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The pattern of findings in these three studies may reflect the importance of emotional expression and interdependence in African American culture Boykin and Toms, , or it may reflect an underlying psychological orientation among African American parents toward cultivation of emotional vigilance developed in response to racial prejudice and discrimination Garrett-Peters et al. In a similar vein, Nelson et al. When asked how they would respond to common situations in which the child displays negative emotions i. They also reported fewer supportive responses e. A similar pattern of emotion suppression emerged in retrospective reports of undergraduate college women, with African American women more likely than European American women to report that their parents minimized or downplayed emotional responses to distress Leerkes and Siepak, Likewise, in a study of a predominantly African American sample of early adolescents residing in inner-city neighborhoods, adolescents perceived their mothers as being more likely to punish sadness e.

Nelson et al. If higher levels of suppression responses among African American parents, as compared to European American parents, are driven partly by desires to protect children from racial bias, as Dunbar et al. Emotion beliefs and socialization among African American parents is a particularly fertile and understudied area of research. In general, replication studies are needed to gauge the robustness of extant findings.

Several foundational questions need to be addressed to move the area forward. What values are implicit in these conceptions? Research on African American fathers has mostly examined issues surrounding paternal involvement with their children Perry and Johnson, Studies of African American fathers primarily focus on fathers from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds Roopnarine and Hossain, ; Tamis-LeMonda, Briggs, McClowry, and Snow, and distinguish between resident and nonresident fathers. Resident fathers may include resident biological fathers and resident social fathers i.

Adolescents who identified fathers reported closer relationships i. Social fathers may enjoy better quality relationships with daughters because expectations regarding the paternal role tend to be lower for them than biological fathers and because they may be better positioned to evade issues that often beset parent-adolescent relationships Coley, Among biological fathers, there was limited variation in the parenting of married and unmarried fathers, but among social fathers, those who were married displayed better quality parenting e.

Analyses from the same data set indicated that, unexpectedly, social fathers engaged in higher-quality parenting than their biological counterparts, regardless of marital status Berger et al. This finding is contrary to reports showing lower-quality parenting among married social fathers compared to married biological fathers Carlson and Magnuson, It has been suggested that Berger et al. During the early stages of a relationship, social fathers may invest in better parenting to deepen the marital or partner bond Berger et al. Earlier studies with middle- to lower-middle-income, two-parent, African American families indicate lower involvement of fathers than mothers in primary caregiving of infants, regardless of whether mothers worked full time or part time.

Fathers spent more time playing with their infants than feeding or washing them, although mothers and fathers devoted the same amount of time playing with the baby Hossain and Roopnarine, Despite differences in levels of caregiving, mothers and fathers did not differ in the time they spent caring for boys versus girls Hossain and Roopnarine, , Similar to other cultures, African American fathers figure prominently in play and engage in less caregiving activities than African American mothers Lamb, Individual and coparental characteristics predict involvement of African American fathers in co-resident family structures.

Higher income, lower maternal psychological distress, and higher father-mother conflict were associated with lower father involvement among resident fathers in a sample of low-income and predominantly African American and Latin American families Coley and Hernandez, In another study using FFCWS data, little difference was found in the levels of involvement of married versus unmarried cohabiting African American fathers Perry, Harmon, and Leeper, Among married fathers, involvement was higher among men who were younger, and positively associated with not having children with multiple women, greater religiosity, lower parenting stress, and higher ratings of themselves as fathers Perry et al.

Similar correlates of paternal involvement have been found in married, middle-class, biological resident African American fathers of preschoolers Baker, In addition, among the latter fathers, higher involvement in play, caregiving, and home literacy activities was associated with fewer depressive symptoms Baker, A number of factors are correlated with higher paternal involvement among nonresident African American fathers, including younger age, higher income, and lower levels of psychological distress i.

In addition, nonresident African American fathers whose children visited their maternal family more frequently reported lower involvement. This may be due to the complexity and ambiguity of expectations regarding paternal roles when grandparents and extended family members are involved in childrearing Perry, An extensive review of research on nonresident biological fathers and extended family members as coparents who assist African American single mothers with childrearing can be found elsewhere Jones et al.

Incarceration is another significant factor that affects the lives of many African American fathers and their children Dallaire, The disproportionate representation of African American men in the U. Modecki and Wilson presented incarcerated African American fathers with hypothetical parenting scenarios, and fathers rated the likelihood that they would engage in different behaviors in response to a child transgression e.

Fathers who had less education, had spent more time incarcerated, and had children with multiple women favored more restrictive, less responsive parenting strategies. In their study of a sample of predominantly African American fathers in jail and their 2- to 6-year-old children, Poehlmann-Tynan, Burnson, Runion, and Weymouth found that children whose jailed fathers reported significant alcohol problems, and children who had higher levels of witness-distress i.

