Applying Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model
In his theory, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model attempts to explain the inherent qualities of a child and the influence of the environment on a child’s development. According to Grant & Ray (2010), a child is often caught up in the different ecosystems from the intimate setting at home to the outward school environment, society, and culture. Using five different levels, Bronfenbrenner stressed the importance of learning the multiple environments a child is exposed to, in order to understand their development. In light of this, we will examine the importance of learning about this theory to the parents of the four-year-old child and the various ways it will influence the child’s life. The first level is the microsystem, and as Grant & Ray note, it involves the immediate environment of the child such as the home, daycare, community environment, or peer group. At this level, the interaction will be with family, caregivers, peers, and classmates who play a significant part in influencing the development of a child. The second level is the mesosystem, which involves interaction between various aspects of a child’s microsystem. The child cannot function independently and is interconnected with other people’s interactions. For instance, a child neglected by parents can have a negative attitude towards the teacher. Such a child is also likely to appear withdrawn from their peers. The Exosystem is the third level and involves links between settings, where an individual does not have an active role but may affect a child’s development. For example, if a child is attached to her father and he moves away for several months the child may develop anxiety, which may affect them in areas such as decision making or relationship with others. The fourth level, which is the macrosystem involves the actual culture of the child. In the case of the four-year-old child, and considering that the child has been living in a children’s home and has had to leave the environment to a new one, the values of the home have had an impact on the child in the same way the new environment will influence its development. The fifth level is the chronosystem, which involves the transitions in a child’s lifespan. In our case, the child has undergone a major transformation from a children’s home to a family. According to research, this change is likely to affect the child in the first year of the transition but regain stability after a certain period. Thus as conceptualized above, a child only has control over the events affecting their microsystem, but not the other levels. The theory provides a framework for the parents to the four-year-child on the importance of building an effective relationship and surrounding the child with positivity since this determines their development.
Most Beneficial Parenting Style
Every parent approaches his or her child in a unique manner. It is also not practical for a parent to just wake up one day and be a different parent. Parenting is a collection of rules, tricks, and skills aimed at transmitting the best personal aspects of the parents’ values to their children (Gadsden, Ford, & Breiner, 2016). In the case of the four-year-old child, the most appropriate and beneficial parenting style will be the authoritative style. Ideally, authoritative parenting is often hailed as the most effective parenting style due to its emphasis on sensitivity, reasoning, limits, and emotional responsiveness. As opposed to authoritarian parents, authoritative parents expect a lot from their children, while delivering even more. Research shows that children of authoritative parents often have self-confidence, are independent, tend to have positive attitudes towards life, succeed in their academic life, and well behaved among others (Grant & Ray, 2010). Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge that implementing the authoritative parenting style is not easy. It takes a lot of energy, patience, and self-control, but the benefits of raising a child knowing that a parent has high expectations of them and maintains emotional ties are worth every effort.
Best Childcare Option for the Child and Social Factors to Consider
Ideally, finding the most appropriate childcare arrangement can be a tough task; more so with an adopted child. Most of the times adopted children have experience with a stressful environment, enduring their early days without the full amount of affection, gentle care, and love to attend to their basic emotional and intellectual needs. In this case, it is important for adoptive parents to try to fill this void. Other adults who may be present in the lives of the child should also be consistent in responding to the child’s needs and compassionately help them establish trust in their new environment. In light of this, the parents to the four-year-old child have two options; they can either take their child to a home-based childcare or consider hiring a nanny for the child. Typically, family day care is care that is provided from the home of the caregiver (Connell, 2005).The arrangement is often favored because it offers children a similar environment to that of their home, with a caregiver who is like a mother figure, an area to play and children to socialize. On the other hand, a nanny is an employee who enters into employment to take care of a child from the parents’ home. Usually, a nanny can be a live-in help or report on a daily basis. Ordinarily, the two options provide the parents with an individual caregiver, who can be able to reinforce authority and provide care to the child. Choosing a live-in nanny will make sure that the child receives the necessary care from home with personalized attention. A home-based daycare will allow the child to bond with the caregiver and grow in a nurturing environment with individualized attention. However, it is important to mention that nannies are often more expensive as compared to enrolling a child in a home-based care. Thus, depending on the financial status of the parents, they have an option of choosing to enroll the child in a home-based care or hire a nanny.
Implementing safe Technology use at Home
In the current era, models of teaching and learning have been enhanced with the use of technology. This means, being adept at accessing and using technology is a necessity for children to be productive members of society. It also implies that TVs, mobile phones, computers, and tablets are part of their daily life. However, there are several risks when children spend excessive time using technological devices and parents should focus on ensuring the safe use of technology at home. Such strategies include things such as limiting the number of time children spend watching TV (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). Overall, TV has been associated with numerous health problems such as obesity, sleep problems, and behavior and attention problems among others. Children behavior can also be influenced by what they view on TV and most times lead to emulating these practices in their everyday life. Similarly, as Shaffer & Kipp note, when using computers and especially when connected to the internet, the parents should always monitor the websites their children visit. It is also important to train the child to have shorter computer sessions with regular breaks in between to avoid health problems associated with using computers for longer periods.
