Children's Initiative in Contributions to Family Work in Indigenous-Heritage and Cosmopolitan Communities in Mexico


This article addresses cultural differences in children's initiative in helping in their home. Many 6- to 8-year-old children from an Indigenous-heritage community in Guadalajara, Mexico, were reported to engage, on their own initiative, in complex work for the benefit of the whole family (such as tending younger siblings, cooking, or running errands). In contrast, few children from a cosmopolitan community in Guadalajara, in which families had extensive experience with Western schooling and associated practices, were reported to contribute to family household work, and seldom on their own initiative. They were more often reported to be involved in activities managed by adults, and to have limited time to play, compared with the children in the Indigenous-heritage community, who were often reported to have plenty of time for free play and often planned and initiated their own after-school activities. The differences in children's contributions on their own initiative support the idea that children in some Indigenous American communities have opportunities and are expected and allowed to learn with initiative by observing and pitching in to collaborative endeavors of their families and communities.



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Human Development



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