Enculturation: Sociology and Child

Enculturation: Sociology and Child

Culture learned at home has a more informal tone, where family and/or billing often surround the child, and play is less regulated. In Steak’s article on “Culture” (24), it is stated “people live in particular cultures, where they are uncultured along different lines. ” Thus, it is no surprise that there are many variances as to how people from differing cultures raise their children. To illustrate some of the different ways children are uncultured, this paragraph refers to those cultures studied in Chapter 14 of Spindled.

First, are the children of Paula, whose people do not favor emotional attachments, and do their best as adults not to encourage them. Younger children will be aired if they cry to be picked up, with the mother giving in to the youngster’s pleas. Spindled gives the example of 5-year-old Azure who cries and throws a tantrum while trying to get his mother to carry him back to the village from the washing pool. Jazz’s mother ignores his pleas, and continues to make her way home from the washing pool.

This refusal to carry AZ falls in line with similar refusals of mothers to hold, feed, and cuddle with their children. Jazz’s mother abruptly changed her behavior towards him when she refused to carry him, showing him that it is time for him to grow up. “Growing up in Paula means in part to stop depending on people, even your very own loving mother” (Spindled 278-279). This change, or “break” in behavior towards the child is part of the discontinuity between the earlier part of childhood, and the time in later childhood at which point it has been decided the child needs to grow up.

Before AZ turned five, he was able to move about freely, was rarely punished, and his mother often carried him. At the age of five, when that type of behavior was no longer tolerated, and he was often told what to do, AZ had lost faith in his mother, and no longer knew how to behave in order to get what he wanted. This discontinuity is a method by the Pullmans to create a culture where there is distrustful and somewhat hostile environment. In such a hostile environment, one would expect the culture to place more value on independence.

The reality in Paula though, is that there is no longer a dependency on another person’s affections, but the Pullmans still fear acting independently, looking for authority-based approval. Another group, the Laotians, was also discussed in Chapter 14 of Spindled. The Laotians are very attentive to their young children, as were the Pullmans. The Laotians use a more gradual method of weaning the child away from its mother’s breast, and even shows some elements of playfulness in the process.

The parents remain supportive of their children, and allow them to play with the mother’s breast, while at the same time disallowing the child’s suckling. This more relaxed attitude is conveyed to the children through adult behavior, with relaxation being “one of the major values of Aleutian culture” (Spindled 281 In Lithe, behavior that is excessively independent is disapproved, while normal independence is accepted as a sign of individual autonomy. The Laotians do not show discontinuity in uncalculating their children until the early years of adulthood.

This discontinuity takes place in the form of a ritual called “Kafka”, after which brother-sister avoidance occurs (Spindled 282). Lithe boys have a simple Kafka ceremony, in which they are able to change into adult clothing, perform magic, and give a feast. For Lithe girls, the Kafka is a little more complex. Women of the village shout about the girls’ menstruation, bath her, perform spells over her, and instruct her on the many rules she must obey. She also is able to move into a hut of her own, but must go to the menstrual house whenever her cycle begins.

The Kafka ritual is evidence of formal education for the Lithe children in the ways they are expected to behave as adults within their society. The change in cultural norms, or behaviors for the Laotians occurs immediately following the well- defined Kafka. The Kafka is the evident point of discontinuity. Poor AZ, as well as other Palatal children, have to be denied their requests for attention and sustenance many times before they realize that their cultural norms have hanged, thus making their point of discontinuity a little blurrier.

Other examples of ways children are uncultured can be seen a little more clearly, is to look at childrearing beliefs that are a little closer to home. Vogel, Stevenson, and Messenger compare the parent-child relationships in the united States and Japan. The ways in which Americans and the Japanese raise and teach their children are based upon the different perspectives and beliefs upon which their parent-child interactions are based. In ” A Comparison of the Parent-Child Relationship in Japan and the United States,” t is said that the Japanese have a code for parent-child interaction based upon Confucianism… Arsenal fulfillment could only be attained by establishing harmonious relationships with the physical and social environment (36). Thus, Japanese beliefs focus on interdependence when interacting with their children. In comparison, the traditions in the United States, I can personally vouch for, emphasizes individuality and personal responsibility. The Japanese, with their belief in interdependence, believe that children are good, and give them freedoms to express their dispositions, hither fussy and loud, or quiet and calm.

Japanese mothers are expected to give up all other roles such as wife, employee, etc. In order to focus on being a mother. In early childhood, the Japanese rely on the parents as well as the community to train children in appropriate social and moral behavior. Japanese children are taught to conform and be sensitive to the needs of others. It is believed that children will behave and conform out of a desire to please their mother. In the United States, from the very beginning it is believed that Christian children are born with original sin, and thus need to be rained and regulated.

Children are expected to be quiet, and we put them on our own schedule, trying to teach them self-care as quickly as possible. This is partly due to the fact that U. S. Mothers often have to balance all of their other roles, such as wife and employee with that of also being a mother. Children in the U. S. Are taught to be self-sufficient and chores at an early age. Appropriate social and moral behavior is expected to be taught by the child’s parents and family. Adults in the United States use their authority to try and get children to conform and behave, rather than giving them the chance to inform on their own.

Each culture mentioned above has its own very unique way to pass along its values, beliefs, knowledge, and expectations to its youthful members. Some lessons are formal, and taught in schools, where rules are enforced, and play is more structured. Others are taught at home, or in the child’s community, where the child can observe and mimic the behaviors of others in their group or family. Encapsulation may be a gradual process, with changes, or breaks in cultural norms, marked by a ritual, such as the Unlatching “Kafka. ё Another culture may use a sudden change, as in

Paula, where the child suddenly cannot act like a child to get what he or she wants. A culture may teach interdependence upon parents, family, community, and a respect for the physical environment, like the Japanese. Here, in my family, like so many others in the United States, the American culture focuses on the individual, and individual success, beginning at a very early age. Parents in the United States often urge their children to excel, to “stand out” among the crowd, without really placing any emphasis on how this may make their peers feel.

We constantly “shush” our children when they are youngsters, ignoring their needs in fulfillment of our own. Who is to say which method of encapsulation works best? Can see many ideas within the above cultures that I have begun using with my three young children in the hopes that can raise more empathetic, caring, hardworking individuals that value their community and support systems as well as pursue their individual dreams for success and independence. Each culture adapts to its environment, and uses whatever strategy it can that will ensure that their culture continues on and on.

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