Socializing Children through Language

Socializing Children through Language

1st Edition - June 11, 2016
  • Editors: Pamela Davis-Kean, Sandra Tang
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128036501
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128036242

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Using psychological theory as a basis, Socializing Children through Language examines naturally occurring conversations between mothers and children in the context of achievement, self-regulation, food consumption, and television watching to illustrate how families of different socioeconomic means interact and discuss a variety of topics in the home. Specifically, the chapters in this book draw on enhanced audio recordings of over 40 families across a range of education and income levels to investigate how mothers’ language relates to child behaviors over time. The unique pairing of this digital observer data with empirical data on achievement tests, regulation tasks, and parenting information on the home environment collected one year later presents an altogether revolutionary way to understand and think about how family socialization works across socioeconomic levels.

Key Features

  • Focuses on mother–child talk about desires, thoughts, and emotions
  • Studies the relationship between math talk and children’s math knowledge and achievement
  • Emphasizes the management language used by mothers to guide the behavior of their children
  • Explores children’s media environment in the home, the conversations that occur during digital technology use, and whether it relates to children’s outcomes
  • Considers food-related discussions in families prior to and during mealtimes, including how parents and children express food likes and dislikes, hunger, mealtime routines and expectations, and explanations about nutritional values


Researchers and academics in psychology, social work, human and child development, and family studies

Table of Contents

    • Dedication
    • List of Contributors
    • Preface
    • Chapter 1. Introduction: The Power of Parental Talk
      • Digital Observers: A New Method for Studying Parenting in the Home
      • A Day in the Life of Families Study
      • Summary
    • Chapter 2. “You Really Need to Go to Bed”: How Mothers Use Language to Guide and Control Children’s Behavior During Morning and Bedtime Routines
      • The Importance of Daily Routines for Children’s Development
      • The Current Study
      • Method
      • Analysis
      • Results
      • Summary and Future Directions
    • Chapter 3. Mother–Child Conversations About Thoughts, Desires, and Emotions: Relations to Children’s Understanding of the Mind
      • Theory of Mind Development in Childhood
      • Parent–Child Discourse and Theory of Mind Development
      • The Present Study
      • Future Directions
    • Chapter 4. Math Talk Between Children and Mothers and Its Connection to Math-Related Practices in the Home Setting
      • Importance of Math Talk for Children’s Math Skills
      • Parent Beliefs About Home Numeracy
      • Parent–Child Math-Related Practices
      • Math Talk Between Parents and Preschoolers
      • Methods to Study Home Numeracy
      • Methods
      • Results
      • Future Directions
    • Chapter 5. Parenting of Preschool Children’s Media Use in the Home
      • The Importance of Parent–Child Conversations Around Media Use
      • Background
      • Method
      • Results
      • Discussion
      • Future Directions
    • Chapter 6. Food Talk in Families
      • The Importance of Food Talk in Families
      • Methods
      • Results
      • Future Directions
    • Chapter 7. Conclusion: The Value of Parent Talk
      • A Brief Summary of Our Findings
      • Socializing Cognitive Skills
      • Socializing Health and Behavioral Skills
      • Limitations of the Data
      • Future Directions
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 200
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2016
  • Published: June 11, 2016
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128036501
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128036242

About the Editors

Pamela Davis-Kean

Dr. Davis-Kean is Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan where her research focuses on the various pathways that the socio-economic status (SES) of parents relates to the cognitive/achievement outcomes of their children. Her primary focus is on parental educational attainment and how it can influence the development of the home environment throughout childhood, adolescence, and the transition to adulthood. Davis-Kean is also a Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research where she directs the Population, Neurodevelopment, and Genetics (PNG) program. This collaboration examines the complex transactions of brain, biology, and behavior as children and families develop across time. She is interested in how both the micro (brain and biology) and macro (family and socioeconomic conditions) aspects of development relate to cognitive changes in children across the lifespan.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, USA

Sandra Tang

Dr. Tang is a Research Investigator in the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research and jointly affiliated with the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan. Her program of research focuses on the role of the family, school, and environment in shaping children’s educational success, especially for those children who grow up in risky contexts. In particular, Tang is interested in the extent to which cultural and socioeconomic factors shape parenting behaviors, and in turn, children's academic outcomes.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, USA