Children rated as more secure in their home environments were less likely to display negative emotions e. The typically low level of education attainment among African American inmates Raphael, , in combination with the stigma associated with prior felony conviction, poses significant reentry challenges, particularly in finding employment Western and Wildeman, Studies find that fathers with a history of incarceration display lower contact and engagement with their children compared to never-incarcerated fathers Geller, ; Perry and Bright, ; Swisher and Waller, Paternal incarceration may have long-term, detrimental effects on children.

Compared to African American children whose fathers have no history of incarceration, African American children of fathers with a history of incarceration have more behavior problems at age 5 Perry and Bright, , increased depressive symptoms during adolescence and adulthood Gaston, ; Swisher and Roettger, , and a higher likelihood of delinquency and arrest in adolescence and young adulthood Roettger and Swisher, ; Swisher and Roettger, Data from large longitudinal studies that include African American samples show similar patterns Wakefield and Wildeman, ; Wildeman, These studies controlled for a wide range of socioeconomic variables and individual characteristics associated with both risk for incarceration and child outcomes, reducing the likelihood that the observed associations reflect shared risk factors among disadvantaged families.

The long-term negative effects could be due to the accumulation of negative events that follow parental incarceration e. There is also some tentative evidence that effects on children may vary depending on the characteristics of the fathers e. We mention only a few here. Investigations are needed to determine if traditional gender-differentiated patterns found in research conducted during the s persist in middle-class African American families.

More studies need to gather information about paternal involvement among African American men directly from the men themselves, rather than via maternal reports. Investigations need to include a broader range of types of activities that African American fathers do with their children and assess the quality of their involvement. Direct assessment of the factors that mediate this racial disparity is needed, especially in light of evidence that parental leave use is positively associated with paternal engagement 1 and 5 years later Pragg and Knoester, We also need a better understanding of processes that mitigate the impact of parental incarceration on children, and the unique pathways through which parental incarceration leads to long-term maladaptive outcomes in children, independent of risk factors and characteristics that coexist among incarcerated fathers and their children.

Three types of involvement—home involvement, school involvement, and academic socialization—have been widely discussed. Home involvement includes creating a cognitively stimulating home environment e. Academic socialization involves parents imparting their values, conveying expectations around education to children, and discussing how education is related to future life chances Hill and Tyson, Parental involvement in education generally has salutary effects on children Hill and Tyson, ; Jeynes, ; Pomerantz, Moorman, and Litwack, Parental involvement in education is associated with better grades, higher levels of educational attainment, more engagement at school, stronger academic orientation, and fewer behavior problems Benner, Boyle, and Sadler, ; Cooper and Crosnoe, ; Hill et al.

African American parents show distinctive patterns of parental involvement. African American parents are particularly likely to engage in types of parental involvement that are less visible to school personnel e. Parental educational aspirations for adolescents predict home and school involvement for both higher- and lower-SES African American parents, and meta-analyses have shown that high educational aspirations are associated with academic achievement for African American children Hayes, ; Jeynes, , Parental concern about school quality is also justified, given the ubiquity of racial inequalities.

As one example, U. In majority African American high schools, English, math, and science teachers were more than three times less likely to be certified in the academic subject they taught than in majority-European American schools. In addition, schools that were more than half African American had a larger percentage of new teachers i.

Low-income African American parents whose children attend low-performing schools are also motivated to be involved to try to ensure that their children get a quality education despite the educational shortcomings of their schools. For these parents, involvement in school can stem from a desire to foment reforms that will improve the quality of the school and the specific types of reforms that they pursue can put them at odds with schools Diamond and Gomez, For some low-income, African American parents, school involvement is fueled in part by a desire to combat stereotypes that teachers and school personnel hold about African American parents Hayes, Indeed, home involvement and academic socialization are more strongly related to positive academic outcomes than school involvement Hill and Tyson, ; Jeynes, Perceptions of teacher support are related to parental involvement at home and school for both higher- and lower-SES African American parents Hayes, There are several limitations in the literature on parental involvement in education among African American parents.

To date, the parental involvement literature on African Americans almost exclusively focuses on those who are economically disadvantaged. Studies that include or focus specifically on involvement in education among African American parents typically fail to include socioeconomically diverse samples Hayes, Little is known about patterns or predictors of parental involvement among middle-class African American parents, and it is plausible that some variation in parental involvement among African Americans is tied to social class.


