Parental Ideologies and Children & After School Activities

Janet S Dunn, David A Kinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines parental values among midwestern middle-class families and the role of children's after-school activities in transmitting these values to the younger generation as parents themselves balance work and family life. Sociological research suggests that American parents favor characteristics of independence, autonomy, and self-reliance in their children over simple obedience and conformity. Similarly, the authors' qualitative research among middle-class working families in Michigan suggests that parents of preadolescent children also value the qualities of responsibility, self-discipline, and respect in their children and work to instill these traits both at home and through various after-school activities. In particular, parents of school-age children encourage and support participation in a variety of extracurricular activities that they perceive offer their children the opportunity to have fun, to be physically active, to discover and enhance special skills, and to develop self-esteem, commitment, social skills, teamwork, and helping behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1359-1386
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2003


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