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Parents play a role in a child's life and whether or not parents make or break a child for his or her future. A divorce in a family will change the way a child acts or feels about life. Divorces are a big factor in how a child will grow and whether or not the child will be successful. Abusive parents are very common in the world because of the many ways parents are able to abuse their child verbally, physically, sexually, and emotionally. A foster child may have many different needs just because of the harsh past that he or she may have had to endure. Also, foster parents are not prepared for the emotional distressed the foster children have. An environment in which a child is reared influences that child for its peers and personal decisions. An environment includes the mental physical attributes that a child is raised. A child in a divorced family will have less security about him or herself and will have less of a positive attitude toward life. This paper will also answer and reflect on the best ways to rear a child. Everything that a child learns and endures will carry on through the rest of his or her life. With the understanding that humans are capable of change, this is the average way a person lives. A child’s life begins and ends in the way a child is reared.
A Child’s Foundation
Geray, a philosophy professor at the University of Minnesota, Crookston stated “Parents are like programmers, whatever they say or do to young children the children will learn and accept it as the truth” (personal communication, April 8, 2008). Parents are the most influential figure to a child than any other person or thing. There are many different factors that create and mold a child’s character, but everything narrows down to how parents rear their child. Lahelma and Gordon stated in their journal article “Home as a Physical, Social and Mental Space: Young People Reflections on Leaving Home” that “Home is a place that consists of physical places, social practices and mental meanings” (2003, p. 136). A foster child has a different perspective of the world due to hardship. Divorces in a family can trouble a child in several different ways. Abusive parents make life seem pointless to a child. The environments on which the parents raise their child play a role on the child's personality. What ways are best to set a child up for success? This paper is to evaluate how important a parent’s role is in a child's life and whether or not parents make or break a child for his or her future. The starting point that molds a child’s personality is in the house hold.
Home is a place that consists of physical places, social practices and mental meanings (Lahelma & Gordon, 2003). Social aggression in young children can come about through their parents. In order to avoid social aggression in a child, it is important and for parents to avoid setting bad examples themselves. This is a social practice that can be learned in the household very easily by a child due to consistency. Social aggression is trying to make others dislike another child, becoming friends with another child for revenge, or "spreading rumors about another child (Brendgen, 2006). A physical aspect to home is the location. Parents control where their child lives, therefore influence their child’s choice of peers. The local neighborhoods, parks, school, etc all play a vital physical aspect to home, which will be talked about later. Everyone wants the best for their child, and choosing the location where they live is a huge decision. A child brings his or her own personal beliefs and mental meanings everywhere they go. Gregory stated in his journal article “Playful Talk: The Interspace Between Home and School Discourse” the following:
Five-year old Tajul . . . is looking at a simple book about a hungry giant with his teacher. They reach a page showing the giant with a French baguette (a long stick loath):
Teacher: (Reading from 'The Hungry Giant') '. . . and got the giant some bread.'
Tajul: (points to bread) this not bread. These are fingers.
Teacher: It’s supposed to be bread, actually. Some bread looks like that. It’s not supposed to be fingers. It’s supposed to be bread.
Tajul: It's not bread
Teacher: well, if you go into Tescos super market, you can find some long thin bread like that. What does your bread look like? Does your bread look different than that?
Tajul: No, mine is square
Teacher: Oh, your bread is square is it? Well, some bread is long and thin and some bread is square. . . (2005, p. 225)
A child’s home is its foundation of learning. If home is a place of chaos and turmoil, then a child is likely to grow up in the same fashion. The fact that every child has to have a home, it should be a huge concern that evry child is growing up in a place that he or she lives in for about 18 years. These 18 years are after all the most important years that a child learns about life and what is important. Growing up in a home can be different for a child who is raised by foster parents.
Foster children can have a different perspective of the world. “Children in the United States increasingly suffer from the consequences of poor parental decision making and from social and governmental policies that do not adequately protect them," said Ellermann the journal entry “Influences on the Mental Health of Children Placed in Foster Care” (2007, p. s24). Ellermann also said:
A poor governmental aspect to foster children is foster children have more unique and complex healthcare needs than do other children, they face a significant challenge to meet their healthcare need . . . more than 80% of the children entering foster care have some form of educational, developmental, emotional, physical, or mental health problems (p. s25).
