs affects the way the child socialize with peers.
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Reply from LAURA VAZQUEZ posted on July 31st 2014
I agree that there are cultural variations in children’s socialization process. Children differ in their socialization, especially if children come from different cultures. Parents or caregivers raise their children based on their traditions and ideologies. They raise their children founded in their abilities and covering the whole family's needs. In other words even when to families are coming from the same culture they may come from different economic status and this change the way parents raise their children. I have experienced it myself, my parents were born and raised in Mexico, and I am a first-generation Mexican American. We immigrate to US when I was seventeen. Growing up, my parents taught me their ideologies and values. It was very difficult for me to handle two different ideologies in my life one from home and another ideology at school. I feel lucky because now that I am older I have ideologies and socialization processes from both cultures. I had be able to choose those that I think are the best for my well-being.
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Reply from Jennifer S posted on May 28th 2014
I have seen cultural variations in children's socialization processes because my best friend growing up was of a different culture. Her family moved here from Portugal and as a young child it was easy for me to tell the differences in the way that she was socialized and that I was socialized. Being of European-American decent, my parents were more vocal with me, taught me to be independent, and encouraged me to take an active role in my development. When compared to the socialization processes of my best friend, who was of Portuguese-American decent, her family taught her to be more quiet and respectful in situations, encouraged her to rely heavily on family, and to work hard in every situation. Although our socialization processes were different from our parents, we still had many values and beliefs in common. In sum, although socialization processes may appear to be different they can have a similar developmental outcome on children.
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Reply from Amanda posted on May 25th 2014
I have seen some cultural variation in children's socialization process with my family members. Some of my extended family lived in Mexico as Christian missionaries for 14 years. During that time they were submerged in hispanic culture and language. But inside their home in Mexico was a combination of cultures and a combination of English and Spanish. American culture, their culture of origin, and Hispanic culture combined to create what they called a "third culture". They did not feel truly American or Mexican because they were socialized with both.
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Reply from Francisco Arreola posted on May 22nd 2014
I have seen and experienced cultural variations in children in my workplace. I work in a High school and middle school with Migrant students. These students constantly struggle as their values differ form their classmates. Often times students will take on behaviors that their peers are engaging in only to be accepted, yet their families values and ideologies differ. These kids act a certain way at school and at home, but it becomes a challenge for them because what their friends are doing goes against they way they were raise. As a person who is raised in Mexico is instilled from early on to be respectful and respect their elders, they are brought up with a collectivist ideology. When these students come to the US and see their peers acting in another form then they are used to it becomes a conflict for them because they begin to believe thats how they should also behave. What is very interesting is watching them pick up on certain characteristics and combine them with how they were raised. it becomes a mixture of both individualistic and collectivistic which can be beneficial as they learn to be respectful, but also stand up for what they believe.
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Reply from Anthy Thao posted on May 20th 2014
Growing up, I have always noticed and experienced this difference in cultural variations in children's socialization. My parents show my siblings and me more of the tough love and tough talk, even til today. They lack the sympathy that us children need most of the time. Instead, my parents will just get straight to the point of which we just need to move on with life and do better. I rarely ever hear my parents question me how I feel in a situation or try to comfort me emotionally or physically unlike American or more Americanized parents. My parents are traditional and because of being Hmong, it's not part of a practice to show your children affections. In contrast to American parents or more Americanized parents that my friends, growing up, would have are super interestingly different. I used to think how their parents would kiss them goodbye or hold their hands or hug them or ask how school went for them were super weird. It's because I never got the same socialization from my parents. Now I finally come to understand more of this major difference in children's socialization with their families, mainly parents, as I got older and became more educated. I've always want that experience of relief to be able to express my true feelings to my parents comfortably and have a normal conversation parent-to-child talk, but because it has never been a norm nor initiated in my family, it has always and still is very difficult to build a close bond with my parents to have a normal conversation about our days and plans for the future. I really envy those who do have these wonderful experiences with their parents.
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Reply from Heather posted on May 20th 2014
I personally haven't really experienced much of a cultural variation while growing up. I have always lived in places where there wasn't much diversity in the immediate area, but when i would go out around town I would definitely experience it. I have not been around a lot of children that have cultural variations in their socialization process so I don't have an experience that I can share. Even though I really havent experienced this first hand, I would never let culture get in the way of my thoughts, feelings and actions towards someone that is of a different culture. Every culture has their ways of showing affection so it wasn't suprising to me how the European-American and Japanese mothers differed. I think that our society now will change a lot because more mother's are working to have a dual income for their family. So I think that some bonds between mother and child are going to change dramatically. Not a lot of mothers want to be stay-at-home moms anymore because they want to work and support their families too. I think that this is all based off of personal preferences and experiences as to how that person was raised.
