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Children’s Socialization into Cleaning Practices: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Alessandra Fasulo


Heather Loyd


Vincenzo Padiglione

UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Working Paper No. 57


Focusing on everyday hygiene and household cleaning tasks, this study examines the socialization practices and parenting strategies that foster familial and cultural values such as autonomy, interdependence and responsibility. Through the micro-analysis of videotaped family interaction in Los Angeles and Rome, this paper looks at actual practices and activity trajectories to reveal the ways in which families organize themselves, attach values to different aspects of activities, and build diverse perspectives on authoritativeness. The comparative analysis points to differences across cultures, families and activities in the style and amount of parental control over cleaning tasks, and the amount of options given to children in the process and sequence of tasks. Examinations of diverse parenting and conversational strategies reveal how particular practices may lead to the construction or limitation of children’s agency (socialization, cleaning, family interaction, parenting strategies, directives, choice offers, negotiation, children’s agency, autonomy, interdependence).

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