ERIC Number: ED232772
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Cultural and Political Context of Child Development: Reality and Fantasy.
Read on the occasion of the establishment of the Joseph Church collection in psychology and education at the New York Public Library, this anecdotal and allusive paper informally discusses cultural changes affecting Americans' views and practices in the areas of parenting and child development. Reference is made to the present political context. Radical changes occuring since 1943, such as the reconceptualization of parent roles, are seen as surface changes reflecting a more radical shift in the framework of cultural assumptions within which Americans live and act. Psychology is thought to have provided only two important contributions in the area of child rearing: the concepts of deprivation and modeling. Parents are seen as exerting a far stronger effect on their children's development than any amount or kind of schooling, and the belief is expressed that parents are coming to understand that children thrive on demands that cultivate children's sense of competence and responsibility. Claims are made that psychological theories, including those of Freud and Piaget, can obscure the true nature of childhood and that little is known of what children are like as people. In conclusion, allusions are made to present day Social Darwinists and their anti-cultural, regressive attitudes toward children and the potential that can be realized through the creation of a life-enhancing culture. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Early Childhood Resource and Information Center of the New York Public Library (New York, NY, March 31, 1983).