Psychological Self-Help

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certain, Weiner (1980, p. 216-218) says a high achieving male tends
to have rejecting parents who expect him to become independent
early, make high demands on him, reward his success, and/or punish
unsatisfactory behavior (which increases the fear of failure). Rather
surprisingly, both loving-accepting (undemanding?) and dominant
(overcontrolling?) fathers tend to have less ambitious sons. However,
sons of managers and owners have much higher needs to achieve than
sons of fathers with routine jobs (Byrne & Kelley, 1981). 
Notice in the last paragraph I was talking only about males. What
about females? The research in this area for many years found very
different results with each sex, so researchers avoided achievement
studies with women. More recently this has changed and serious
concern has been given to the impact of socially defined sex-roles on
behavior. For instance, children's books were found to describe boys
as active, effective, and achieving, while girls were described as
watching the boys, being a boy's helper, or just tagging along
(Weitzman, Eifler, Hokada, & Ross, 1972). Furthermore, an
experiment showed that sexist stories actually had immediate impact
on the behavior of nursery school children. Girls were more active and
persistent in their work if they had heard stories picturing girls that
way (McArthur & Eisen, 1976). This is just one minor example. Our
needs and goals and self-concepts come from thousands, maybe
millions, of experiences. We'll study sex-roles more in chapter 9. 
What are the family backgrounds of females with high needs to
achieve? They tend to have nontraditional, permissive parents who
reward their achievements. The mother plays a crucial role, as does
the father for males. Tenth grade girls who feel most competent (this
is related to high career goals but not exactly the same as high
achievement needs) had mothers who placed high value on their being
independent, successful, and ambitious but low value on self-control
and being responsible (Baruch, 1976). More research is needed here.
There seems to be a fine line between a parent being very encouraging
and being overly dominant. Being over-protective is clearly harmful
(see chapter 9). 
In contrast with the research just cited about what an achiever's
parents are actually like, achievement specialists recommend having a
somewhat different kind of parent. Johnson (1984) says achievers are
produced by parents who let them go on their own, let them set their
own goals, and make their own mistakes. These parents encourage
high but appropriate goals, respect the child's abilities, take and show
great pleasure from the child's successes, and give lots of praise. They
let the child try hard on their own before giving suggestions or help,
but they give help before the child gives up. They don't do the task for
the child nor insist that it be done "my way." 
In general, educators believe that high achievers have respectful,
praising, optimistic, supportive, hard working parents who are
themselves learning and success oriented. These parents expect each
person in the household to do their share of the chores and to follow
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