Definition of Child
- Plural: children
- Informally called: kid
- “In American society, the basic kinship system consists of parents and children, but it may include other relatives as well, especially grandparents. Each person in this system has certain rights and obligations as a result of his or her position in the family structure. Furthermore, a person may occupy several positions at the same time. For example, an 18-year-old woman may simultaneously be a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, and a granddaughter. Each role entails different rights and obligations. As a daughter, the young woman may have to defer to certain decisions of her parents; as a sister, to share her bedroom; as a cousin, to attend a wedding; and as a granddaughter, to visit her grandparents during the holidays” (Strong, Devault, and Cohen 2011:19).
- “Families of orientation, procreation, and cohabitation provide us with some of the most important roles we will assume in life. The nuclear family roles (such as parent, child, husband, wife, and sibling) combine with extended family roles (such as grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, and in-law) to form the kinship system” (Strong, Devault, and Cohen 2011:19).
- “Since the effective kinship unit is normally the conjugal family, the child’s emotional attachments to kin are confined to relatively few persons instead of being distributed more widely. Especially important, perhaps, is the fact that no other adult woman has a role remotely similar to that of the mother. Hence the average intensity of affective involvement in family relations is likely to be high. Secondly, the child’s relations outside the family are only to a small extent ascribed. Both in the play group and in the school he must to a large extent ‘find his own level’ in competition with others. Hence the psychological significance of his security within the family is heightened” (Parsons 1943:32).
- Family and Kinship Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “child” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Kaul, Chandrika. 2002. Statistical Handbook on the World’s Children. Westport, CT: Oryx.
Parsons, Talcott. 1943. “The Kinship System of the Contemporary United States.” American Anthropologist 45(1):22–38. doi:10.1525/aa.1943.45.1.02a00030.
Strong, Bryan, Christine DeVault, and Theodore F. Cohen. 2011. The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society. 11th ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “child.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 24, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/child/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
child. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/child/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “child.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 24, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/child/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“child.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 24 Aug. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/child/>.