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For example, Jeynes did not find a relation between parental involvement and academic achievement in African American families when SES was controlled. Under these circumstances, parental involvement in school is cultivated through greater satisfaction with the chosen school and more positive perceptions of teachers Cooper, ; Hayes, Studies of African Americans tend to be anchored to three or four dimensions of racial socialization: cultural socialization messages about cultural heritage, cultural traditions, racial pride ; preparation for bias messages about racial discrimination and strategies for coping with discrimination ; promotion of mistrust messages that emphasize the need for wariness and distrust in interracial interactions ; and egalitarianism messages that deemphasize race and emphasize commonalities among all people; Hughes et al.

In recent years, some scholars have moved beyond examining one type of racial socialization message independent of other types of racial socialization messages, in favor of assessing different racial socialization profiles. This trend is responsive to the observation that parents rarely convey a single type of racial socialization message, but rather typically communicate a variety of racial socialization messages. For this perspective, it is the confluence of different messages about the meaning of race that best captures the racial philosophy that parents seek to convey to their children Neblett et al.

We note key conclusions from these reviews, and discuss in more detail findings published in the last decade or so. Of particular interest here are variations in racial socialization as a function of parent, child, and neighborhood characteristics and the extent to which racial socialization moderates the link between racial discrimination and child outcomes. Although the overwhelming majority of studies of racial socialization focus on parents mostly mothers , parents are not the only agents of racial socialization.

Other important agents include extended family members, peers, mentors, teachers, and schools through their disciplinary practices, school curriculum, tracking, and other features Hughes, McGill, Ford, and Tubbs, ; Priest et al. Curvilinear associations have also been found between SES and racial socialization in studies that use both income and education as SES indicators, with middle-SES respondents being more likely to convey preparation for bias and mistrust messages, and less likely to convey egalitarian messages, compared to lower- and higher-SES groups Hughes et al.

Crouter et al. In turn, self-efficacy partially explained the association between occupational self-direction and racial socialization i. There is some indication that mothers engage in more racial socialization than fathers McHale et al. In addition, parent gender can interact in complicated ways with child characteristics, as demonstrated in McHale et al. Mothers engaged in more frequent cultural socialization compared to fathers, but further differences in cultural socialization patterns emerged when considering the age and gender of the children, who were in middle childhood and adolescence.

Fathers engaged in more racial socialization with their sons than with their daughters, whereas mothers engaged in more racial socialization with their older than younger children. For both mothers and fathers, racial socialization practices were associated with parental warmth, suggesting that racial socialization occurs in the context of a positive family environment. Racial socialization profiles among parents of first graders are related to child gender, even though there are no child gender differences in mean levels of different types of racial socialization Caughy, Nettles, and Lima, Parents of girls are more likely to emphasize cultural socialization, whereas parents of boys are more likely to accentuate a combination of cultural socialization, preparation for bias, and mistrust messages.

Some studies, however, report no differences by child gender Hughes et al. The reasons for this are unclear, but as Caughy et al. If parents seek to prepare their children to successfully meet challenges that they expect their children will encounter, it would be expected that African American parents who have experienced more racial discrimination or been exposed to more racial prejudice would convey more cultural socialization and preparation for bias messages.

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Findings based on both African American mothers and fathers, and variable-centered as well as person-centered i. In qualitative studies, cultural pride, agency, and determination as strategies to resist racism emerged as salient messages middle- and low-income African American fathers conveyed to their sons. Studies generally fail to address neighborhood selection effects, typically employ cross-sectional designs that make causal inference untenable, and often rely on single informants, which may inflate associations between variables due to shared-method variance.

Some studies adjust for parental SES, income, or education, but others do not. We discuss findings from a few, more methodologically sound studies. Despite their methodological advantages, though, caution is still warranted because very few of the findings have been replicated.

For some parents, the press for racial socialization is greater when they live in integrated rather than all-African American neighborhoods, adjusting for SES indicators such as parental education Tatum, ; Thornton et al. In Thornton et al. Whereas Thornton et al. Racial mistrust messages were less common among African American parents living in predominantly European American neighborhoods, compared to those living in racially mixed neighborhoods and predominantly African American neighborhoods, adjusting for neighborhood economic disadvantage.

This finding raises questions about the extent to which these associations reflect selection effects. African American parents, who perceive little to no racial discrimination, are more trusting of European Americans, and are less likely to convey racial mistrust messages, may also be more likely to select into predominantly European American neighborhoods.

In addition, Caughy et al. Caughy et al. Negative neighborhood social climate e. Saleem et al. Among parents of adolescent boys, racial discrimination in the context of low neighborhood cohesion, as compared to high neighborhood cohesion, was also more evocative of racial pride messages at time 2 controlling for racial pride messages at time 1.

They did not endorse any racial socialization messages; had very few Africentric toys, pictures, or household items in the home; and lived in neighborhoods with a significantly better social climate e. Profiles did not vary by the concentrated economic disadvantage of the neighborhoods in which families lived, or by caregiver educational attainment, employment status, or family poverty level.

