Cecilie Jávo

Child-rearing and child behavior problems in a Sami population. A cross-cultural study of families with pre-school children

​Disputas september 2003., overlege og forsker i SANKS. 


Semi-structured interviews of 76 Sami mothers and 58 Sami fathers, and 86 Norwegian mothers and 58 Norwegian fathers of four-year olds, revealed consistent cross-cultural differences in parenting. ANCOVA results showed that parental permissiveness was higher in the Sami group. Moreover, the effect of ethnicity was different for boys and girls (mothers' reports). Co-sleeping and self-regulation of food and sleep were commonly practiced in the Sami, but not in the Norwegian families. Sami children were more socially independent than their Norwegian peers. Indirect or internal types of control were used more by Sami parents, and they were less tolerant of child aggression, in the form of temper tantrums and displays of jealousy. These patterns are similar to those found in other indigenous cultures in the circumpolar region. The results are discussed with reference to the Individualism–Collectivism dimension. The study challenges the Individualism–Collectivism construct for apparently confounding the individualism common in European liberalism with the individual autonomy commonly encountered among hunting-gathering peoples.

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