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One area that a family can influence a child is in basic health and wellness. A child does not innately know how to care for itself, so healthy habits have to be taught to the child. That includes things to avoid because they are dangerous or detrimental to health. It also includes teaching the child healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise. Schools can teach those things, but if the family doesn't reinforce those concepts, then the child will likely not see the point.
Families influence emotional development of children. Emotions are complex things, and if a child never sees his parents expressing emotions, then the child will bury emotions too. It's important for families to model appropriate ways of expressing emotions and dealing with various emotions.
Families also influence how the child interacts in social situations. Those are learned behaviors, and it's important for families to teach and model how to appropriately interact with friends, other family members, acquaintances, and even strangers.
A fourth area that a family can influence a child is how that child views work and work ethic. If the parents model high work ethic, the child will likely emulate that kind of habit and attitude.
The family is a fundamental social structure to a child's development. Its overall impact could mean a healthy or poor development in different aspects of a child's life. Therefore, a family can influence a child's development in four major areas:
Psychological: The child's psychological development is dependent on its perception of the family. In other words, if a child notices discord in his environment it could interfere with his psychological development. Sometimes, unstable family relationships often lead to psychological manifestations during adulthood.
Emotional: It is important for a child to feel loved and nurtured in a family setting to ensure emotional stability during its development. In fact, unstable families especially parents who separated or divorced, their children often exhibited aggressive or anti-social behaviors during their pre-adolescent or teenage years (Mackay, 2005).
Social Competence: One of the other factors that a family influences in a child is social competence where a child will either develop healthy or poor social relations in future. So depending on how a family interacts with a child, the child can either be withdrawn or social with others.
Academic Competence: Children brought up in stable homes are likely to perform well academically and develop better confidence in their academic achievements. So a family is better placed in boosting children's confidence in their academic performance.
The growth and development of children is the result of many factors, but one of the most prominent factors is the influence of family. This calls to question the famous nature versus nurture debate that exists within the field of psychology. The idea that children's growth and development is dependent on nature, or the genes they are born with, is often juxtaposed with the idea that children's growth and development is based on nurture, or the environmental circumstances of how they were raised (family). Though the jury is still out on exactly how much of our development is owed to nature and how much is owed to nurture, most psychologists can agree that BOTH nature and nurture affect the growing child to some extent.
A great way to look at the impact of family on the growth of children is by examining how a family can fulfill Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. Maslow's Hierarchy of needs is represented as a pyramid with the most basic human needs (food, shelter, etc) at the bottom. The hierarchy holds that in order to reach self-actualization (the top of the pyramid), humans must first reach all of the previous levels. (See attached image).
It is helpful to think about how a family can fulfill each of these needs. First (starting at the bottom of the pyramid), a family helps to assure that the child has all of their basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. Secondly, a family helps assure the child's safety and health. Third, a family can help a child feel like they love and belong, which helps with social emotional development. Fourth, by teaching their children about values like respect, a family can greatly influence a child's esteem, confidence, and can also help them achieve their goals. All of these things combined, can help lead a child to self-actualization, where they can grow and change into an independent person with morals, values, and the tools they need to succeed!
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