Family as a factor in the development of child behavior - Age psychology

4.7. Family as a factor in the development of child behavior

Representatives of the third generation of the American theory of social learning pay special attention to the analysis of the structure of the family and other social institutions as the most important factors in the development of the child's behavior. One of the interesting directions in the study of these factors was developed by W. Bronfenbrenner.

In American psychology, Bronfenbrenner writes, there is the concept of "age segregation," which characterizes the changes that have occurred in recent years in the lives of children and the younger generation. Age segregation is manifested in the inability of young people to find a place in the life of society. At the same time, a person feels isolated from the people and affairs around him and even hostile to them: he wants to do his own thing, often does not know exactly what this matter is and how they should be dealt with. When a young man finds it, practical work does not bring satisfaction and interest in it quickly fades. This fact of detachment of young people from other people and the real cause in American psychology was called alienation.

The roots of alienation American researchers are looking for in the features of the modern family. Bronfenbrenner draws special attention to the fact that most mothers work. It is also characteristic that the number of other adult family members who could assume the responsibility for raising a child at a time when mothers work, sharply gives. The number of divorces is growing, and consequently, of children being raised without a father. Naturally, the material standard of living in these families is low. However, with psychological overstrain and failure, it is necessary to deal not only with the families of the poor. Bronfenbrenner writes that in the homes of better-off families "there can be no rats, but they also have to participate in the rat struggle for existence."

The requirements of professional activity, claiming not only for working but also for free time of mothers and fathers, lead to the fact that a child often spends time with passive nannies than with parents. Bronfenbrenner gives a vivid example, showing the lack of communication between children and fathers. On the questions of the questionnaire, the fathers-representatives among their classes of society-answered that they spend an average of 15-20 minutes a day on communication with their one-year-old children. However, studies that recorded the paternal voice using a microphone attached to the shirt of the baby showed that this scanty time was exaggerated even: the average number of such contacts per day was 2.7 times, and their average duration was 37.7 seconds.

The communication between a child and an adult and many achievements of civilization are difficult: the appearance of additional TV sets in the family, the availability of family rooms and separate bedrooms, special rooms for games, etc. leads to a further deepening of isolation between generations. Involuntarily come to mind the pictures of a different, patriarchal family life, when the whole large family, usually all three generations, lived together and gathered at least three to four times a day at one large common table. Of course, such a family, communication, care and education of children were continuous, and not discrete. And most importantly, there was always a close person near the child. Modern civilization, Bronfenbrenner stresses, is increasingly moving away from conditions favorable for the child's full-fledged mental development, increasingly deepening isolation and increasing the lack of communication between the child and the adult.

The extreme case of such isolation is achieved with the aid of the device "artificial nurse", equipped with a special device for motion sickness, which is automatically activated by the sound of a baby's voice. Special frames, mounted on the sides of this unit, allow you to connect to it "software gaming items for sensory and physical practice." The device includes a set of six such items that parents can replace every three months in order to "keep up" with the development of the child. Since human faces are the first thing a newborn sees, six special plastic faces are placed in the kit, presented through a special window; other objects of various kinds - moving mechanisms, mirrors for the development of the child's self-awareness. Parents in this education are only in the role of potential installers of this device, which is constantly breaking, with bitter irony notes Bronfenbrenner.

So, the disintegration of the family, the territorial division of residential and business districts in cities, frequent relocations from one place of residence to another, interrupting neighbors and kinship ties, the flow of television programs, the working mother and other manifestations of "social progress" according to Bronfenbrenner, reduce the opportunities and needs for meaningful communication between children and older people and create very difficult conditions for women. He also draws attention to the fact that the growing number of divorces is accompanied in America by a new phenomenon - the reluctance of any of the parents to take care of the child.

All these and many other, even more unfavorable conditions, can not but affect the child's mental development, which leads to alienation, the causes of which are in the disorganization of the family. However, according to Bronfenbrenner, the disorganizing forces originate initially not in the family itself, but in the way of life of the whole society and in the objective circumstances that families face. If these circumstances and this way of life are harmful to the relationship of trust and emotional security in relations between family members, if these circumstances prevent parents from taking care of their children, educating them and giving them joy if the responsibilities of the parent do not meet with support and recognition in the world around them and if the time spent in the family circle is detrimental to career, personal satisfaction and mental peace, then the child's mental development is especially affected. The initial symptoms of this are manifested in the emotional and motivational sphere: hostility, indifference, irresponsibility and inability to do things that require diligence and perseverance. In more severe cases, the consequences also manifest themselves in the deterioration of the ability to think, operate with concepts and numbers even at the most elementary level.

A brief overview of various approaches to understanding the child's social development shows that American psychology is the psychology of learning. In the prefix on a great deal is made. Learning is a spontaneously occurring process. Development is considered by American psychologists as a process of quantitative accumulation of skills, connections, adaptations.

H. Freud had a strong influence on American psychology. That's why the concept of social learning could be formed. As we have already seen, in the modern American psychology the role of society in the development of the child is given enormous importance. Already A. Gesell recognized the primary sociality of the child, but this primary sociality was considered to him purely biologically, in terms of adaptation to the social environment.

The social life of the child is considered by modern American scientists after Gesell, as well as the behavior of the young animals - from the position of adaptation to the environment. Another LS. Vygotsky drew attention to the fact that in American psychology the social life of man is completely derived from the concept of biological evolution, and the transfer of the evolutionary principle to the study of ontogenesis reveals completely and without a trace the nature of the social formation of the individual. From his point of view, this reduction of social to biological interaction of organisms is unacceptable. Here the biology of American psychology reaches its apogee. Here he celebrates his highest triumphs, gaining the last victory: revealing the social as a simple kind of biological, "Vygotsky wrote in 1932. More than half a century has passed, and this evaluation of Vygotsky has not lost its significance.

The theory of social learning is based on the "stimulus-response" scheme. and the teachings of Freud. American scientists took from Freud his social core: the relationship between "I" and society. Freud and behaviorism cross not in the problem of sexuality, not in the problem of instinct, but in emphasizing the role of the social in the development of the child. However, social is understood as one of the forms of stimulation that evokes behavior, as one of the forms of reinforcement supporting it.

The concept of social learning shows how a child adapts in the modern world, how he absorbs habits, the norms of modern society. A child enters society as a "rat in a labyrinth", and an adult should spend it on this labyrinth, so that as a result he looks like an adult. The child is seen as a creature alien to society. But this is fundamentally wrong: the child is a part of society, and its most important part; a human society without children - a dying society.

How does the child interact with society? How does he live in it?

In the theory of social learning, the initial antagonism of the child and society is borrowed from Freudianism. This leads to the biologicalization of the social, therefore the entire development process is reduced to the selection process, the learning process.

thematic pictures

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)