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Turkish mothers' attitudes toward childrearing practices

Dissertation
Author: Gokce Tekin
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to learn about Turkish mothers. parental attitudes toward childrearing practices. In particular, Turkish mothers. (1) attitudes toward overparenting, (2) democratic parental attitudes, (3) attitudes toward hostility and rejection, (4) attitudes toward marital discord, and (5) authoritarian parental attitudes were investigated here. This study also explored the influence of demographic characteristics on these attitudes. The demographic characteristics examined included mothers' age, marital and employment status, education and income levels, number of children, youngest child's age, and children's gender. Participants included 401 Turkish mothers with children aged 0.6 years old from five early childhood education centers in Istanbul. The mothers. attitudes toward childrearing practices were measured using a Turkish version of the Parental Attitude Research Instrument (PARI). The validity and reliability of the PARI scale were also ascertained in this study. Additionally, a demographic survey was designed by the researcher to determine mothers. age, marital and employment status, education and income levels, number of children, youngest child's age, and children's gender. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The findings from the descriptive statistics provided information about Turkish mothers' parental attitudes. Multiple linear regression analysis (MLRA) was also used to understand the influence of demographic characteristics on mothers. attitudes toward childrearing practices. The findings revealed that mothers. monthly family income was the strongest predictor of their attitudes toward childrearing practices. Increased level of monthly family income was associated with positive attitudes toward childrearing practices. Additionally, participants. education level was found to influence their authoritarian parental attitudes and attitudes toward overparenting. Specifically, higher levels of education were associated with decreased attitudes toward overparenting and authoritarian attitudes, compared to mothers with lower education levels. Employment status of mothers was found to be related to mothers. attitudes toward hostility and rejection in childrearing practices. Mothers who were employed possessed a lower level of hostility and experienced fewer feelings of rejection compared to mothers with other employment statuses. Other demographic characteristics, including mothers. age, marital status, number of children, youngest child's age, and children's gender, were found not to influence Turkish mothers' attitudes toward childrearing practices. This study contributes to the literature by updating research on Turkish mothers. attitudes toward childrearing practices. Recommendations were also generated for further research. The implications of this study for young children, parents, practitioners, and policy makers in the field of early childhood education in Turkey were provided.

v Table of Contents List of Tables……………………………………………………………………………..ix Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………………..x Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………..…………1 Statement of the Problem………………………………………………………….3 Need for the Study………………………………………………………………...6 Purpose of the Study and Research Questions…………………………………….8 Significance of the Study………………………………………………………...10 Limitations……………………………………………………………………….11 Delimitations……………………………………………………………………..11 Definition of Terms………………………………………………………………12 Chapter 2. LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………………………..………...15 Parental Attitudes toward Childrearing Practices………………………………..16 Importance of Parental Attitudes in Childrearing Practices……………..16 Brief Information on the Classification of Parental Attitudes…...17 Socioemotional Development……………………………………19 Cognitive Development………………………………………….21 Dimensions of Parental Attitudes in Childrearing……………………………….23 Overparenting……………………………………………………………23 Democratic Attitudes…………………………………………………….25 Attitudes of Hostility and Rejection……………………………………..26 Marital Discord…………………………………………………………..28 Authoritarian Attitudes…………………………………………………..30

vi Parental Attitudes toward Childrearing Practices and Culture…………………..32 Value of Children………………………………………………………...32 Individualistic Cultures…………………………………………………..34 Collectivistic Cultures……………………………………………………37 The Turkish Context……………………………………………………………..40 Family Structure in Turkish Culture……………………………………..42 Mother Role and Spousal Relationship in Turkish Culture……...45 Social Change and Family in the Turkish Context………………………47 Parental Attitudes towards Childrearing Practices in Turkey……………51 Demographic Factors in Parental Attitudes toward Childrearing Practices……..56 Chapter 3. METHODOLOGY…………………………………………..……….............61 Design of the Study………………………………………………………………61 Population and Sample……………………………………………………..........62 Instrumentation…………………………………………………………………..63 Validity…………………………………………………………………..63 Evidence Based on Test Content………………………………...64 Evidence Based on Response Process…………………………...65 Evidence Based on Internal Structure……………………………66 Evidence Based on Relations to Other Variables………………..68 Evidence Based on Consequences of Testing……………………71 Reliability………………………………………………………………...72 Pilot Study………………………………………………………………………..73 Research Hypotheses…………………………………………………………….75