A question of considerable interest is whether racial socialization mitigates the association between racial discrimination and negative outcomes among adolescents and young adults. Higher levels of parental racial socialization Fischer and Shaw, , messages emphasizing the use of African American cultural resources to cope with racism e. Wang and Huguley reported that cultural socialization messages at ninth grade that emphasized racial pride and African American history and tradition attenuated the link between perceived discrimination in ninth grade on grade point average GPA and educational aspirations in eleventh grade, controlling for these outcomes in ninth grade.

In another study that examined cultural socialization and preparation for bias conjointly, the link between perceived discrimination and low self-esteem was mitigated among eighth graders who reported high levels of race pride socialization and moderate levels of preparation for bias messages. Among adolescents who reported experiencing low racial pride socialization and both high and low preparation for bias messages, perceived discrimination was associated with low self-esteem Harris-Britt, Valrie, Kurtz-Costes, and Rowley, Taken together, the findings indicate, at best, fairly weak patterns of moderation effects.

Just as cultural socialization has been more consistently linked to favorable outcomes in adolescents e. Protective effects on any outcome appear to emerge more consistently in studies of older adolescents and young adults Bynum et al. More than a decade ago, Hughes et al. They called for documentation of bidirectional processes that occur between parents and children during the course of racial socialization, clarification of how racial socialization is embedded in the broader context of parenting, a greater range of assessment tools, larger and more representative samples, longitudinal research designs, and research based on multiple informants.

In general, more progress has been made in the latter two areas than the other areas, but this progress is fragile as these methodological strengths are seen in only a handful of studies.

Chapter 14. Marriage and Family

Addressing the other areas that Hughes et al. Our current knowledge base about African American parenting has numerous implications for future research, practice, and policy, only a few of which we mention because of space limitations. Throughout the chapter, we identified issues that warrant attention in future research, hence our comments here are broad and cut across the various domains of African American parenting considered in the chapter. The past two decades have witnessed significant conceptual and methodological advances in the study of African American parenting.

Research is more firmly grounded in an ecological perspective that takes account of the unique conditions and adversities within which African American parenting occurs, more studies employ longitudinal designs, and there is an increase, albeit slight, in information about working-class and middle-class African American families. Other fledgling developments include an increasing number of qualitative studies and a handful of studies that employ multiple methodologies, including observations. Promising strategies for moving forward on this front include careful study of prior efforts to disentangle these orientations Le et al.

Tamis-LeMonda, Briggs et al. Heeding their call for more studies based on representative samples of African American families, and more systematic sampling of families from different socioeconomic strata, family structures, and neighborhoods characteristics is imperative. Only a handful of studies reviewed in this chapter gave serious attention to these measurement issues. The findings presented in this chapter offer several lessons for practitioners working with African American parents to prevent the development of problematic child behavior e. Although the chapter encompasses information about race differences in parenting values, beliefs, and behavior, it also underscores the variability that exists within African American families in these various domains.

Working effectively with African American parents and families requires not only expertise in relevant intervention or therapeutic modalities, but cultural competence as well. Practitioners need to be knowledgeable and respectful of African American cultural values and the parenting beliefs, values, and practices that are common among African Americans. Some basic understanding of how these outcomes have been shaped by historical forces and contemporary circumstances is also essential Forehand and Kotchick, This link between basic and intervention research helps situate the etiological role of African American parenting behavior within a cultural and ecological context Brody et al.

This is preferable to implementing interventions with African American families based on etiological models developed with European American families. For example, they need to know that patterns of involvement among African American parents tend to be different than those among European American parents for several reasons, and understand that lower levels of the kind of parental involvement that are visible to teachers i.

Teachers also need keen sensitivity to the factors that interfere with school involvement among lower-income and working-class African Americans over which they have little control e. Qualitative research with parents and school personnel suggests a variety of ways to decrease barriers to school involvement, including increasing involvement opportunities e. However, efforts to reduce barriers are unlikely to be successful in the absence of an understanding of the legitimate grounds upon which African American parents may be suspicious of and guarded with school personnel e.

The vast majority of the approximately 5, fathers randomly assigned to treatment and control groups were African American. Overall, the program did not increase the amount of visitation between fathers and their children, but increased regular father-child contact among fathers with the lowest rates of preprogram contact with their children. The program increased disagreements between mothers and noncustodial fathers, suggesting that fathers responded to the program by attempting to engage in more active parenting than noncustodial fathers in the control group.

