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Thus, parenting is a complex process, involving much more than a mother orfather providing food, safety, and succor to an infant or child. Parenting involvesbidirectional relationships between members of two (or more) generations; can extendthrough all or major parts of the respective life spans of these groups; may engage allinstitutions within a culture (including educational, economic, political, and social ones);and is embedded in the history of a people--as that history occurs within the natural anddesigned settings within which the group lives . Given, then, thetemporal variation that constitutes history, the variation of culture and of its institutionsthat exist in different physical and designed ecological niches, and the variation, withinand across generations, in strategies for and behaviors designed to fit with these niches,we may note that diversity is a key substantive feature of parenting behavior. Focus onthis variation, rather than on central tendencies, is necessary in order to understandparenting adequately. In addition, there are multiple levels of organization that change inand through integrated, mutually interdependent or "fused" relationships; theserelationships occur over both ontogenetic and historical time ;. As such, context, as well as diversity, is an importantfeature of parenting.

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In turn, in a study of over 1,800 Latino, African American, and EuropeanAmerican parents of adolescents, conflicts were said to occur in the main over everydaymatters, such as chores and style of dress, rather than in regard to substantive issues, suchas sex and drugs . [Similar findings were reported in research conducted ageneration earlier , suggesting that the nature of parents' views ofreasons for arguing with their children may not change very much across time.] Parentsfrom all racial/ethnic groups reported arguing about the same issues; however, EuropeanAmerican parents reported more conflict than parents from the other two groups (Barber,1994).


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Culture can be defined as “the set of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors shared by a group of people, communicated from one generation to the next.”1 Given that the majority of the world’s children do not reside in Westernized countries, and that culture influences development, cross-cultural research on child development requires special attention.