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Reply from Tanya Taranchuk posted on May 20th 2014
I have seen and experienced cultural variations in children’s socialization processes. Working in children’s center, I have seen many interactions of children from different cultures. One common pattern I noticed was that children from Asian cultures played together more often in a group and European American and African American children were more independent in their playing. Furthermore, European American and African American children were more vocalized in comparison to Asian children. I think the reason for that is because United States is an individualistic society that values independence while Asian countries are more collectivistic societies that value obedience and reliance on the group members. I can relate to this because I was born in Ukraine and it was more of collectivistic society at that time, thus my parents were raising me with collectivistic values. They taught me to respect and obey my elders. Thus when I came here to United Stated it was a struggle growing up in a society that was individualistic because it conflicted with the collectivistic values my parents were raising me. However growing me here in United Stated gave me freedom to be more independent and to speak my mind. Therefore, I would like to think that I received the better values of the collectivistic and individualistic societies.
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Reply from Ma Vang posted on May 20th 2014
Growing up in America but raised as a Hmong girl, I have experienced cultural variations in socialization processes. One socialization process that I have noticed at my age now is hugging. Hmong parents do not hug or kiss their children once they hit school age. It is awkward for me to initiate hugs with people. Even with my close friends who I've known for 8 years, we only hug when we haven't seen each other in a long time. Unlike many others who hug every time they see each other. At work, my coworkers would hug me hello, I would not initiate it though. One other thing is, using words such as "sweetheart" or "sweetie". I think of it as a word used for tenderness and love used for someone you love but in the American culture, it is used to refer even to strangers. Those words though, would not leave my mouth unless speaking to a baby in my family.
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Reply from Abigail Pak posted on May 20th 2014
I have seen and experienced cultural variations in socialization processes. Being raised in an Asian family, my parents raised me the way they were raised, not in America. When growing up, and seeing my other friends and their parents, my behaviors and parents were different. My parents raised me to be reserved (not act out) and be polite (think of others before yourself) and to always listen to adults (people that are older are treated as "elders"). Also, my parents were very strict and keen on teaching me about proper behavior and manners (etiquette). When I saw my other friends (non Asian friends), they acted out in class and had more "freedom". Their parents were like there friends and had a "loose" grasp on their children (letting them out in the open). It seemed like they were more "free" than I was.
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Reply from Courtney Morales posted on May 20th 2014
I think the best example of cultural variations in children's socialization processes would be the differences between my family's and my husband's family's values, socializations, and ideologies. I grew up with both my parents working full time jobs. My dad worked nights so he was the one who took us to and from school, cooked us breakfast and dinner, and packed our lunches. He also did the laundry. This is the complete opposite from my husband's family. He came from a household where only his dad worked full time and his mom stayed home. She cooked, cleaned, and took care of the children while their dad was at work. His mom always mentions how I should cook for my husband, Dan. She doesn't under stand how different we are, and how it is not a normal thing for the woman of the house to do all the cooking. Dan and I share the responsibilities for cooking.
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Reply from sujey posted on May 19th 2014
Yes, I have seen cultural variations in children's socialization processes. Additionally, I have experienced it myself as my parents were born and raised in Mexico, and I am a first-generation Mexican American. Growing up, my parents taught us their collectivist ideologies and values. I constantly struggled due to the fact that I was being taught one way of life in my home and another ideology in my school setting. Today, I still hold true to many of the ideologies and socialization processes that my parents taught me, yet I also share many of the values and ideologies that Americans have.
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Reply from Carly posted on May 14th 2014
After taking CHDV 247, reading article after article and watching Preschool in 3 cultures I can see the cultural variations on children's socialization. Not only is there a difference in their socialization, other cultures are often surprised that people/parents might raise their child in another way. I believe a most people raise their children to the best of their abilities and with their whole family's needs in mind. If a rural family needs help with farming, a child is going to have more responsibility and probably a more collectivist view on life. Those raised in a middle class family won't have the same needs for the family unit, and will likely encourage a more independent streak.
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Reply from Amberly Seelapasay posted on May 13th 2014
I have seen cultural variations in children’s socialization processes with the children I work with. For example, I noticed the Asian children I work with are very obedient, reserved, and when they play with other children, they play as a group together. This could be due to the collectivist cultural background that many Asian cultures embrace. This is very different than the Caucasian children I work with who like to show off more and be more independent when working in groups. When children play, I can see how they view gender roles and how they think a male or female should behave under certain situations. For example, during dramatic play reenacting a classic theme with young girls (playing house), the girls would mention how “mommies clean and cook, daddies work and daddies don’t clean”. These children might be acquiring information from their families on how adults are supposed to behave in society and they are showing what they understand through play.
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Reply from Alina Slivinskaya posted on May 13th 2014
I was born and raised in Moldova, where males work while females take care of the children at home. Although to some extent, some females have to work if they are single parents. In my family, I have seen that my mother never worked and my father was the one that worked at took care of the financials. While my mother stayed home and took care of the children, prepared meals, made sure the children did their homework and cleaned. I've never seen my mother complain about doing so, it was her choice to even though most wives are stay at home. My father was able to support the family therefore my mother didn't have to work. When me moved to America, our culture continued here the same way it was back home.