The evaluation also found evidence that increases in formal payment of child support may result in reductions in informal support as noncustodial fathers attempt to make ends meet. One of the most promising father involvement interventions sought to prevent youth risky behaviors among 8- to year-old boys by influencing the parenting attitudes and behaviors of their nonresident African American fathers Caldwell et al. The intervention, which consisted of a total of 45 hours of activities over a 2-month period—unusually long-lasting for programs of this genre Cowan, Cowan, and Knox, —was theoretically based and informed by aspects of African American culture discussed in this chapter.

Sons in the intervention group also reported increased monitoring by their fathers, improved communication about sex, and increased intentions to avoid violence, although it was not successful in reducing aggressive behaviors among sons. The intervention did not have random assignment. Rather, participants in the intervention group were compared before and after the intervention with fathers and sons in a nonrandom comparison group from a nearby community. Determining whether these findings are replicated when the intervention is tested with random assignment in a sample that is more economically and educationally disadvantaged than Caldwell et al.

However, a more fundamental and urgent issue that has profound implications for paternal involvement is mobilization of policies and programs that interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and improve the educational outcomes and economic well-being of African American men. The Equal Pay Act of required employers to pay male and female employees equally for substantially equal work. Although this law helped narrow the gender wage gap, it stands at about 20 cents today when looking at full-time, year-round workers i. The gap is even larger for African Americans and Latin Americans.

In , African American women working full time, year round were typically paid only 64 cents and Latin American women only 55 cents for each dollar paid to their European American, non-Hispanic male counterparts. Women are paid less at every level of education from less than high school to professional or doctoral degree , and in nearly every occupation, regardless of whether women work in predominantly female occupations, predominantly male occupations, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women.

Although single parenthood is a significant contributor to economic strain in African American families, another significant determinative—and one that is highly amenable to policy intervention—is the high prevalence of jobs that pay wages insufficient to support a family. Many near poor and poor children have parents who work full time, but they are concentrated in jobs in the service and retail sectors where pay is low e. In keeping with this fact, international comparisons indicate that the United States has a higher childhood poverty rate than any other wealthy nation, partly because it has the highest proportion of workers in poorly paid jobs Smeeding, African American single mothers and their children would benefit disproportionately from an increase in the minimum wage, as they would from policies that encourage more family-friendly work policies e.

Another set of policies of major consequence to African American parenting concerns law enforcement and incarceration. Since the s, the U. The consequences of this mass incarceration are concentrated among African American men, most of whom are fathers. For example, among men born between and , by age 30—34, approximately 1 in 5 African American men had experienced imprisonment, compared to 1 in 30 European American men. Were this disparity not astonishing enough, when risks of imprisonment are disaggregated by level of education within race, racial disparities in the risk of imprisonment are even more pronounced.

The widespread adoption of mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug crimes has incarcerated for 10—20 years many African American men and fathers who have no significant histories of violence. Analyses suggest that, ironically, it is the families of these nonviolent men who have suffered the largest negative effects. In addition, the practice of reimprisoning parolees for parole violations e. Mass incarceration has been aptly described as a racial caste system that has had exceedingly corrosive effects on African American families and communities Alexander, Well-designed and well-implemented education and parenting programs in prison may help fathers establish better relationships with their children while in prison, or learn skills to become better parents upon their release.

Men who have been incarcerated for longer periods of time and with multiple partners may benefit the most from such programs, but research is needed to assess these possibilities. Contact visitations in child-friendly environments, extended or overnight family visits, and videoconferencing Cramer, Goff, Peterson, and Sandstrom, , along with more humane prisoner reentry policy Wildeman and Western, , may also help reduce the negative effects of incarceration on children and families.

Ultimately, though, the system of mass incarceration needs to be dismantled and replaced with effective alternatives to incarceration e. Just as federal policies bear major responsibility for the mass incarceration of African American men, racially targeted federal housing and lending policies have played a chief and causal role in the staggering racial gap in wealth and the widespread neighborhood racial segregation in the United States Massey and Denton, ; Rothstein, We endorse the proposal for reparations paid through policies intended to close the wealth gap, especially that portion that derives from home equity.

This policy could entail 1 devoting greater resources to preventing and prosecuting the racial steering in the housing and lending market that continues to occur; 2 offering African Americans favorable terms on mortgages with very low interest rates and low or no down payment, subsidized by the federal government; and 3 providing African Americans opportunities to create wealth through means beyond the housing market, such as access to high-quality higher education and favorable terms for loans to start new businesses.

Advocates of these proposals acknowledge that it may be necessary to provide some of these benefits and opportunities on a racially blind basis to make the policies more palatable politically, so long as the policies are understood as compensating African Americans for the long history of injustice they have endured Kaplan and Valls, We devoted attention to six domains of parenting: behavioral control, parental discipline, emotion socialization, paternal involvement, parental involvement in education, and racial socialization.