vii Data Collection for the Main Study……………………………………………...76 Data Analysis…………………………………………………………………….78 Chapter 4. RESULTS………..…………………………………………..……….............81 Reliability Analysis of Main Study Scales………………………………………81 Demographic Information on Participants……………………………………….82 Research Question One…………………………………………………………..86 Research Question Two………………………………………………………….90 Research Question Three………………………………………………………...93 Research Question Four………………………………………………………….97 Research Question Five………………………………………………………...100 Chapter 5. DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS…..………..……….............104 Discussion of the Findings……………………………………………………...105 Research Question One…………………………………………………105 Research Question Two………………………………………………...107 Research Question Three……………………………………………….111 Research Question Four………………………………………………...113 Research Question Five………………………………………………...116 Recommendations for Future Research………………………………………...118 Implications for Early Childhood Education…………………………………...121 References………………………………………………………………………………124 Appendix A. English and Turkish Version of Parental Attitude Research Instrument...137 Appendix B. English and Turkish Version of Demographic Questionnaire…………...149 Appendix C. English and Turkish Version of Information Sheet for Pilot Study……...152

viii Appendix D. English and Turkish Version of Implied Informed Consent Document for Pilot Study………………………………………………………………………………155 Appendix E. English and Turkish Version of Recruitment Letter for Pilot Study……..158 Appendix F. English and Turkish Version of Information Sheet for the Main Study….161 Appendix G. English and Turkish Version of Implied Informed Consent Document for the Main Study………………………………………………………………………….164 Appendix H. English and Turkish Version of Recruitment Letter for the Main Study...167 Appendix I. Cramer‟s V-statistic……………………………………………………….170

ix List of Tables Table 3.1 Reliability Analysis of Pilot Study……………………………………………74 Table 3.2 Reliability Analysis of Pilot Study for each Subscale………………………...75 Table 4.1 Reliability Analysis of Main Study for Each Subscale………………………..82 Table 4.2 Demographic Information on Participants…………………………………….85 Table 4.3 Descriptive Statistics for Mothers‟ Attitudes toward Overparenting…………87 Table 4.4 Regression Results for Mothers‟ Attitudes toward Overparenting……………89 Table 4.5 Descriptive Statistics for Mothers‟ Democratic Parental Attitudes…………...91 Table 4.6 Regression Results for Mothers‟ Democratic Parental Attitudes……………..92 Table 4.7 Descriptive Statistics for Mothers‟ Attitudes toward Hostility and Rejection............................................................................................................................94 Table 4.8 Regression Results for Mothers‟ Attitudes toward Hostility and Rejection…..96 Table 4.9 Descriptive Statistics for Mothers‟ Attitudes toward Marital Discord………..98 Table 4.10 Regression Results for Mothers‟ Attitudes toward Marital Discord………...99 Table 4.11 Descriptive Statistics for Mothers‟ Authoritarian Parental Attitudes………101 Table 4.12 Regression Results for Mothers‟ Authoritarian Parental Attitudes………...102

x Acknowledgements I would like to explain my gratitude to several people for their contributions during my doctoral study. I am grateful to Dr. Thomas D. Yawkey, the chair of my committee, for his continues support and guidance during my doctoral study. I would also like to thank Dr. Daniel D. Hade for his valuable contributions and comments in this study. Dr. Hoi K. Suen provided valuable suggestions about reliability and validity issues in this study. Dr. Edgar P. Yoder was very helpful and supportive in analyzing and interpreting the data for this study. My special thanks go to my husband, Ali Kemal Tekin, and my son, Teoman Kemal Tekin. I am thankful to my husband for being a supportive academic fellow during my doctoral study and his continues support in every aspect of my life. My son, Teo, filled my life with pure love and happiness. They were my greatest inspirations during my academic journey. I am also thankful to Mustafa Zeybek, the former assistant to the Turkish Educational Attaché, for encouraging me to further my education in the U.S. I would also thank Fatma Demir, who helped me enormously during the data collection phase of this study. My sister, Gokben Kurt, was always supportive and encouraging during my education life. Finally, I would like to dedicate this study to my mother, Ayla Sidar. She attached tremendous importance to my education and made every effort for me to pursue higher education. I will be eternally grateful to her.

