Family relationships are a vital Issue that can affect how one develops, being that they are the closest relationship in a child’s life, they tend to have the biggest impact as well. I found that my Mum and Dad had a very distant relationship, whether it be arguing or not talking at all. It came down to Dads drinking habits stemming from depression, which caused a lot of disturbance within the household. There was always a lot of tension in the house and I believe it changed who my sibling’s and I are today.
Now as adults, we are very close and tend to tell each other everything. For a child to thrive physically and emotionally, they need to feel safe in their home, by their caregivers meeting their physical and emotional needs. According to Bowen, a family could be a system within which each member features a role to play and rules to respect. Within the boundaries of the system, patterns develop as certain family member’s behaviour is caused by and causes other family member’s behaviours in predictable ways.
Maintaining the same pattern of behaviours within a system may lead to balance in the family system, but also to dysfunction (GenoPro, n.d.) An understanding of the complexity of the influences, interactions and interpersonal relationships, that affect the dynamics of relationships and consequently children’s optimal development, can be grounded in Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model. To ensure the child’s optimal development, all the participants in the respective systems ought to pursue effective patterns of interaction, called proximal processes. These systemic levels interact continuously with one another and contribute to the young individual’s change, growth and development. (Education Association South Africa , 2015) Consequently, Bowens theory of family is relevant to Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model, which both state that family is based around systems and to have an imbalance in these systems, can affect children’s optimal development. There was a slight imbalance in my family systems, even though as children we didn’t know it, it is quite evident to us now. The social and cultural contexts in which we live and grow up in have a strong influence on our learning and development. Many differences in learning outcomes are associated with the interaction of family, school, and community factors. (Woolfolk, 2019) Family is the first and most important context for learning and development, In Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological system theory, the Microsystem is the closest connection to the child, such as their immediate relationships and activities. For a child, the microsystem would be the immediate family, friends or teachers and the activities of play and school. (Woolfolk, 2019) How these groups or individuals interact with their children effects how the child grows, and how the child reacts to people in their microsystem will also influence how they treat the child in return. ( (Notes, 2013) In my situation, the way my parents interact with each other effect’s the way they interact with their children, which has changed how us children react to the people closest in our microsystems. As Woolfolk states, living with one fairly content parent, may be better than living in a conflict-filled situation with two unhappy parents (Woolfolk, 2019). I believe this to be true, as mentioned above, if the same pattern of behaviours is consistent within a system, which it has been for 25 years, it can lead to an imbalance in the system as well as dysfunction. (GenoPro, n.d.) Bronfenbrenner’s mesosystem can also have an impact on a child’s development, as it involves the relationships between the elements of the microsystems involved. All relationships are reciprocal, teachers influence parents and parents influence teachers, and both these interactions affect the child. (Woolfolk, 2019)The stages of development all had a contributing factor to my microsystem. Growing up, my family never really talked about feelings, this didn’t happen until my brothers and I were much older. This effected my Social and emotional development, as a child I didn’t feel like I had a support network, this made me an introvert and quite shy, I wasn’t brought up to be emotional. Therefore, I found it hard to connect with other children, recognise and empathise others feelings, which relates back to Bronfenbrenner’s social and emotional development theory; how a person relates and interacts with others. Although, I do believe my moral development matured quite early because I knew right from wrong at a very young age, from being exposed to it in my household. In my personal relationships today, I take a long time to open up and trust people. This is because I want to be sure it Is going to be a healthy thriving relationship. Children observe the people around them behaving in numerous ways in which, relates to, Bandura’s Social learning theory. Children are surrounded by many influential models in society, who provide examples of behaviour for children to imitate. Children are more likely to attend to and imitate those people they perceive to be similar to themselves (McLeod, Bandura Social Learning Theory, 2016). As we grow up and become adults it is our responsibility to identify what is right and wrong, and to surround ourselves with positive reinforcements. We no longer imitate our parents, and it is our choice what kind of people we want to be. In order to move forward, we need to separate ourselves from negative environments.Skinners Theory of operant conditioning is a method that occurs through rewards and punishments for behaviour. Through conditioning, an individual makes an association between a particular behaviour and consequence. Skinner introduced a new term, which was reinforcement, behaviour which is reinforced tends to be repeated. Whether It be positive or negative (McLeod, Skinner Operant Conditioning, 2018). I can see now that if this theory of operant conditioning worked as a child, I can change the reinforcement to a positive one as an adult and learn from it that negative reinforcements only make children repeat the behaviour. This is will affect my future decisions of how I will react to children’s behaviour. Throughout my relationships as an adult, I have found that I’m not very trusting, I’m quite insecure and can relate to Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. As Erikson states, when an infant is born, they are uncertain about the world in which they live in. To reduce these feelings of uncertainty, the infant looks towards their primary care-giver for stability. If the infant receives consistent, predictable and reliable care they will carry a sense of trust with them to other relationships. If the care is inconsistent and has an imbalance, it may result in a sense of mistrust (McLeod, 2018). I believe I lack this sense of trust, I find it very hard to let people in, including my family. To overcome this, I need to start talking about my feelings more, with friends and family, and change my emotional development is some way. Therefore, by doing this I will trust the people closest to me and take that trust to other relationships.