Just as contemporary and historical racial discrimination casts a long shadow on the everyday lives of the average African American, its direct and indirect influence on parenting cognitions, parenting behavior, and the multilayered contexts of parenting is a common thread that runs throughout the research we reviewed, although not surprisingly, the thread is more prominent in some domains of research than others.

African American parents tend to attach a high degree of importance to obedience, respect for parents and elders in the kinship network and community, and limit-setting as childrearing values. Emphasis on these values, which tends to be stronger among lower-income African Americans parents, align with childrearing values found in more collectivistic-oriented cultures where prevention of dissent and facilitation of harmony help to ensure the well-being of the extended family or larger cultural group.

The rationales that African American parents give for these childrearing values vary. African American parents afford their adolescent children fewer opportunities for independent decision making than do European American parents, and the limited evidence available suggests that they are more likely than European American parents to stand firm when disagreements occur with their adolescent children. These race differences appear to be rooted partly in the higher prevalence of dangers and threats to which African American children are exposed. For the same reason, higher levels of parental control, in general, appear to be more beneficial for psychological adjustment among African American youth than European American youth.

Within-group analyses suggest that higher levels of parental control may be promotive of positive adjustment among African American children who live in high-risk neighborhoods and whose peer group tends to be more involved in problem behavior, but these benefits may dissipate as children progress through adolescence. The dilemma between protecting adolescents and acceding to their demands for autonomy appears to be particularly acute for African American parents.

However, like European American parents, African American parents grant more opportunities for autonomous decision making as children progress through adolescence, a pattern that predicts better psychosocial adjustment among both African American and European American children.

African American parents are more likely to respond to misbehavior with nonphysical strategies e. Among African American mothers, level of education is negatively associated with use of physical discipline, but generally, attitudes toward and use of physical discipline are less differentiated by SES for African Americans than European Americans. The intense research focus on physical discipline and its relation to child outcomes needs to be counterbalanced by programs of research that examine the full range of disciplinary strategies that African American parents use. Emotion socialization among African American parents is a nascent research focus.

The few existing studies link African American status to apparently countervailing trends, in particular, greater encouragement of emotion expression on one hand, but greater suppression of negative emotions on the other hand. The limited research on emotion socialization in African American families has generated a bevy of intriguing, researchable ideas that can be further developed and refined by scrutinizing the rich scholarship on African American culture in the fields of sociology and anthropology.

The correlates of paternal involvement among African American resident fathers vary considerably, depending on whether the father and mother are married. Fathers with a history of incarceration display lower contact and engagement with their children compared to never-incarcerated fathers, but a substantial proportion maintain some level of involvement with their children.

African American parents tend to convey more preparation for bias messages to boys than girls, consistent with evidence that African American males experience higher levels of racial discrimination and are more stigmatized than African American females. These messages, as well as cultural socialization messages, are transmitted more frequently by African American parents who have experienced more racial discrimination.

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Metrics Views Abstract African American parents bear the same responsibilities as European Americans for the survival, care, and upbringing of their children, but they are subject to some unique conditions and circumstances that expand their childrearing tasks and increase the challenges of childrearing. Introduction African American parents bear the same responsibilities as European Americans for the survival, care, and upbringing of their children, but they are subject to some unique conditions and circumstances that expand their childrearing tasks and increase the challenges of childrearing.

Smedley and Smedley, , p. Low Net Worth The current racial gap in household net worth i. Less Favorable Employment Conditions and Patterns of Maternal Employment In addition to being concentrated in jobs with lower levels of stability and authority and fewer opportunities for advancement Pager and Shepherd, , African Americans tend to experience less favorable employment conditions than their European American counterparts e.

Shifting Perspectives on African American Parenting Racial disparities in the context of parenting discussed in the previous section have existed for decades, but with the exception of income poverty and its link to single motherhood, these contextual factors were largely ignored in early research on African American parenting. Core and Emerging Domains of African American Parenting Because the research literature on African American parenting is extensive, space limitations dictate a selective rather than exhaustive review. Explanations for Beliefs About the Importance of Obedience, Respect, and Limit-Setting Stronger endorsement of obedience, respect, and limit-setting as parenting values is typically presumed to reflect a more parent-centered orientation in which the needs or wants of the parent are given priority over those of the child.

Parent-Adolescent Decision Making In accord with evidence that African American parents attach stronger importance to limit-setting than European American parents, African American adolescents report fewer opportunities for independent decision making than European American adolescents, but like European American adolescents, report greater opportunities for independent decision making and autonomy with increasing age Costigan et al.