CHAPTER 1

Introduction Parental attitudes toward childrearing have been extensively studied in psychology and education and are of great importance in understanding child development and socialization (Kağıtçıbaşı & Sunar, 2002), especially since parental attitudes are often regarded as indicators of parent behavior or parent-child relations. This phenomenon has developed quickly into a key topic in examinations of parent-child interactions (Holden & Edwards, 1989). A growing number of studies (e.g., Jambunathan & Hurlburt, 2002; Saar & Katrin, 2001) have focused on the reciprocal relationship between parental attitudes and culture. For instance, Suizzo (2002) stated that parental attitudes and in turn a child‟s sociocultural development demonstrate differences from culture to culture. Additionally, a number of researchers (e.g., Honig, 2002) have indicated that a close and consistent relationship between mother and child results in positive outcomes on subsequent child development (Hortaçsu, Gençöz, & Oral, 1995; Tulviste, 2001). Thus, the primary objective of this research was to investigate mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing in the Turkish culture and the relationship between these attitudes and demographic variables. According to Honig (2006), the primary caregiver makes the most significant contributions to the child‟s development. In the Turkish culture, mothers are considered to be primarily responsible for childrearing (Sunar & Fişek, 2005). From the beginning of infancy to early childhood, the growth period covered by this study, the mother may be

2 regarded as the leading figure in her child‟s life. Consequently, mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing have been a main topic of research in the Turkish culture (Sunar & Fişek, 2005). To measure parental attitudes toward childrearing, Schaefer and Bell developed Parental Attitudes Research Instrument (PARI) in 1958; this instrument was adapted to the Turkish culture by LeCompte, LeCompte, and Özer (1978). A number of studies in Turkey have implemented the PARI Scale and demonstrated strong relationships between parental attitudes and several other variables. For example, research has revealed a strong relationship between Turkish mothers‟ democratic parental attitudes and children‟s better personality characteristics (Küçük, 1987). Also, significant relationships have been revealed between democratic parental attitudes and higher psychosocial problem-solving skills (Arı & Seçer, 2003), and increased moral and social knowledge (Seçer, Sarı, & Olcay, 2006). In addition, significant relationships between parental attitudes and socioeconomic status (SES) have been revealed (Ocakçı, Ayyıldız, & Kulakçı, 2006, Sarıoglu-Büke, Çorduk, Ateşçi, Karabul, & Koltuksuz, 2006). While some research (e.g., Arı & Seçer, 2003) has been conducted regarding parental attitudes, more research is needed in this area. More specifically, the effects of mothers‟ demographic variables, such as their age, marital status, level of education, employment status, income, number of children, youngest child‟s age, and children‟s gender on parents‟ childrearing attitudes need further investigation. Parental attitudes toward childrearing have been extensively studied due to the centrality of parents to the child‟s life. What is lacking is investigation of the relationship between Turkish mothers‟ parental attitudes and demographic variables. Thus, the major

3 aim of this research is to examine Turkish mothers‟ maternal attitudes and how these attitudes relate to their demographic characteristics. Statement of the Problem The description of the statement of the problem is divided into four parts. Following a description of the main problem, the description of each of three sub- problems is provided, to explain one of three aspects of the main research problem. Major Problem Bronfenbrenner (1974) claimed that the self situates within the family and the family situates within the larger sociocultural environment. Likewise, parents, children, and on a larger scale, the family is influenced by sociocultural transformations taking place in society. Although some theoretical perspectives (e.g., Castells, 2000) predict change in traditional and past values as a result of modernization and social change, several research studies in the field (e.g., Sommer, 2002; Suizzo, 2002; Sun, 1991; Sunar, 2002) either support or challenge this proposition in various cultures. Turkey, a developing country, has undergone ongoing sociocultural transformations due to rapid urbanization and economic development (Kağıtçıbaşı & Sunar, 2002). The inevitable social transformations and changes in countries like Turkey influence lifestyles, occupations and, parents` belief systems and attitudes (Kağıtçıbaşı, 1990). The latter have been shown to be related to sociodemoghraphic variables (Ocakçı et al., 2006). Changing Society of Istanbul and Maternal Attitudes: Part 1 Socioeconomic transformations also result in immigration from rural to urban areas within Turkey. One of the most conspicuous examples is Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, where 12,573,836 people reside, according to census data provided by the

