Roles in Child-Rearing
The process of raising children can hardly be called simple since many factors are to be taken into account. Various theories considering both hereditary relationships and the environment as the main determinants of behavior at an early age, as a rule, mention the direct role of those who are close to the child. The involvement of parents is key since it is in the family where the moral foundations and principles are laid, which shapes the human character in the future. Responsibility for the actions of children lies primarily on those who gave them life. However, community participation can also be significant and sometimes even stronger.
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Government boards ensure that control over the conditions child-rearing should be performed, and appropriate measures should be taken in case of violations. The law on the deprivation of parental rights and encouraged by guardianship is aimed at providing children living in adverse conditions with safety. Moreover, society also plays an important role in the formation of stereotypes and opinions concerning the features of upbringing. Social advertising and movements in support of the protection of children help to strengthen state laws and the public awareness of the problem. The media are the effective means of disseminating relevant information; therefore, in addition to parents, state and social structures also affect the process of child-rearing.
In order to consider the process of child development and the influence of special factors, a certain theoretical model can be used. This frame developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner is called the perspective and includes “the micro-, meso-, exo-, and macrosystems” (Steinberg 51). Each of these contexts explains the peculiar conditions of upbringing and development and in its own way influences the formation of personality and world perception. Based on the components of the ecological perspective, I can analyze my systems and assess the impact that they have had on my development as a child and current views.
According to Steinberg, a personal microsystem “is a setting in which the child interacts with others face-to-face every day” (51). From my childhood in my native country, I remember only positive memories. My family and I often spent time together walking in the park. My relations with peers and teachers at school were positive, and I cannot remember anything that could negatively affect my future perception of the world. Moreover, I did not quarrel with my elder sister; on the contrary, we were friendly, and it was she who taught me much. Therefore, my personal microsystem was distinguished by exceptionally positive moments, which are pleasant to remember today.
When evaluating my mesosystem in childhood, I can note that the actions and events that took place at that time influenced my mood but not in a fundamental way. As Steinberg remarks, this level provides for the interconnection between microsystems (52). None of the characteristics caused a conflict with another one. My relationships with peers did not negatively affect on success at school, and my communication with family members did not depend on any external factors. Therefore, I cannot note anything significant regarding this level of the model.
According to Steinberg’s opinion, the exosystem level “is made up of contexts outside the child’s immediate, everyday experience” (53). Since childhood, I have loved traveling and try to devote all my free time to it. It was perhaps the external environment from that time that influenced this affection significantly. I grew up in Cuba, and many interesting events took place in the country and my hometown. While watching street vendors, I loved to cook, and today, it is also one of my hobbies. Thus, some elements of the exosystem have had a certain impact on my habits and preferences.
My macrosystem in childhood was not unusual and did not differ significantly from my peers’. As Steinberg notes, this layer includes those forces that are taken into account by the whole social group – culture, religion, historical events, and other crucial aspects (54). These factors have certainly had a specific influence on my particular opinions and the setting of priorities. Since childhood, I have valued those people who can show their strengths. My homeland does not have a super-strong economy, which led me to the idea of proving to myself that I could achieve success by following the set goal. My specialty as a teacher is the reflection of the values that were laid in childhood, and I feel gratitude for my environment.
Based on the systems of the model, all the aforementioned factors are the essential components of any child’s development. These levels have also been influenced by nature, and some events from the past are the reflection of my current personality. Since I am aware of such a division into levels, I can judge that my environment was favorable, and my ideas about life are primarily shaped due to the experience gained at an early age.
Perspectives on Development
Raising children depends largely on how parents perceive the process of developing certain skills. Opinions may differ significantly, and approaches to education also vary. For instance, the environment is one of the factors that determine children’s behavior, habits, personality traits, and other features. Another aspect that many parents consider essential and even primary is heredity. According to Steinberg, this factor is purely individual and, despite the development of genetics in recent years, the influence of this criterion has not been studied comprehensively (58).
Nevertheless, parents’ approaches based either on a focus on the nature of their children or the educational process affect the process of upbringing. If adults believe that, for example, the propensity for music is hereditary, they will emphasize the development of the child’s this particular ability, paying less attention to other skills.
I can also recall similar examples from my childhood, which, however, were not negative. My parents encouraged my creative abilities and, despite my specialty as a teacher, I have a craving for art and try to create something with my own hands periodically. Also, much time that was spent with my family allowed me to understand some features of a collective lifestyle better, which may have influenced the choice of my profession. I appreciate my experience, and I value the merit of my loved ones.
The role of not only parents but also society is important in the upbringing and development of the child. The ecological perspective that includes four levels is the model that allows describing the impact of a number of factors on personality formation. My systems largely depended on my parents, but the experience gained was positive, and many values were laid precisely in that period. Depending on the perception of upbringing characteristics, different approaches may be applied, and both hereditary and educational measures are frequent practices.
Steinberg, Laurence, et al. Development: Infancy Through Adolescence. Cengage Learning, 2010.