Parent-Adolescent Conflict Several findings pertaining to the source, resolution, and justification of parent-adolescent conflicts in African American families appear to reflect unique aspects of African American culture and adaptations to the higher risks to which African American youth are exposed.

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Socioeconomic Status and Discipline A small number of studies have examined socioeconomic differences in the use or endorsement of various discipline strategies. Beliefs, Discipline, and Parenting Stress Parenting stress refers to a sense of difficulty experienced in the parenting role because the demands of parenting exceed the resources available to meet parenting demands Nam, Wikoff, and Sherraden, Resident Fathers Resident fathers may include resident biological fathers and resident social fathers i.

Incarcerated Fathers and Fathers With a History of Incarceration Incarceration is another significant factor that affects the lives of many African American fathers and their children Dallaire, Racial Socialization as a Moderator of the Link Between Racial Discrimination and Negative Outcomes A question of considerable interest is whether racial socialization mitigates the association between racial discrimination and negative outcomes among adolescents and young adults. Implications for Research, Practice, and Policy Our current knowledge base about African American parenting has numerous implications for future research, practice, and policy, only a few of which we mention because of space limitations.

Research Throughout the chapter, we identified issues that warrant attention in future research, hence our comments here are broad and cut across the various domains of African American parenting considered in the chapter. Practice The findings presented in this chapter offer several lessons for practitioners working with African American parents to prevent the development of problematic child behavior e.

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Historical and Cultural Influences on African-American Family Life

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Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5 7 , — Unlike patriarchal societies, marriage did not sever the ties between a woman and her family, nor did it end the obligation of the mother's family to her and her offspring. The West African family, viewed as a clan, is arguably a predecessor or model for the extended family structures found in contemporary African-American communities.

During slavery, the family remained a principal base for social affiliation, economic activity, and political organization. Family traditions in Western Africa served as the model for family life during the period of slavery. The family lives of Africans brought to the American colonies as slaves retained some of the same qualities particularly the matriarchal focus Franklin and Moss Nevertheless, the biological father was responsible for ensuring physical and psychological well-being.

In West Africa, ties to a common female ancestor bound members of a clan to one another. Indentured servants brought this template of family life, with its mores, customs, and beliefs to the New World, and retained them during the long period of slavery to pass them on to their children. Family life during slavery. Although some early ancestors of African Americans came to the United States as free or indentured servants and maintained their free status over the generations, the majority were forced into a long life of servitude. To exact involuntary labor from African slaves, European Americans used generous portions of both physical and psychological violence.

However, European Americans understood that they would only be able to consolidate their control if they stripped Africans of their identity, language, and the culture that bound them to their past in Africa Franklin and Moss This was accomplished by undermining and replacing family structures with transient relationships built around identity as slaves owned by others, rather than with a family unit. These efforts were not entirely successful. In spite of the obstacles, many slaves organized themselves into family structures remarkably similar to nuclear family structures in the rest of America.

Intact and committed marital relationships were commonplace among slaves. Men and women joined in monogamous relationships through explicit ceremonies. The children born of these relationships had paternal and maternal relationships, even when the parents could not exercise complete control over their children's lives. Throughout the period of slavery in the United States, strong family ties and committed marital relationships were evident even among couples forced to live apart. When men and women were able to purchase their freedom or to secure it through the beneficence of the slave owner, they would work for money to purchase the freedom of their spouses and their children.

These and many other efforts to bring family to live in the same household suggest strongly that African Americans strove to create the ideals of family life made difficult by the institution of slavery Gutman Historical and cultural forces cannot account for every aspect of African-American family life. Contemporary social forces exert very powerful influences over the formation and nature of family life in black America today.

For example, successive waves of migration from rural to urban areas during the twentieth century, racism, poverty, urbanization, segregation, and immigration from outside the United States have profoundly reshaped family life. Rural to urban migration. When the Civil War ended, and former slaves were free to move, an overwhelming majority of African Americans resided in the rural South.

In later decades, however, in response to economic downturns and the absence of opportunity in rural areas, African Americans moved to cities in the northeast and to urban midwestern areas to seek economic advancement. This twentieth century wave of migration out of the rural South was so massive that by , only 55 percent of African Americans lived in the South.

They make up one-fifth of that region's population. Nationwide, 54 percent resided in the central cities of metro areas. Half of the ten states with the largest African-American populations were outside of the deep South. New York 3. As a consequence of these migrations, families moved from relatively cohesive rural communities to cities where they were anonymous. Not all families were able to re-create networks by moving close to relatives and people they had known in the South or to establish new ones with fictive kin. Urbanization with its fast-paced life, long work hours, multiple jobs, and neighborhoods, proved destructive to family life.