4 Turkish Statistical Institute [TSI] (2007a). Even though this number accounts for 17.8% of Turkey‟s total population, Istanbul still attracts immigrants from all over the country, especially from its rural areas. For this reason, Istanbul has become a city with a more socio-economically diverse and dynamic population, reflecting the transformation of that society‟s social, cultural, and economic elements. This type of growth affects the urban population‟s experiences of rapid changes in their societal lives in general and in values, norms, attitudes, and beliefs related to the family, in particular. An examination of each of these aspects in detail is crucial to fully understanding social changes. For example, with regard to parents, mothers‟ parental attitudes have been affected by the changing society and by dynamic cultural characteristics due to their immersion in these systems (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Hence, it is critical to investigate and update existing information about mothers‟ parental attitudes in a society undergoing change, like Istanbul, Turkey. Maternal Attitudes and Demographic Characteristics: Part 2 Mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing are affected by the dynamics of the society and by their SES circumstances. For instance, LeCompte et al. (1978) conducted a study that involved mothers in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, and found that parental attitudes and socioeconomic variables were strongly associated. Also, Ocakçı et al. (2006) found significant relationships between the parental attitudes of mothers and their SES in Zonguldak, Black Sea Region, Turkey. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the relationship between maternal attitudes and family SES––one of the aims of this study.

5 Inadequacy of Research in Istanbul: Part 3 An examination of the relationship between demographic factors and parental attitudes is crucial to understanding different aspects of parenting. Although some efforts (e.g., Ocakçı et al., 2006) have been made to respond to the need for such inquiries in the Turkish context, few studies have measured relations between mothers‟ parental attitudes and demographic variables in Istanbul. Istanbul was chosen for this study because it is the most populated city in Turkey experiencing social, economic, and demographic changes. Further, no study has been conducted with the mothers of children who attend early childhood education centers. The absence of such studies in rapidly changing areas like Istanbul skews understanding of mothers‟ parental attitudes and mother-child relationships, resulting in the development of culturally inappropriate early childhood education practices. In light of the need for research on mothers‟ parental attitudes in Istanbul and the relationships between these attitudes and demographic variables, this study investigates the parental attitudes of Turkish mothers with children attending early childhood education settings in Istanbul, and their demographic characteristics. In summary, mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing are affected by the dynamics of the society. These maternal attitudes are affected by SES. Istanbul, which is a magnet for immigrants predominantly from rural areas of Turkey, is undergoing mass urbanization and witnessing tremendous social changes that in turn are affecting mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing. These attitudes interplay with demographic characteristics, in particular. The lack of research on mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing in a changing society like Istanbul and on the relationship between these attitudes and demographic

6 characteristics of Turkish mothers in Istanbul, led to the development of a study of Turkish mothers‟ attitudes toward and beliefs about rearing young children and how these attitudes are influenced by demoghraphic variables. It is hoped that this study will make significant contributions to the field of early childhood education in Turkey by providing information to scholars, practitioners, parents, and other stakeholders interested in this subject. Need for the Study The four specific needs for this research provide the rationale for this study. These four specific needs are: (1) the increasing importance of early childhood education in Turkey, (2) the social transformation underway in Turkish society that influences mothers and their attitudes toward childrearing in particular, (3) the need for more research on the parental attitudes of mothers with children in early childhood education centers, and (4) the lack of adequate research on the effects demographic characteristics on these attitudes. Each need is explained in the following paragraphs. First, Turkey is a developing country and experiencing a rapid socioeconomic transformation. The Ministry of National Education [MONE] (2007) declared that the schooling rate in pre-school education is 17 %. However, this number is increasing day by day as more public and private early childhood education settings are being opened. This explosion in the number of early childhood settings is another reason to conduct more research on early childhood education in Turkey. It is especially important to study Turkish mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing to understand the Turkish family and society as well as to fully understand the early childhood education process.

7 Second, due to the socioeconomic transformations in Turkey, increasing numbers of mothers are joining the workforce as a result of urbanization and social transformations. These decisions are leading to a greater need for early childhood education, and may result in changes to mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing. Some controversial studies have argued about whether this transformation from a traditional culture into a modern one is leading to changes in social values, norms, and attitudes (Ataca, 2006; Sunar & Fişek, 2005). Some theoretical perspectives emphasize fundamental change in childrearing attitudes as traditional values have been lost, while others emphasize the many childrearing options and preferences that stem from modernization processes and impacts (Sommer, 2005). Given the need for a current in- depth investigation of this socioeconomic situation, updated information about changes in mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing must be examined, and the results discussed in the literature. As a result, this study helps to understand these attitudes in a society that is experiencing tremendous socioeconomic transformations. Third, few studies (e.g., LeCompte et al., 1978) have been conducted on Turkish mothers‟ parental attitudes. LeCompte et al. (1978) measured this domain while adapting the PARI Scale into the Turkish culture. Also Ocakçı et al. (2006) implemented this scale in a study of mothers with children aged 0–6 years in Zonguldak. However, none of these studies have targeted mothers with children enrolled in early childhood education schools, highlighting the need for such a study. Consequently, this research also contributes to the area of early child development and education by focusing on mothers of children attending early childhood education centers as research participants.

