This research used data from fifteen 2-parent families residing in a community located in Dalandanan, Valenzuela City, with at least two children and one of whom is between the ages 3 to 6 years. Seven of these families are dual-earner and the remaining eight are single-earner with only husbands as breadwinners. The research locale is an urbanizing area that is transitioning from agricultural to industrial source of livelihood.
The particular focus of this research include (1) to identify the behaviors which parents define as prosocial, (2) to explore the parents’ perceptions about their roles, influences, and parenting practices in teaching social behavior to their preschool children, (3) to discuss socialization patterns within the family that help promote the development of positive social behavior among preschool children, and (4) to determine ideas, opinions, and feelings of the preschool children in the manner by which they are being disciplined and taught positive social behaviors.
The research utilized a classical mini ethnographic approach which allowed for a 6-month home visit. Finally, face-to-face interviews were also conducted with the parents of those families. The findings of the research suggest that the local concept that is best related to prosocial behavior is “mabuting asal” which is also an umbrella term that covers not only prosocial attitudes, but also other positive social behaviors such as having love of God, having integrity, being responsible, and studying well.
The parents also believe that children are naturally naive, passive, and forgetful, thus their primary role in developing prosocial behavior to their children is to teach them proper rules of behavior, to model to their young ones what proper behaviors are, and to remind them constantly of what to do and what not to do. It was also found out that parents in dual-earner families highlighted the importance of studiousness, whereas fathers from both single and dual-earner groups noted he importance of having social behaviors geared towards the development of oneself and care for the family, especially towards younger siblings. Three direct methods were reportedly used by the parents in teaching the children prosocial behavior and these are physical, verbal and cognitive approaches. Both single- and dual-earner families use this method especially when they feel that transgressions are grave. Mothers in dualearner families observe the use of physical and cognitive methods more often than do mothers in the single-earner group.
Mothers in both groups observe the use of cognitive method more than fathers do. Fathers in single-earner groups observe the use of cognitive method than their dualearner counterparts. The findings further suggests that the microsystem of the home, specifically the parents’ own influences to their children, is believed to be the environment which best promotes the development of positive social behavior among young children. There were also identified elements in the microsystem of the neighborhood which both facilitate and inhibit the development of proper social conduct.
The influences which parents identified as contributory to their ideas and practices about teaching positive social behavior to young children include individual experiences, familial experiences, and social groups and institutions surrounding them. The experiences of harsh and coercive parenting style from their own mothers and fathers of the fathers’ in both single- and dual-earner families, created in these parents either modeling or compensating parenting behavior towards their own children.
Meanwhile, social networks, work environment and media, school and church were among social groups and institutions which affected the parents most in their childrearing practices. For both single- and dual-earner mothers and fathers of these parents, the school, through the teacher, and the media serve as sources of information for proper childcare and nurturance. Parents in dual-earner families find their social networks as support system in providing childcare and as agent in mediating parental stress brought about by employment.
Fathers in both income groups and mothers in dual-earner families recognized employment not only as a source of bread and butter but also a factor that indirectly affects the parent -child relationship. There were also certain socialization patterns within the family system that may either promote or hamper the development of prosocial behaviors among preschool children upon analysis of the observed behaviors between the parent-child dyads based on molar activities, interpersonal structures, roles, communication patterns, and parental patterns of behaviors.
Molar activities common to both single- and dual-earner families and these are eating together, sharing stories to each other, watching television and studying together, playing with each other and going out to visit friends or relatives or go o the mall while attending church was found to be unique only to dual-earner families. Single-earner parents were also observed to be more involved during the conduct of those activities. Father in the dual-earner groups, on the other hand, were engaged in low energy activities like watching TV or chatting with the children.
There were different interpersonal structures within the microsystem of the family that promotes the social, emotional and cognitive development of the child and these are the mother child, father-child, and sibling dyads as well as the parent-children microsystem. It appeared that cognitive development of the children was usually facilitated better between the mother-child and sibling dyads for both dual- and single-earner familes. Soci-emotional development was best promoted in the father-child dyads and the parent-children microcystem for both dual- and single-earner families.
Family members have different roles to play within the family system. These roles include earning a living, decision making, performing household chores, performing childcare, disciplining the children and the tasks of young children in the family. Roles were more explicitly assigned in single-earner and implicitly assumed in dual-earner families. Moreover, task differentiation among the children was primarily based on their age and birth order rather than their gender. Dual-earner parents have a longer list of behaviors they value.
This was attributed to the contribution of maternal work experiences and is transmitted through their rules of proper social conduct and high involvement in nurturing their young ones. Single-earner families have characteristically more open communication between parents and children while dual-earner families show more close communication. The positive quality of communication within the marital relationship was likewise highlighted as an influence to an open communication style among single-earner families.
With respect to the patterns of paternal behaviors observed, it was found out that both single-and dual-earner families have patterns of behavior that promote and do not promote prosocial behavior. Dual-earner parents displayed more behaviors that do not prosocial conduct through both their non-hostile and hostile means of dealing with their children despite their attempts to display positive affect to the children. This was attributed to the high levels of parental stress, perceived lack of social support and experience of harsh childrearing from their own parents, which was modeled in their own parenting styles.
The findings of this research further suggest that children have their own interpretation of prosocial behavior (i. e. , being mabait). This implies that the methods which parents use in teaching values and proper conduct to their children were effective. However, it was the high involvement in conduct of activities, use of cognitive approach when teaching prosocial behaviors, and modeling of proper behavior, which were more effective means of teaching prosocial behavior compared to mere verbal reminders or use of physical punishments.
Finally, the results of this study confirm the findings of several earlier researches among Filipino families particularly with respect to childrearing practices. This study further highlights the function of prosocial behavior in their socialization goals for their children and the significance of their role as parents in facilitating the development of the said behaviors. Among the recommendations of the research based on the findings include conducting both short-tem seminars as well as a comprehensive, integrated, sensitive and flexible parent education programs that could address the needs of the community and the families.