Parenting for cognitive development from 1950 to 2000: The institutionalization of mass education and the social construction of parenting in the United States

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Abstract

Over the second half of the twentieth century, changes occurred in parent reports of their engagement in cognitive activities with their young children in the United States. This article argues that the growing trend of parenting for cognitive development in young children in the latter half of the twentieth century is associated with the institutionalization of mass schooling and the legitimization of cognitive development as a central feature of early childhood. The results show that all parents increasingly spent more time engaging in activities related to cognitive development so that by 1991, it was normative behavior. In addition, the results show that mothers' education became an increasingly better predictor of parenting for cognitive development over the second half of the twentieth century but in the last decade of the twentieth century, the association with mothers' education remained constant or diminished slightly as all families increasingly engaged in cognitive development activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-66
Number of pages21
JournalSociology of Education
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 25 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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