8 Fourth, mothers‟ demographic characteristics, including age, income, educational level, and marital and employment status have been documented as important influences on parental attitudes (Sarıoglu-Büke et al., 2006). Such a perspective, situating the family in the larger socioeconomic context, helps researchers to provide explanations of childrearing orientations at different socioeconomic levels. This type of perspective also enables the researcher to make connections between sociological and demographic concepts and to situate the family as a social institution within larger sociological systems (Kağıtçıbaşı, 1996). Thus, the need to know how families‟ demographic factors link to parental attitudes is addressed in this dissertation study. In sum, the main objective of this study is to provide adequate information on the issues discussed above so that a better picture of mothers‟ parental attitudes in Turkey can be attained. Purpose of the Study and Research Questions The purpose of this study is to learn about the Turkish mothers‟ parental attitudes toward childrearing and how these attitudes differentiate, if at all, according to particular demographic variables. Accomplishing the purpose of the study requires addressing several research questions, explained below. In this study, the primary research question focuses on Turkish mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing practices. Thus, the major question is: What are the Turkish mothers‟ attitudes toward childrearing practices and how do their demographic characteristics influence these attitudes? This study aims to answer this research question by investigating several ancillary questions. The ancillary questions are as follows:

9 1. What are Turkish mothers‟ attitudes toward overparenting and how do their age, marital and employment status, education and income level, number of children, youngest child‟s age, and children‟s gender affect these attitudes? 2. What are Turkish mothers‟ democratic parental attitudes and how do their age, marital and employment status, education and income level, number of children, youngest child‟s age, and children‟s gender affect these attitudes? 3. What are Turkish mothers‟ attitudes toward hostility and rejection and how do their age, marital and employment status, education and income level, number of children, youngest child‟s age, and children‟s gender affect these attitudes? 4. What are Turkish mothers‟ attitudes toward marital discord and how do their age, marital and employment status, education and income level, number of children, youngest child‟s age, and children‟s gender affect these attitudes? 5. What are Turkish mothers‟ authoritarian parental attitudes and how do their age, marital and employment status, education and income level, number of children, youngest child‟s age, and children‟s gender affect these attitudes? In sum, the purpose of this dissertation research is to examine Turkish mothers‟ parental attitudes and the influence of demographic variables on these attitudes. Answers to a primary research question and several ancillary questions, all focusing on different aspects of mothers‟ parental attitudes, such as overparenting, democratic attitudes, attitudes of hostility and rejection, attitudes of marital discordance, and authoritarian attitudes, and their relationships with demographic variables, such as mothers‟ age, income and educational levels, marital and employment status, number of children,

10 youngest child‟s age, and children‟s gender are sought accordingly. Answering these research questions also helps to address the problems stated earlier in this chapter. Significance of the Study The significance of this study may be encapsulated in three reasons described in the following paragraphs. These reasons are: (1) the significance of mothers and their parental attitudes in Turkish early childhood education, (2) the socioeconomic transformations experienced in Turkey, and (3) the importance of the relationship between maternal attitudes and demographic variables. First, early childhood education is a developing area in Turkey, especially as more mothers join the workforce. Governmental (MONE, 2007) and non-governmental (MCEF, 2008) institutions are informing the public about the importance of a child‟s early years and encouraging parents to enroll their children in early childhood education schools. Consequently, it is critical to do more research on every aspect of early childhood education in Turkey, especially since mothers are regarded as the primary caregivers for young children in Turkish culture. Hence, this study is very significant because it contributes to early childhood education in Turkey by providing information about Turkish mothers‟ parental attitudes. Second, Turkey is a developing country experiencing rapid socioeconomic transformations resulting in changes to the social values of families. According to Sunar and Fişek (2005), Turkish culture is transforming from a traditional into a modern society. Therefore, this study is of great importance since it provides updated information about mothers‟ parental attitudes in a rapidly developing country. Ancillary research