How the media positively or negatively Influences a Child
The presence of media is ubiquitous as children and teenagers spend more time browsing the internet, watching TV, and playing games. Research shows that technology can have a powerful influence on children entertainment and education. For instance, TV has the power to increase a child’s general vocabulary as well as providing them with an opportunity to learn new things depending on the programs being aired on TV (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). Along with that, technology has the potential to increase a child’s interest by exposing them to various activities and topics such as science, animal life, and music among others. However, while modern technology has transformed the learning environment and the way children interact, it also has several negative effects. Television has the potential to encourage inactive lifestyle, thus, endangering the health of the children. Similarly, if viewership is not regulated, children are likely to watch programs that might influence their behavior. For example, children who watch programs that display violence or aggressiveness is likely to develop such practices.
Importance of Culture and Ethnicity in Development of Self-Concept
Self-concept is based on the understanding of oneself through personal experiences, self-image, thoughts, and awareness of oneself. Regardless of our values, ethnic identity is based on the fulfillment of a person’s dominant value of their culture, morals values, and emotional significance. Children often build their self-concept through interactions with caregivers, which align with the cultural values regarding human existence (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). The parents can create opportunities for the child to interact with other children in the neighborhood to learn their culture. Similarly, creating a sense of curiosity in the child’s mindset can trigger their interest in new things happening around them. In addition to the above, the parents can model acceptance by ensuring the child interacts with various people from different backgrounds.
Self-Esteem and Positive Attitude Development
Self-esteem involves the way individuals feel about themselves. Children who feel good about themselves are often successful in their relationships at school and home and even perform well academically (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). On the other hand, children with low self-esteem often feel unsure about them and can be exposed to a series of emotional instability. Parents and teachers have a shared responsibility to increase the self-esteem in children. Research shows that youngsters need to experience a sense of security so that they can be sure of their future. Parents can create a sense of belonging by making the child feel loved and accepted. This can be achieved by praising them or giving the necessary support and encouragement. Similarly, parents can nurture self-esteem by instilling in children a sense of competence and pride. For instance, instead of overprotecting children, they should be let free to take challenges on their own.
Socialization at home and School
Socialization occurs both at home and in school and forms an important part in the development and adaptation of behavior among children. Ideally, socialization at home is also referred to as primary socialization and Shaffer and Kipp (2010) elaborate, it entails the foundation of the whole child development. At home, family and friends play a significant role in developing the language of the child, character traits, and vocation skills through imitation. In particular, socialization at home is important because this is the first stage where the child learns basic social values, character traits, and cultural norms. On the other hand, socialization at school is often referred to as secondary socialization and begins when a child starts interacts with people outside family interaction. For the child, the learning environment exposes them to various opportunities allowing them to manifest their capabilities, motives, instincts, and helping them develop their personality. More precisely, the teacher’s personality and character greatly influence the child, and as they try to imitate it, it consciously molds their personality. Thus, the teacher’s actions or movements are likely to leave a long-lasting impression on the mind of the child. Along with the teacher, schoolmates and peer groups have a significant role in shaping a child’s life. In the process of education, the personality of the child usually develops under the influence of their peer’s personalities who they have contact.
Importance of Positive Peer Interactions
It is often assumed that peers have a less significant role in the development of early childhood. However, research indicates that children including infants who have problems with their peers often experience several negative consequences in their social and emotional development. According to Shaffer and Kipp (2010), fostering peer interaction lays down the foundation for the emotional development, self-concept, self-esteem, and children identity. Similarly, promoting peer interaction is significant because it contributes to language development, cognitive and social development. Outside of school, children also interact with their friends from the neighborhood. Parents can play a significant role in helping their child to develop and foster friendships through various strategies (Parke & Ladd, 2016). For instance, the parent should provide opportunities for the child to make friends. The child could be enrolled in a music class or children gym among other social activities to help them meet and make friends. Another way that a parent can foster friendships is by setting play dates with other children. The parent can consider asking another parent to get their child to the park for lunch to nurture new relations.
Career development theories suggest that the nature of families and children in relation to society influences an individual’s career, aspirations, and skill development. In particular, this means that in one way or another, the society in which a child is raised in influences their life choices including their choice of career. The parents are the most influential people in the life of a child, and they shape the child’s ideas of work ethics, values, and money. They instill discipline and emotional development. As a result, the child may feel that they have an obligation to carry on the family tradition such as becoming a doctor if the social network is in the medical world. Child development has a direct impact on the overall development of the child and determines who they become in future. Early childhood development forms the conceptual framework of intelligence, social behavior, personality, and the ability to learn. In return, this promotes the chances of better learning outcomes, better education, and better career decisions in future.
Connell, L. H. (2005). The childcare answer book. Naperville, Ill: Sphinx Pub.
Gadsden, V. L., Ford, M. A., Breiner, H., & National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (U.S.). (2016). Parenting matters: Supporting parents of children ages 0-8. Washington, DC : The National Academies Press.
Grant, K. B., & Ray, J. (2010). Home, school, and community collaboration: Culturally responsive family involvement. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
Parke, R. D., & Ladd, G. W. (2016). Family-Peer Relationships: Modes of Linkage. Florence: Taylor and Francis.
Shaffer, D. R., & Kipp, K. (2010). Developmental psychology: Childhood and adolescence. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
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