Poor parental decision making will sometimes lead the child to be put into foster care. All the mentioned health problems are due to the bad and abusive parenting before a child entered foster care. Also, these are some reasons why foster parents have a hard time trying to keep their child out of trouble, love them, and have them do well in school. Simmel (2007) said in the journal article “Risk and Protective Factors Contributing to the Longitudinal Psychosocial Well-Being Adopted Foster Children” that:
A set of risk factors for adopted children are severe child maltreatment and abandonment, prenatal substance exposure, multiple transitions from home to home, late adoption age, all can negatively affect adoptive placements unless families are aware of and adequately prepared for the potential challenges that may unfold (p. 237).
With the abnormalities that may come with an adopted child, foster parents may find it difficult to adhere to a child’s needs. Understanding, patience, and respect are all important characteristics for foster parents. A foster child may already have a difficult life that can very easily get worse if they do not have great foster parents to love and care for them. Foster children can have difficult times with finding the right parents, but a child having parents going through a divorce can also be difficult as well.
A divorce in the family can trouble a child. A child who has been separated from an important other in their life, like parents, can feel emotional and physical agony as a result. A child who can not see their parent after a divorce can emotionally destroy them due to their young and non-understanding hearts. "The separation may cause problems for young children such as bed-wetting, depression, and constipation" (Louise & Brinson, 2007, p. 41). "Nearly half of all babies born today will spend some time in a one-parent family, which will occur as a result of divorce or single parenthood" said Nair and Murray (2005) in their journal article “Predictors of Attachment Security in Preschool Children from Intact and Divorced Families” (p. 256). This would mean that almost half of all children have undergone some form of distress.
These children will tend to have more behavioral, social, and learning problems, both at home and in a school environment; than do children with two parented families. "When the household lacks a father present, children feel abandoned and suffer a loss of self-esteem and alienation" (Peretti & Vitorrio, 1991, p. 35). Needles to say, the data shows that children with divorced parents will show some kind of distress or hurt. Moving on from divorces and the affects it has on a child, abusive parents have a negative influence on their children.
Abusive parents make life real rough on a child. Parents abuse their child for several different reasons. One reason for abusing a child could be an intoxication of alcohol that can lead to physical abuse. A second reason for abuse could be that the parent does not know how to handle stress given from other influences in their lives. Another reason a parent may abuse their child could be from lack of suitable models in their lives. "Child abuse is an act that causes intentional harm or avoidable endangerment to a child under the age of 18" said Dombrowski and Gischlar (2003, p. 240). Rynders (2006, p. 216) said in his journal article “If You Matter to Someone, There is Always a Glimmer of Hope” that "The ideal parents are not emotionally, verbally, physically, or sexually abusive, and the choices they make are in the best interests of their children.
Children see this and thus develop their personalities and character based upon who their parents are and what their parents teach them." “Never discourage anyone . . . who continually makes progress, no matter how slow” –Plato. Abuse or maltreatment takes a child’s dignity and can have unpleasant consequences for their societal, emotional, behavioral, and academic success. The abused tend to become abusive themselves in the social environment, affecting the other children around them. Academically, the child abused does not perform at his or her best. "Physically abused preschool-aged children perceived angry faces as highly salient relative to other emotions" said Pollak, Vardi, Bechner and Curtan (2005, p. 969). The long term penalties of child abuse can be so devastating that it has been called “soul murder." Dr. Killough, also a professor at the University of Minnesota, Crookston teaching psychology, said:
Mental affects (on abused children) include depression, self-esteem lowering, and poor model acquisition. Behavior effects include acting out in rebellion, and mimicking the behaviors to others (personal communication, April 20, 2008)
There are four different types of abuse that can be real difficult for a child not to be abused at all. Where a child is raised influences his or her character greatly.
The environments on which the parents raise their child play a role on the child's personality. Contact to violence puts a child at risk for developing a variety of problems, including hopelessness, anxiety and behavior problems. This is why families wish to live in a decent neighborhood so their child is limited to the exposure of violence. "Depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, and substance abuse are key areas to explore in relation to children’s well-being in the long term" (Ward, Martin, Theron & Distiller, 2007, p. 166). Geray was asked (personal communication, April 8th, 2008) if the environment in which a child is raised affected his or her character and she replied:
We frequently refer to the "nature" "nurture" factors of child development. From my perspective, the environment is one component that affects character. I would consider the environment to be a "nurture" factor. I understand character to include the emotional, cognitive and behavioral patterns that a person learns. Yes, I believe early experiences influence how a person thinks, feels and behave.
The environment is everything that surrounds a child physically, that in turn affects them mentally and emotionally, internally and externally. A child that may live in a suburb area may not know the slang or terminology from rural areas. The environment is crucial to survival and good living for both humans and animals alike. A healthy environment in the wilderness will allow for healthy growing animals, such is the same for humans in the way that if a child is raised in a healthy environment then a child shall grow with a good understanding on how to live. The environment is also a very important factor for a child to grow up in to have success in the future, but what are the best ways to set a child up for success?