11 questions address this topic by correlating different dimensions of parental attitudes with demographic variables. Third, Turkish society is socio-economically stratified, like most developing societies, and so socioeconomic variables should be taken into account in research on maternal attitudes (Kağıtçıbaşı & Sunar, 2002). This study aims to identify variations in Turkish mothers‟ parental attitudes and correlate these differences with well-defined demographic variables stated in the ancillary research questions. Further, it will provide theoretical perspectives on parental attitudes and document parental attitudes in Turkey during rapid socioeconomic transformations. Further, early childhood educators and policy makers can benefit from this study by gaining a better understanding of mothers‟ parental attitudes toward childrearing in the Turkish context. Similarly, the results can inform other researchers who study parental attitudes in other cultures and those who investigate the subject at the cross-cultural level. Limitations This research was limited to the city of Istanbul, Turkey. Therefore, the findings from this study cannot be generalized to other cities in Turkey. Delimitations This study has two delimitations. First, the study sample only included the mothers of children aged 0–6 years who attend early childhood education centers. Second, the participants were limited to mothers of children enrolled in early childhood education centers in Istanbul, Turkey from May–June 2008.

12 Definition of Terms Eight terms need to be defined for this study. These terms are: (1) parental attitudes, (2) overparenting, (3) democratic attitudes, (4) attitudes of hostility and rejection, (5) marital discord, (6) authoritarian attitudes, (7) young children, (8) culture. Parental Attitudes Attitudes have been a popular research subject in education and psychology. According to Eagly and Chaiken (1993, p.1), “attitude is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor”. In this study, psychological tendency refers to the internal states of humans and evaluating refers to overt or covert responses to attitude subjects. In fact, mothers‟ parental attitudes toward childrearing are manifold because these attitudes relate to interpersonal relationships (Triandis, 1967), and differentiate in accordance with the sociocultural context. Overparenting Overparenting is characterized by high parental control and overprotection, which foster dependency of the child on its parents (LeCompte et al., 1978). Also, overprotective parents have been described to think and worry excessively about their children (Anderegg, 2003). Overparenting has been documented to have negative consequences for parent-child relationships and child development (e.g., Aunola and Nurmi, 2005).

13 Democratic Attitudes Parents with democratic attitudes tend to maintain egalitarian relationships and generally develop relationships with their children based on comradeship (LeCompte et al., 1978). In literature, democratic parenting also refers to authoritative parenting (Mupinga, Garrison, & Pierce, 2002). Parents who have democratic childrearing attitudes maintain close relationships with their children while moderately controlling them (Baumrind, 1971). Attitudes of hostility and rejection Attitudes of hostility and rejection indicate dissatisfaction with the parental role. Parents who are not satisfied with their parental roles also have high levels of parental stress (LeCompte et al., 1978). Rejection of parental role and high parental stress are negatively related to the child‟s psychological and emotional well-being (Assel, Landry, Swank, Steelman, Miller-Loncar, & Smith, 2002). Marital Discord Marital discord reflects tensions and conflict in marriage which have been shown to negatively affect parents‟ attitudes toward childrearing (LeCompte et al., 1978). Patterson (2002) claimed that parents who experience marital discord modeled negative behavior to their children. Consequently, child development is negatively affected by marital discord. Authoritarian Attitudes Authoritarian parents want their children to believe in their absolute authority and follow negative childrearing attitudes characterized by strict discipline and harsh punishment (LeCompte et al., 1978). Authoritarian attitudes in childrearing cause the

14 child to be dependent on family through a socialization process emphasizing obedience and control (Kağıtçıbaşı, 2007). This type of parenting has been documented as provoking behavioral problems in early childhood and adolescence (e.g. Bronte-Tinkew, Moore & Carrano, 2006) Young Children According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC], the life span from birth to 8 years is termed “childhood” and children aged 0– 8 years are called “young children”. The participants in this study are the mothers of children aged 0–6 years who are enrolled in early childhood education centers in Istanbul. In this manner, this study is involving the mothers of “young children”. Culture According to Triandis (1994), a classical and very well-known cross-cultural psychologist, culture includes objective and subjective elements shared by the people who can communicate through a common language and live in the same space and time. Objective elements include human-made tools and subjective elements include concepts such as attitudes, norms, roles, and values.

