Sunday, April 15, 2012

Family: How it shapes children’s lives

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Family is a group of people whom you spend most of your life with. They

see how you act under pressure and how easily you become angered, yet love

each other despite their faults. Family is a very important part of the way a child

grows, thinks, and behaves. One’s family, especially the parents, contributes in

shaping their attitudes and minds. Family also helps to distinguish the

differences between right and wrong and gives guidance to their family in making

the right decisions. Family is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a group of

people connected by blood or marriage and sharing common ancestry.”

Although this is the mere surface of family, most relationships within the family go

much deeper. Family units learn to depend on each other, grow with each other,

and share with each other to bring out the potential in everyone, so that it is

possible for them to fulfill their dreams. Family is so important because it is not

only one of the first means of socialization for a child but it stays with them until

death. The bond within the family is incredible, in most cases, because they

encounter so many obstacles yet remain united. Family uses primarily three

factors when raising a child, which are physical, emotional and spiritual factors.

Each of these factors plays a significant role in a child’s life, preparing them for

the independent world, and also showing them that they are loved and important.

When dealing with physical factors shaping a child, there are several

aspects that need to be taken into consideration. Some aspects are abuse,

discipline, shelter, food, clothes, protection, and affection. Abuse is often

expressed to a child through a stressful parent; but it is still unacceptable.

Abuse has severe negative effects on a child because that child may feel that

love is shown through abuse and it would be very possible that they would either

enter an abusive relationship or abuse others. “Responsive parents view a

discipline encounter as an opportunity to teach the child something rather than as

an opportunity to vent their anger.” (Michael L. Jaffe, 11, p. 11) Although

abuse is wrong, discipline is needed to shape a child’s behavior. Many people

would debate whether or not spanking is appropriate or not, but to get a firm

point across, spanking is necessary. If a child were doing something wrong that

could cause danger on themselves, the quickest way to get the point across that

it is wrong, is by a soft spank. Although a spank can be very effective, impulsive

moves could cause one to hit, not spank, their child. Being impulsive is a bad

idea, the best way to discipline a child is openly. “Effective discipline requires

that parents be responsive, not reactive, to their children’s misbehavior.”

(Michael L. Jaffe, 11, p. 11) Shelter is a form of security for children,

providing for the family to fulfill their need for privacy and protection from the rest

of the world. Clothes and food are vital for the survival of the family simply

because death is a possibility for those lacking in this area. Food is necessary to

live especially for growing children and clothes help to boast ones self-esteem

and to keep them warm and/or comfortable. Reassuring family and children of

protection causes them to feel safe and comfortable in their home. Raising a

family in a safe environment is very important in shaping a child’s behavior. If a

child were to grow up in an area that has a known tendency to steal, than that

child would most likely grow up stealing. If a child were to grow up in an area

that has a known tendency to be racist, then that child would most likely grow up

making racist comments. “The same parents who practice violence within their

marital relationship is likely to be abusive when ‘disciplining’ their children.

Children who are victims of abuse may subsequently display violent behaviors

with siblings or peers.” (Michael L. Jaffe, 11, p. 4)

There are many aspects related to emotional factors, such as love, verbal

abuse, admiration, attention, compassion, discipline, individuality and

communication. Love is a large portion in shaping a child, but love alone will not

do. Showing a child that they are loved will boost their self-esteem and cause

them to show more love to others as well. “Unfortunately, parents often

communicate poorly when they are upset, angry, or frustrated. Many children

receive more than their share of criticism, which may gradually erode their self-

esteem.” (Michael L. Jaffe, 11, p. 187) Verbal abuse could do the same thing

as a lack of love. This will bring about doubt into the mind of a child, whether or

not they are loved. This will wear down their self-esteem, causing them to feel l

like everything they do is wrong. “Emotional abuse and neglect leave scars as

deep and enduring as battering.” (Michael L. Jaffe, 11, p. 4) Admiration is

important because it lets the child know that you care about what they do and

that you are paying attention to them. Attention will feed the hunger that they

have for your approval, so they are aware that you are concerned with their

safety and only want what’s best. Although this does not seem like that big of a

deal, to a child who is just looking for love, it is. Compassion is necessary to

create a bond with the child, so that child will learn to trust, understand and obey.

Compassion will let the child know that parent’s are not big monsters, but people

who are there to protect and love them. Discipline is a very tricky area because

too much discipline will scar a child, but so will too little. If a child is disciplined

too much, they will rebel against what their parents are asking of them, and

cause them to think that their parent’s only reason for living is to discipline them.

If a child is not disciplined enough, they will believe that they can get away with

anything or what they are doing isn’t wrong. Also, if a child isn’t disciplined

enough, a child might think that their parent’s do not care about their safety or for

them at all. Individuality is very important when dealing with siblings. No

comparisons should be made between the two such as “Why don’t you ever

clean your room Dylan? Bobby’s room is clean all the time.” This makes it seem

as though favorites are involved, or as though one child is below all of the rest.

This can have long-term effects and possibly cause the neglected child to hold a

grudge on their siblings. Communication is vital because a child must be

comfortable with coming to their parents for advice or problems. Communication

is the key in problem situations so that the parents are able to help them when

the time comes. “Poor communication is almost always a factor in poor family

relationships and interpersonal conflict. Successful, caring relationships require

effective, direct communication.” (Michael L. Jaffe, 11, p. 157)

There are many different aspects related to spiritual factors such as

morals, beliefs, values, priorities, the differences between good and bad and

helping them to choose between the two.

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