chapter  8
24 Pages

Social Class, Occupation, and Parental Values: A Cross-National Study

ByLeonard I. Pearlin, Melvin L. Kohn

In the United States, there is a distinct difference in emphasis between middle and working class parents' values for their children. Middle class parents value self-direction more highly than do working class parents; working class parents emphasize, instead, conformity to external proscription. Self-control is the pivotal parental value for the middle class, obedience for the working class. One plausible explanation of this difference between middle and working class parental values is that parents of both social classes value for their children the characteristics that seem most appropriate to the conditions of the parents' lives. The relationship between supervision and parental values is stronger for the working class, for only in the working class is any considerable proportion of men subjected to very close supervision. Nevertheless, the relationships are essentially the same in the two social classes.