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Biological and environmental factors that influences childrens behavior

In this essay I’m going to critically reflect on a range of biological and environmental factors that influences children and young people‘s behaviour. Behaviour is a process of individual characteristic. The term behaviour is identified as an action or reaction of something however, some people feel that Behaviour varies from human to human because of the different gene characteristics. Behaviour is a development that can be observed, described, or even recorded by people imitating or others around (Mitchell: 2009). Many educational theorists contributed to the understanding of behaviour. These theories are continuing to give educators insight on the differences in behaviour.

Many environmental factors influence a child or young person’s behaviour. Some people feel that peers have an influence on children’s behaviour however; some theorist believes that children’s behaviour is influences by parents and peers. The Group socialisation theory states in a child’s peer group “The psychological characteristics a child is born with become permanently modified by the environment.” (Harris, 1995, p.482)

‘According to Harris, children are most influenced by their peers.  They adopt much behaviour of their peers in social settings in order to be accepted by their peers’

For example children in a primary school setting might copy behaviour of peers to fit in and socialize with peers. Whereas if you are in a secondary setting, you may be pressurises in to intimating the behaviour exhibited. The influence of peers whether positive or negative critically important to a child or young person behaviour. Because sometimes the opinions of a child’s pear groups carry more load than a parent’s opinion. However according to Bandura social learning theory children learn by observing each other’s behaviour. This gives children the chance to react off one another, which enhances their behaviour. Bandura also argued that children imitated there parent’s behaviour, as they observe what they see.

The power of the peer groups has a big impact on children’s behaviour, because children just want to fit in a group or setting and have friends. Parents also have an important part on children behaviour although; some parents do not have close relationship with their children, for example if parents have other commitments such as jobs and are rarely there for children. Therefore, children may go to pear groups for comfort and emotional support.

Children behaviour is not only influenced with environmental factor, it can be affected by biological factor such as Special Educational Needs. ‘The term 'special educational needs' (SEN) has a legal definition, referring to children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn or access education than most children of the same age. (Direct Gov: 2010)

Children who have special educational needs, are born with special educational need, and can not help this. Children with SEN might find it hard, and get frustrated. This also can have a big impact on their self-esteem, which can cause them to have behavioural difficulties. For example children might get frustrated about not be able to do something due to their Special Educational need and might get aggressive, or they can do the complete opposite and withdraw them self for everyone which can have an effect on their behaviour. This can also lead them to have emotional difficulties.

Emotional difficulties are also linked to biological influences; this can have an effect on the child or young person behaviour. Some children can have Mental, Emotional, and Behavioural Disorders; all these disorders can affect a Childs emotion, which can lead to negative behaviour or withdrawn behaviour. A few of these disorders that can affect children’s behaviour and emotions are Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Autism, Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Schizophrenia. Children, who may have Bipolar Disorder, can have exaggerated mood swings that can go extremely high or extremely low. For example, a child can have extremely high mood swings, which can lead to aggressive behaviour, or extreme low mood swings which can lead to depression. This can affect the childes emotions, by leading them to feel upset, low, depressed or even aggressive however children with Bipolar Disorder can not help the way they are feeling as it is not in there control and find it difficult to deal with it. There is also Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is linked to behaviour and academic difficulties. Children who have ADHD are normally unable to focus there attention are easily distracted which can affect there behaviour. This can have a positive and negative effect on children behaviour. (Mental health: 2010)

For example in my setting we have a child who has ADHA, he was many emotional difficulties that affect his behaviour. The child is emotionally frustrated when he cannot control his behaviour. However, many strategies can help children who do have emotional difficulties. Such as individual therapy and counselling, this allows you to understand your feeling and improve close relationship. “Dynamic psychotherapy” is used to describe many theories that help children with there inner feeling and emotions through previous and present experiences. (Smith: 1996) This can have a big impact on children who have disorders and cannot help the way there behaviour is presented.

Children emotional difficulties have big influences on there behaviour, however personality has as much of an impact as emotions. Many theorists argue that Personality is biological influences on behaviour however; some theorist feel the personality is an environmental influence on children behaviour. There are many approaches of personality that can influences behaviour. Freud had seen personality as an aspect that is developed through childhood experiences. Eysenck, theory Trait, see personality as a Characteristic that is inherited from parents.

Lunden defined personality as

“The organization of unique behaviour equipment an individual acquitted under the special conditions of his development”

Lunden (1969: p.7)

Whereas other theorist have stated that personality is a product of internal and external variables, but not necessarily genetics. Children personality can affect there behaviour, in a positive way and in a negative way. For example, children who are shy, may find it hard to talk to children who they have never seen before, however, a confident person find it easy to express themselves to others, so personality can have an affect on behaviour.

Culture can also have an affect on children behaviour. For example some people belong to different culture, every culture has there own way in which they understanding behaviour. In some cultures, hitting children is acceptable, where as in other cultures that might be seen as unacceptable behaviour. These can canfuse children as how to behave in school or other setting can have a big impact on the child’s behaviour. Nevertheless, culture is not the only thing that can affect behaviour, our own beliefs and values have impact on behaviour.

“Diversity is all about differences and we have to accept and embrace the fact we are all different physically, socially, culturally, emotionally and sexually.”

So culture and our beliefs should be respected in today society. This has an affect on behaviour because everyone has there own beliefs and values mostly influenced by family.

Genes can also have a biological effect on behaviour. Michael Frank, of the Brown Institute for Brain Science states that ‘In some cases, single genes can have surprisingly strong influences on particular aspects of behaviour,” however some theories think that genetics have got no influences on behaviour and it is the environmental factors that have a influence on behaviour. To a certain degree behaviour can be influenced by environmental factors, however this does not mean that there is no influenced of genetics. (Rutter: 2006) the reason why some educators think that genetic has an impact on behaviour, is due to Autistic Spectrum Disorder, this is a genetic disorder, because of not having enough social understating that can affect children behaviour. People with autism can exhibit any combination of behavioural characteristics in any degree of severity. For example, two children with the same can act very differently. (Sunfield: 2009) so genetic can have an influence on children behaviour.

Another environmental influence that can affect child’s behaviour can be, having a new baby born in the family. Children who are only siblings may not know how to react on sharing their parents; some children may even feel jealous and feel that their parents are rejecting them. Mother’s who may have had an difficult birth may need time to recover, and end up neglect the older child and pay attention on the new baby. This can affect child behaviour in many ways, they may throw tantrums to get attentions, or even hit the child out of frustration. Children who do not know how to deal with situation like this, would find it really difficult to control there behaviour. So there are many environmental and biological influences that can affect children behaviour.

In this essay i have looked at factors that have biological and environmental influences on children behaviour. Children’s behaviour can be influences by, personality, genes, peer pressure, new born baby, special education needs, and many more. These factors can influences children behaviour in a positive or negative way. However behaviour is not always negative, it can be seen as a positive behaviour. There are many theorist that support children behaviour in there many theories, on what behaviour is.

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