Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Parental norms and actual behavior are not always in accord. On a normative level, the father's main obligation is to provide for the family economically. The mother should care for the children and the household (Gutmann, 1996, p. 74). Mothers in general spend more time than fathers with child-rearing. Certain child-rearing tasks like washing and feeding infants are mostly done by mothers. But fathers may also play an important role in the children's socialization. This is especially true for socialization of boys. If possible, fathers take their sons with them to work. Mothers more often than fathers discipline and even beat their children (Gutmann, 1996, p. 77; LeVine, 1993, p. 159). Affection is not necessary a motherly trait, but can even be viewed as characteristic of a father-child relation (Gutmann, 1996, p. 76). Supervising homework and the child's formal education can be done by either parent, yet religious education and church attendance are generally the mother's domain. Class may affect parenting. As Gutmann (1996, p. 85) notes, middle- and upper-class fathers are less likely to take part in childcare than working-class fathers. This is because most childcare in the upper and middle class is done by a muchacha (maid, cook, and nanny).

Parent-child interactions are changing (LeVine, 1993, p. 158). Middle-aged people comment that they still address their parents as Usted (the formal "you") and not as tu, as is typical for their children. Also, relations between parents and children have generally become more affectionate (Gutmann, 1996, p. 76; LeVine, 1993, p. 158).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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