Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Women are largely responsible for the care of children and they acquire significant status through mothering activities. Many working- and middle-class women without children take in others' children, caring for them as their own. Motherwork, which extends to aunts and grandmothers, includes nurturing and affectionate behavior, mild scolding, and instruction in sex-linked household chores.

Girls learn feminine tasks, such as cooking, clothes washing, sweeping, and sewing, from their mothers.

In rural areas boys help their fathers with farm activities, hauling water, caring for livestock, and collecting wood. In practice, sex role training is fluid in that boys and men will help with household chores and girls also work with their fathers in productive activities outside the home (Fox, 1999).

Fathers are defined predominantly as breadwinners and disciplinarians of children across class lines. Mothers flog their daughters, but fathers protect children, especially sons, from becoming "bad" with the threat and occasional administration of "wicked" floggings (Chevannes, 2001). Although households are mother centered, fathers maintain social dominance even in absentia. Fathers are more likely to be stable members of households in middle- and upper-class families, but their activities also take them away from the household and they are rarely available as emotional resources for boys. In Rastafarian households and communities, fathers try to take on more nurturing and affectionate roles; however, here too they are disciplinarians and women are nurturers.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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