Because women had access to the labor market, men assumed domestic responsibilities and shared in the care of children. African Americans encountered new and virulent forms of racism and discrimination, which were less obvious in the northeast, midwest, and west than those of the South.

This new racism, however, had more subtle and deleterious effects. Residential segregation was enforced not by law, but by informal covenants and economic discrimination. Although many families had access to better paying jobs than were available in the South, their ability to advance their socioeconomic status SES on the basis of merit was often limited by the same racial discrimination they had experienced in the South.

The transition from the rural South to urban life, often in northern cities, offered no guarantee of relief from poverty for African-American families. Poverty has remained the most pressing issue adversely affecting family life among African-Americans. Family life among African Americans is adversely affected by a tightly related set of adverse social conditions.

These conditions include low SES and educational achievement, underemployment, teenage pregnancy, patterns of family formation, divorce, health problems, and psychological adjustment. In , 88 percent of African Americans ages twenty-five to twenty-nine had graduated from high-school, continuing an upward trend in the educational attainment of African Americans that began in Thus, the number of African-American families living below the poverty level stood at Poverty is important in its own right for the material hardship it brings. It has multiple adverse effects because it is implicated in marital distress and dissolution, health problems, lower educational attainment and deficits in psychological functioning, and prospects for healthy development over the life course Barbarin Beginning in the s and stretching into the twenty-first century, African-American family life has been subject to an influx of new immigrants from the Caribbean and parts of Africa.

This movement is oddly reminiscent of the immigration pattern three centuries earlier. Arrivals from the Caribbean and East and West Africa have expanded the diversity of African-American families as they reconnect African Americans with their distant relatives who themselves have been transformed by modernity and urbanization. These new immigrants make for an African-American community that is even more diverse in language. Immigrants of African descent give new meaning and flavor to the American melting pot as they create their own blend of lilting cadences of Caribbean English, plus an added spice of French-speaking Senegalese.

In one manner, these new groups of voluntary immigrants represent assimilation without accommodating the customs of American mainstream values and beliefs. While Africans and West Indians come to the United States to seek opportunities and freedom, they retain national pride and also the languages and customs associated with their countries of origin. As the issue of assimilation into the African-American community takes place, new tensions and promises will arise, as newcomers and long-time residents establish their relationships with one another and grope to find their areas of common ground.

Historical and cultural influences, racism, urbanization, migration, discrimination, segregation, and immigration have profoundly shaped contemporary African-American family functioning. The new millennium brings with it striking differences in contemporary African-American functioning families and those of the past. These differences are specifically marked by the timing of family formation and stability of marriages, the flexibility of its gender roles, patterns of paternal involvement in child care, the fluidity of household composition, and the cultural resources the family has available to cope with adversity.

Timing of the formation of African-American households. The formation of African-American households often originates not in marriage but in the birth of a child. Fifty-six percent of African-American children were born in families in which the mother was not married to the biological father. About 4 million African-American children 36 percent reside with both their parents.

Not surprisingly, women head a majority of the families formed by unmarried parents. For example, in , single women headed 54 percent of African-American households. Unfortunately, mothers living with their children without ever having been married face decreasing prospects of marriage and thus look to a future in which they will spend much of their adult lives as unmarried caregivers of their children and their children's children.

However, such demographic data taken alone paint a misleading portrait of African-American families. Historically, strong marriages and commitment to family life have been central features of African-American families. In the last decade of the twentieth century, however, marriage rates among African Americans declined significantly. In , for example, 41 percent of all African-American men over the age of eighteen had never been married and 37 percent of African-American women over the age of eighteen had never married U.

Bureau of the Census, Experts on the African-American family have attributed the declining rates to the shortage of marriageable African-American males Wilson and to structural, social, and economic factors Tucker and Mitchell-Kernan Throughout history, the population of African-American women has outnumbered the population of African-American men.

By , there were only 88 males for every females Tucker and Mitchell-Kernan The shortage of African-American males is further exacerbated by the large percentage of men who are unemployed, underemployed, users of narcotic drugs, or mentally ill, and thus fall into the undesirable category Chapman That is, few African-American women would consider these men suitable for marriage. Thus, the chances of ever getting married are dramatically reduced by the overall sex-ratio imbalance among African Americans and the relatively low percentage of available marriageable males.

Although the basic determinants underlying the high rates of singlehood among African Americans are structural and ideological preferences, definite patterns also exist along class and gender lines Staples For low-income African Americans, the structural constraints appear to be primarily that of unavailability and undesirability. However, among middle-class African Americans, the desire not to marry is more prevalent. Because African-American women have long been in the workforce, their earning power is similar to that of African-American men, and thus many African-American females do not feel a need to marry for economic support.

Staples believes the greater a woman's educational level and income, the less desirable she is to many African-American men.