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Reply from Brianne Moreno posted on May 12th 2014
I think that everyone has experienced cultural variations in children's socialization at some point in their lives. My experience with this I witnessed at a very young age and still do til now. My next door neighbors are from Mexico and as a little child I never thought anything of how they chose to live their lives but I did notice that the roles of the husband and wife were very different than that of my parents. My mom and dad help each other out around the house. They both worked, cleaned, made dinner, and made sure that I was taken care of. In my neighbors house, his parents were not so modern. His Dad worked and his mom stayed home as a house wife. He was the bread winner and she completed every task a typical housewife would do on a daily basis. When he got home from work, she would wait on his hand and foot. The husband would sit on the couch and relax while the wife would bathe their child and put him to bed. I think that the over in Mexico, they may live a different type of way and teach their children that men are the bread winners of the family and women are to give the men anything they need. My parents on the other hand, taught me to be independent and whenever I get married, to work as a team and do things together.
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Reply from Gee Lor posted on May 8th 2014
I myself have experienced cultural variations in the socialization process. For instance, my cultural background is Hmong and my parents raised me with collectivist views in which they valued togetherness and expected me to focus on the greater good of the family. But I feel that I have acquired some individualistic views for myself such as independence and self-reliance through my exposure to different cultures. I think that practices, values, and ideologies can easily be influenced by many factors such as cultural variations in the socialization process.
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Reply from Monica Ogaz posted on May 5th 2014
I have witnessed and have experienced as well different cultural variations within children as well. I have seen it within younger and older children alike. I have heard from young boys who are Mexican-American tell me that the job of their mothers\\\\\\\' are to stay at home and raise their families whereas compared to a young boy who was of European-American descent once told me that women should work and take care of their families. These perspectives really interested me, the responses that were from different cultures was one that made me open my eyes wider.
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Reply from Olivia Briceno posted on May 2nd 2014
I feel that I have seen and experienced cultural variations in children's socialization process. When completing a observation of two children for my child development course, I observed two Mexican American girls. However, although they were both from the same culture, one of the girls had only been living in the United States for about two years, and I was able to see a difference in their personalities. As quoted from the blog, "Although a family may live in the United States, it may function within a subculture based on its ethnicity." I found this to be true in this case since the Mexican American girl raised in the US seemed to have more of an independent personality and be more extroverted, whereas the the other girl seemed to be more introverted and obedient. I myself, am Mexican American, born and raised in the US. I feel that I have acquired both traits, and agree with the blog that parents socialize their children to encourage the development of different qualities and attributes required for their expected adult roles in their particular subculture or society. I feel that my parents have taught me independence, but I myself, have developed a introverted and responsible personality. I think culture has a big impact on one's personalities, and many times it is difficult to experience cultural variations. However, I do think it is important for personal growth.
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Reply from Valeriya posted on April 13th 2014
I’ve read several articles on cultural variations in the cross cultural class this semester. It is so interesting to learn about how babies are raised in different environments with different parental beliefs. Recently read article by Harkness & Super (1992) had suggested that a child’s daily life is culturally impacted with customs and practices. Developmentally children require social needs, which are met through cultural exchange and nurturance of parents. Culture impacts how a child is raise in a health aspect; whether it is through western medicine or natural herbal remedies. That is just to name one fragment of cultural exchange. Child’s development is influenced through parental ethnotheories. What a parent has in mind of how to raise a child is varied from one family to another. For instance, I was raised in a middle class dual career family. My parents had set high standards of my sisters and me, we were to receive higher levels of education. To thrive for a college degree with honors. My parents raised us to be individualistic, thriving to be independent, they spoke to us in ways that promoted self-expression and allow us to have personal choice (Trumbul, 2000). Working at a preschool, I see the difference in social class of parents and how they treat their young children. A low income mother, drops her child off quickly, without giving much goodbyes to her toddler, however, when I observe a higher income family, who do not get support from Child Action, they are so loving to their child. They stay in the classroom with the child for a few minutes. Talking to them, giving them kisses, and helping them take off their jackets. Their communication is clear and directed toward the child. It may not be that this is a socioeconomic prevalence; however, I do see a big difference in the communication style between the parents who are higher income families than those of lower income families. Harkness, S., & Super, C. M. (1992). Parental ethnotheories in action. In I. E. Sigel, A. V. McGillicuddy-DeLisi & J. J. Goodnow (Eds.), Parental Belief systems (pp. 373-391). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Trumbul, E., Rothstein-Fisch, C., & Greenfield, P. M. (2000). Bridging Cultures in Our Schools:New Approaches That Work. WestEd, 1-14. Retrieved from
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