What ways are best to set a child up for success? Gerays thoughts on that question are as follows:
My experience leads me to say that the early environment greatly influences the nature of the child’s character. I also think the child moves self toward “good” character, and this development evolves throughout life. I would hope we encourage qualities that promote the well-being of the individual persons and qualities that serve the whole of society. I’d encourage emphasis on social, emotional and cognitive aspects as components of character.
As Geray had mentioned earlier, parents are programmers teaching their child something new everyday. Without experience in the world, the child will accept what their parents have to say as the truth. Geray also said:
I think good character can’t be over-emphasized. It would seem that good character would include the importance of honoring dignity. Success can mean so many things, but if success means personal and social well-being, then character would be significant.
Kalat in the book Introduction to Psychology said that there are four different types of parents; authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and indifferent or uninvolved (2005). Kalat also said the following:
Authoritative parents are parents that set high standards and impose controls, but they are also warm and responsive to the child's communications. They set limits but adjust when appropriate (2005, p. 194).
This type of parenting shows the most success in school and other activities. They support their child in attempt to accomplish their own goals. Parents also need to develop critical thinking skills to analyze the adequacy, developmental appropriateness, and applicability of parenting strategies (Connell-Carrick, 2006). “Most children with authoritative parents are self-reliant, cooperate with others, and do well in school” (Kalat, 2005, p. 194). Good parenting is not a natural component that humans have; it takes education and dedication to raise a child properly.
Critical thinking is a difficult process, even for well-prepared parents. "By age three years, children are imitating their parents and other adult role models" (Block, 2007, p. 461). Parents must not act upon the expression "do as I say not as I do," but to also be the example on how to act and become successful. Not only does a child learn from what a parent says, but also as to what they do. Outrage, anger, and physical disruption are all factors a child can pick up from a parent as well as love, understanding, peace, and concern.
Dr. Killough, a professor at the University of Minnesota, Crookston teaching psychology, was asked how the way a parent raises their child will affect the child later in life, and he replied:
“You know the tree by its fruit,” also by the way it is cultivated. Of course humans are both resilient and capable of change and development, but these again require influences from both internal and external environments. Specific examples include how they themselves become parents, treat others, and become citizens whether responsible or not (personal communication, April 21, 2008).
With a growing concern about a child's success people must first look at the household in which a child grows up, more importantly the parents rearing the child. It is important that parents take the time to educate themselves for the best interest of their child. This is especially important to young parents, such as teenagers that lack both the emotional maturity and parenting skills. Parenting classes are available for any parent who wishes to further their knowledge in the best development of children. Learning to raise a child properly is forever ongoing; especially with all the different situations that might occur with each individual child.
The fact that not all children are the same, there are many different ways to handle various situations for the best interest of a child. But this writer believes that there are three different key aspects as to what a child must be raised by: love, peace, and knowledge/wisdom. Then understanding and hard work will uproot, and finally success. This writer believes these factors are all formed into what is called the Parenting Pyramid.
The foundation of the Parenting Pyramid starts with love. Love is total and absolute care and affection for the well-being of a person; or in this case a child. There are no flaws in love and it cannot be lost. Peace, another foundational stone in the Parenting Pyramid, is the absence of chaos, hostility, or violence. This can be brought through the parents themselves by setting the example and not allowing stress to overcome them. They should not allow stress or anything to influence the way they behave in front of their child in a negative or hostile manner. Knowledge or wisdom is the final foundational stone that can only be given to a child by experience and interaction with their parents. Parents must teach their child what is important in life and how to react to certain situations; this is true wisdom. Knowledge is the facts to life. It is everything that is needed to know in order to function with society and the environment. School will help with gaining knowledge but a child can have a great head start by a parent teaching a child early. Understanding and hard work will result from these three foundational aspects to life.
Peace and love will join together and form understanding. A child may know how something in life works, but does that mean that the child will completely understand? This is where peace and love join together and help allow a child to understand things in life. Then there is love and knowledge/wisdom that will join together to form hard work. If a child loves to try to obtain knowledge or wisdom, then that will naturally lead to hard work. With understanding and hard work joining together they will form success. Success is hunted and observed by everyone. Success is the achievement of a goal or a level of status in a society. Life requires success and every effort should be brought forth to try to obtain it. This is what a parent should want for their child, with as little trouble on the way as possible
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