Vocabulary lists record that a family is "a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household." Families contain several different people related in specific ways, including father, mother, and children. This view extends to include step relations, in-laws, grandparents, and other relatives.
In literature, there are various definitions of a family. The basic definition is founded on the significance of human reproduction and underscores that children need parenting for quite a long time. Functional theories evaluate the value of accomplishing roles by families. But if family roles are abandoned, a family is referred to as a dysfunctional family. Another view of the family is the structural definition. This implies that family members are related by blood, legal bond, or marriage. Some family bonds are created by communication, leisure, affection, and influence. Also, interactional definition highlights the quotable process of collaborative interaction within families. The interactional definition also explores how family members and relationships influence children's development.
Literature devotes more attention to finding explanations for the impact of family relationships on children's growth and development. Generally, it is presupposed that family relationships determine the life a child will live in the future. As stated by Admin (2018), parenting is a critical issue determining children's behavior during childhood and afterward, since parents and guardians are obliged to provide care for infants. Therefore, the lives that children are likely to live in the future lie in their parents and caregivers' hands. Factors that determine a family's ability to provide care and support for their children can be described from various angles, for instance, parenting techniques (Maccoby,2020), cross-generational relationships (Thomas,2017), family structure and composition, and familial interaction patterns (Anderson,2014).
The literature of parenting focuses on two aspects of control and support. Support refers to parental activities that enhances children development, comfortability, warmth and responsiveness." Warmth describes the parent's or guardian's emotional expression of empathy and love, and the ability of a parent to create a warm and conducive atmosphere for child development. Responsiveness refers to a parent's ability to stay sensitive to the feeling and needs of their children and reacting efficiently in this respect. Maccoby (2020) defines parental control as the "behavior of a parent towards a child to control the child's behavior in a way worthwhile to the parent.
Regarding parental control, two duodecimal aspects can be esteemed: demanding and coercive. Coercive control involves acts of assault, abuse, corporal punishment, denial of privileges, and threatening that a parent could use to enforce good behavior and discipline (Maccoby,2020). Demanding control refers to a parent's polite request, monitoring, and supervision. Under this control, parents set elaborate standards and rules but, at the same time, motivate the child to be responsible and obedient. Thomas (2017), parent's efforts to achieve children's submission by inducing order has greatly impact the child's self-behavior and towards others.
Studies on parental behavior usually reveal that parental support and demanding control are associated with positive childhood development outcomes, while coercive control is related to children's social ineptitude and behavior problems (Admin,2018). Also, physical punishment and conflicting disciplinary measures are associated with children’s behavior problems (Admin,2018). With regard to parental support and control, various parenting styles can be identified. They include neglectful parenting, permissive parenting, authoritarian parenting, and authoritative parenting. Studies have proved that authoritative parenting is the most potent as it is connected with desired social and cognitive children's development and children's independence ((Thomas,2017).
The key concern is how parents can functionally enforce control within the context of an authoritative parenting style. Parents are advised to exert control in a demanding way rather than coercive way. More emphasis has been put on the need for firm control and strictness since positive child outcomes depend on a positive parent-child relationship. (Admin,2018) states that if a child recognizes the parent's regulatory measure as reasonable and if parents respect the child's individuality, aa positive child development is achieved.
Besides, parental supervision implies that parents are strongly involved with their children, and they are aware of their whereabouts. Monitoring or supervision may also refer to a family's organization with distinct rules and responsibilities. The need for children's monitoring becomes important when children attain middle childhood and adolescence. When children spend time with age mates and adults outside the family, they are likely to develop self-control and regulation capacity. Parents expect more responsibility and determination from their children, and therefore sometimes they tend to guide their children's activities at a distance. The switch of parental control is defined as a "three-phase developmental process," from parental restriction, coregulation, and individual responsibility (Maccoby,2020)
Moreover, the quality of the relationship between parents and children also is a significant concern. He intergenerational theory tries to address how a child's development and behavior problems are associated with the quality of the parent-child relationship. Maccoby (2020) states that loyalty is one of the key concepts of the intergenerational theory. He argues that loyalty can be horizontal or vertical. Vertical loyalty refers to the relationship between children and their parents. A child owes his or her parents loyalty because a child is born to his or her parents. This means that inherently, a child has to respect the expectations of his or her parents and adopt and attribute their values and norms.
On the other hand, parents, by nature, are obliged to take care of and protect their children. Therefore, a balance of 'giving and taking' amid children and their parents emerge (Maccoby,2020). Horizontal loyalty refers to a child's relationship with peers, siblings, and friends. Horizontal loyalty is also characterized by the balance of 'giving and taking's well. When problems arise in a household, the loyalty bonds should help family members to solve their issues. However, loyalty problems may result in children demonstrating intrinsic behavior problems and externalized behavior problems as well. As states by Intergenerational theory, loyalty and family problems are likely to affect a child's positive outcome since these problems often come up during developmental transition such as marriage and adolescence in family life. According to Maccoby (2020), developmental transition stages are critical in a child's life since there are growth and enrichment.
Theories on household structures address issues of parent-relationship and emphasize the importance of a family structure that supports children's wellbeing. According to Thomas (2017), the role of a family is to support and provide children with basic needs. To function effectively, families need stable structures to support children. Concerning family structure, problems may arise when responsible individuals neglect their roles. According to Thomas (2017), children need to be cared for in a manner that promotes the ability to develop and ensure their survival and safety from harm and any assaults. While such safety measures are important for all children, they are mainly crucial for developing children who lack individual resources to avoid peril. Young children rely on their parents and caregivers, both outside and inside the home. At the most basic level, children must receive proper care of various psychological and emotional protection.
Healthy nutrition and sleeping behavior early in life is a significant strategy in achieving a child's wellbeing. Parents and guardians have a huge influence on the future health of their children. Studies show that unhealthy parental habits, such as substance abuse, might affect children in the future. This is because young children pay attention to everything that happens around them. Even at a young age, children copy what their parents do. Caregivers and parents' behavior presents a powerful lesson to a child and leaves senses on the developing brain.
Parenting is one of the most crucial public health issues today; this is why the United States government is giving parenting high priority (Health, Office of Adolescent. US Department of Health and Human Services,2019). Relationship amid family relations and functioning and children outcomes described in the literature are often founded on empirical studies and clinical experiences with households experiencing both common and serious parenting challenges. (Maccoby,2020) argues that families that experience child nurturing difficulties are characterized by parental negligence and imbalance. According to Admin (2018), helping families experiencing parenting challenges needs special attention to all aspects of family functioning. Perhaps, an intervention can effectively solve such problems. By considering all aspects of family functioning, parents can prevent childhood problems such as teenage pregnancy, school disruption, child and substance abuse, and school disruption. Additional information on the relationship between family relations, parenting, and family functioning and child development and outcome will be supportive of addressing relevant issues in intercession programs.
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Thomas, Patricia A, et al. “Family Relationships and Well-Being.” Innovation in Aging, Oxford
Maccoby, Eleanor E., and Eleanor E. Maccoby Department of Psychology. “Parenting and Its Effects on Children: On Reading and Misreading Behavior Genetics.” Annual Reviews, 2020, www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.1.
Health, Office of Adolescent. “Healthy Parent-Child Relationships.” HHS.gov, US Department of Health and Human Services, 25 Mar. 2019, www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent development/healthy-relationships/parents-child/index.html
Anderson, Jane. "The Impact of Family Structure on the Health of Children: Effects of Divorce." The Linacre Quarterly, Maney Publishing, Nov. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240051/.
University Press, Nov. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954612/.