Social Class, Child Rearing Practices, and Child Behavior
Several recent studies have raised interesting questions about the relation of social class position to child rearing practices. In particular there have been some challenges to the study reported on by Martha C. Ericson and by Davis and Havighurst. This study, carried out in Chicago in the early 1940's, found the middle class to be generally more severe in weaning and toilet training, and to restrict and put more demands upon the child. Later studies have found several differences, primarily in the direction of more permissiveness by middle class mothers than the Chicago study described. The two hypotheses reported on in this article are listed: child rearing practices have changed since the earlier studies were made; these changes are a result of the different reference groups used by the middle and working class mothers. There were no significant differences in dependency, how much the child wanted to be near the mother, wanted attention, objected to separation, or was judged dependent.