15 CHAPTER 2

Literature Review This chapter includes a review of the literature related to: (1) parental attitudes toward childrearing, (2) dimensions of parental attitudes in childrearing, (3) parental attitudes towards childrearing practices and culture, (4) the Turkish context, and (5) demographic factors in parental attitudes towards childrearing practices. First, parental attitudes toward childrearing are explained with a focus on the importance of these attitudes for child development. Second, dimensions of parental attitudes in childrearing are discussed in light of empirical research studies. Third, interrelations between parental attitudes towards childrearing practices and culture are examined by providing descriptions of research studies from different cultures. Then, information about the Turkish context is provided in support of research findings on the Turkish family and childrearing practices. Lastly, the demographic factors of parental attitudes towards childrearing practices are discussed by providing information on related empirical research. Hence, in accord with the purpose of this study, empirical research findings supporting associations between demographic variables and Turkish mothers‟ parental attitudes toward childrearing are provided in this chapter. This chapter also provides empirical research studies from a variety of sociocultural contexts to emphasize the interconnectedness between childrearing attitudes and culture. Overall, empirical and

16 theoretical information are provided to clarify the relationship between culture and childrearing. Parental Attitudes toward Childrearing Practices In this section, parental attitudes toward childrearing practices are examined with an emphasis on the importance of these attitudes for child development. Supporting research evidence is also provided in line with the theoretical perspectives explained in this section. Importance of Parental Attitudes in Childrearing Practices The parent-child relationship is biologically based; however, this relationship affects human development over the lifespan and is influenced by sociocultural surroundings (Trommsdorff, 2006). Parents‟ childrearing attitudes are crucial to understanding the structure and functioning of the parent-child relationship. It has also been suggested that parental attitudes toward childrearing are multidimensional, complex and open to individual differentiations depending on various psychological and sociocultural contexts (Rubin et al., 2006). Consequently, parental attitudes toward childrearing have been a popular research area in psychology, sociology, and education over the last few decades. However, the complex nature of parental attitudes toward childrearing has set the stage for the development of various parenting style typologies. Although parental attitudes are generally classified on the basis of an authoritarian-democratic continuum, there have been some variations in each different model. Here, different aspects of parental attitudes are mentioned specifically in the context of empirical research evidence

Full document contains 183 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to learn about Turkish mothers. parental attitudes toward childrearing practices. In particular, Turkish mothers. (1) attitudes toward overparenting, (2) democratic parental attitudes, (3) attitudes toward hostility and rejection, (4) attitudes toward marital discord, and (5) authoritarian parental attitudes were investigated here. This study also explored the influence of demographic characteristics on these attitudes. The demographic characteristics examined included mothers' age, marital and employment status, education and income levels, number of children, youngest child's age, and children's gender. Participants included 401 Turkish mothers with children aged 0.6 years old from five early childhood education centers in Istanbul. The mothers. attitudes toward childrearing practices were measured using a Turkish version of the Parental Attitude Research Instrument (PARI). The validity and reliability of the PARI scale were also ascertained in this study. Additionally, a demographic survey was designed by the researcher to determine mothers. age, marital and employment status, education and income levels, number of children, youngest child's age, and children's gender. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The findings from the descriptive statistics provided information about Turkish mothers' parental attitudes. Multiple linear regression analysis (MLRA) was also used to understand the influence of demographic characteristics on mothers. attitudes toward childrearing practices. The findings revealed that mothers. monthly family income was the strongest predictor of their attitudes toward childrearing practices. Increased level of monthly family income was associated with positive attitudes toward childrearing practices. Additionally, participants. education level was found to influence their authoritarian parental attitudes and attitudes toward overparenting. Specifically, higher levels of education were associated with decreased attitudes toward overparenting and authoritarian attitudes, compared to mothers with lower education levels. Employment status of mothers was found to be related to mothers. attitudes toward hostility and rejection in childrearing practices. Mothers who were employed possessed a lower level of hostility and experienced fewer feelings of rejection compared to mothers with other employment statuses. Other demographic characteristics, including mothers. age, marital status, number of children, youngest child's age, and children's gender, were found not to influence Turkish mothers' attitudes toward childrearing practices. This study contributes to the literature by updating research on Turkish mothers. attitudes toward childrearing practices. Recommendations were also generated for further research. The implications of this study for young children, parents, practitioners, and policy makers in the field of early childhood education in Turkey were provided.