Self-Socialization: A Case Study of a Parachute Child

By Newman, Philip R.; Newman, Barbara M. | Adolescence, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Self-Socialization: A Case Study of a Parachute Child


Newman, Philip R., Newman, Barbara M., Adolescence


In the developmental literature, we typically think of socialization as a process through which parents, teachers, religious leaders, or other social agents guide children and adolescents toward thoughts and actions that are considered socially desirable. Socialization results in the internalization of the attitudes, norms, values, and goals of the groups and societies to which one is striving to adapt. In this context, effective socialization is often viewed as top down or outside in, where the norms and values of the culture exist outside the child and are gradually internalized through a variety of means such as reinforcement, imitation, and identification.

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the far-reaching possibilities of self-socialization that are evidenced through the case of a parachute child. Considerable theoretical work focuses on the individual's capacity to guide his or her own development. Brandstadter (1999) discussed the concept of intentional self-development, which implies that "the 'self' is a locus of personal agency and a target of self-referent activity" (p. 48). This concept suggests that the individual is able to reflect on the self, formulate a vision of a future self, set goals, and take actions that create or alter the developmental trajectory. Intentional self-development emerges as a product of increasing individuation within cultures that are becoming less tightly scripted, more complex, and rapidly changing. Because of their great potential for plasticity, human beings are able to adapt to a wide variety of environments. Due to the rapidly changing nature of modern societies, including new technologies, new forms of communication, increasing amounts of information, new governmental forms, diverse family forms, and increasing globalization, all of which open up many possible pathways for development, it is necessary for individuals to reflect on the self that they desire or hope to become. There is evidence from developmental science to support the idea that personal preferences result in intentional actions that strengthen certain developmental pathways more than others (Arnett, 1995; Martin & Ruble, 2004; Morgan, Isaac, & Sansone, 2001). However, this research stops short of exploring the more fully integrated capacities to take actions that will fulfill an individual's representation of his or her self moving into an anticipated future. The process of self-socialization suggests that individuals draw on their own sense of agency to select the best social contexts to support their development, and that this process is both a product of and a contributor to individual development and individualization (Arnett, 2007; Heinz, 2002). There is a need for further study to expand our understanding of self-socialization as it operates in different domains of development and to explore how the process of self-socialization as a capacity for self-directed goal attainment changes over the life course.

The details of this case illustrate how a person constructs her life from a very young age. She voluntarily rejects the socialization context of her family and home in Taiwan, choosing to remain in the U.S. at 10 years of age in order to fulfill the objective of greater educational attainment. She continues to persist in that commitment, repeatedly demonstrating her capacity to select the environment she believes will optimize her ability to reach a desired future. Drawing on a profound capacity for personal agency, she overcomes obstacles, identifies resources, and internalizes values to build a life structure.

WHO ARE PARACHUTE KIDS?

Parachute kids are young children, typically elementary or middle-school-age, who come to live in the United States while their parents continue to live in the country where the child was born. The majority of these children are Asian, primarily from Taiwan, but also from mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia (Horn, 2002).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Self-Socialization: A Case Study of a Parachute Child
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.