BOFAI

CHILDREN: EFFECTS OF FAMILY ORIGIN, FAMILY STRUCTURE, AND FAMILY PROCESSES ON OPPORTUNITY IN NIGERIA

FAMILY

Family, as defined by the Cambridge advanced learner’s dictionary (3rd Edition), is a group of people who are related to each other such as a mother, a father and their children. The family also means a group of people living in one household because of blood relations, marriage or other bonds, living together in a house headed by a family head and eating in a pot.

They interact with each other, have their own roles and create and maintain a culture. The role of the family as the main educator in the family is claimed to work together to educate their children. The main role of the family in educating children is a foundation for moral education and religious life. The nature of children is largely derived from both parents and from other family members. Family environment is the first educational environment because in the family every individual or a child first gets education and guidance.

In providing education families should pay attention to the development of children. The development of the child is a change in the child where the infinite development of the growing sense of growth, but in it also contains a series of changes that take place continuously and are fixed from the physical and spiritual functions of the individual to the stage of maturity through growth, maturation and learning.

There are several periods of development that must be achieved by the child. Therefore the family has a very important influence in the period of child development in order for the child to have a basic knowledge of the ethics and norms that prevail in the community against him.

FAMILY ORIGIN

Family origin, otherwise known as ‘family of origin’, refers to the family we were born or adopted into. It’s the people who raise us and who we spend most of our childhood with.

The importance of an individual’s family of origin is enormous. Since parenting shapes a child’s core beliefs about himself or herself, our family’s beliefs about what it means to be human and the purpose of life will have a tremendous influence on what we learn and how we develop. These beliefs will, in turn, inform every decision and choice you make and every relationship you have. Family dynamics significantly impact health in both positive and negative ways. Having a close-knit and supportive family provides emotional support, economic well-being, and increases overall health as well as growth and development of a child. However, the opposite is also true if the family is not supportive to the child.

The beliefs, values and rules of a family are passed down from one generation to the next through living life together daily, and this is how an unhealthy or healthy family of origin is perpetuated. Family origin involves variables such as parental education; better educated parents are most likely to affect the success level of a child to an arguable extent as they would be concerned to the quality of education their child is exposed to. Educated parents enhance their children’s development and human capital by drawing on their own advanced language skills in communicating with their children. Highly educated parents can also use their social capital to promote their children’s development. Well-educated individuals socialize children to expect that they too will attain high levels of academic success. It can also transmit cultural capital by teaching children the specific behaviours, patterns of speech, and cultural references that are valued by the educational and professional elite which affect the children positively and give them an edge as against children with illiterate or poorly educated parents.

Income is also a key factor in family origin, as low income and financial instability alone can adversely affect children’s behaviour, emotional stability, and educational outcomes as well as limit their opportunities in life if not properly managed.

Family origin further entails children genetic makeup (behaviour) as sociologists have argued that the child, being a recipient of genes from their parents, tends to carry semblance with them, which sometimes is evident in their cognitive achievement as they grow up, i.e. genetic makeup affects the child either positively or negatively.

FAMILY ORIGIN

Family origin, otherwise known as ‘family of origin’, refers to the family we were born or adopted into. It’s the people who raise us and who we spend most of our childhood with.

The importance of an individual’s family of origin is enormous. Since parenting shapes a child’s core beliefs about himself or herself, our family’s beliefs about what it means to be human and the purpose of life will have a tremendous influence on what we learn and how we develop. These beliefs will, in turn, inform every decision and choice you make and every relationship you have. Family dynamics significantly impact health in both positive and negative ways. Having a close-knit and supportive family provides emotional support, economic well-being, and increases overall health as well as growth and development of a child. However, the opposite is also true if the family is not supportive to the child.

The beliefs, values and rules of a family are passed down from one generation to the next through living life together daily, and this is how an unhealthy or healthy family of origin is perpetuated. Family origin involves variables such as parental education; better educated parents are most likely to affect the success level of a child to an arguable extent as they would be concerned to the quality of education their child is exposed to. Educated parents enhance their children’s development and human capital by drawing on their own advanced language skills in communicating with their children. Highly educated parents can also use their social capital to promote their children’s development. Well-educated individuals socialize children to expect that they too will attain high levels of academic success. It can also transmit cultural capital by teaching children the specific behaviours, patterns of speech, and cultural references that are valued by the educational and professional elite which affect the children positively and give them an edge as against children with illiterate or poorly educated parents.

Income is also a key factor in family origin, as low income and financial instability alone can adversely affect children’s behaviour, emotional stability, and educational outcomes as well as limit their opportunities in life if not properly managed.

Family origin further entails children genetic makeup (behaviour) as sociologists have argued that the child, being a recipient of genes from their parents, tends to carry semblance with them, which sometimes is evident in their cognitive achievement as they grow up, i.e. genetic makeup affects the child either positively or negatively.

FAMILY STRUCTURE

Family structure entails parental status of the child i.e. whether or not both of his or her biological or adoptive parents are still together married or divorced.

Family structures have become more diverse in recent years, and living arrangements have grown increasingly complex. In particular, the two-parent family is vanishing among the poor as they tend to divorce or adopt the single parenting method.

Family structure reflects relationships at the juncture of biological relatedness, marital and partnership status, and living arrangements. Family structures shape family relationships beyond those between parents and parents and their children. The positive roles of other family members, such as grandmothers and uncles cannot be overemphasized as studies have shown that the presence of grand-parents in single-mother families has positive effects on children’s outcomes. Siblings can support each other during a period of parental divorce.

Key definitions that are used in discussions of family structure include the following as proscribed by the US Census Bureau 2013.

Household: one or more people living in a housing unit; a householder is one of the people who owns or rents the residence.

Family household: at least two members related by birth, marriage, or adoption, one of whom is the householder; maintained by married couples or by a man or woman living with other relatives – children may or may not be present.

Nuclear family: a family in which a child lives with two married biological parents and with only full siblings, if siblings are present.

Cohabiting families: those in which the child’s parent is living with at least one opposite‐sex, nonrelated adult. This additional adult may or may not be the biological parent of the child.

Same‐sex cohabiting/married families: those in which the child’s parent is living with at least one same‐sex, nonrelated adult. The additional adult may or may not be the biological parent of the child.

Stepfamilies and blended families (terms used interchangeably): formed when remarriages occur or when children living in a household share one or no parents. The presence of a stepparent, stepsibling, or half‐sibling designates a family as blended.

Over the years it is arguable that dual-parent families in general have many other attributes that affect their children’s educational attainment, mental health, labour market performance, and family formation to mention but few. There’s a significant negative effect of a father’s absence on children’s educational attainment and social and emotional development, leading to increases in antisocial behaviour. These effects are largest for boys and vice versa on the girl child if it has to do with the absence of the mother such as in the case of adolescent sexual activity. Hence, it is pertinent to note that settled home has a long-lasting positive effect on the level of productivity and success of the children and the society at large at the receiving end.

Family structure has been examined repeatedly with respect to adolescent sexual activity. For example, adolescent girls are more likely to have sexual intercourse when they come from single families as compared to intact families. Also adolescents from two parent families are less likely to have had sex than adolescents from other family forms.

FAMILY PROCESS

Family process refers to verity of family functions to help the family as a system to adjust with new situations and needs. Family content refers to family possession and family social context defines situational characters and social values and beliefs those hold a family.

Studies show that, in general, when adolescents do not have good relationships with their parents they tend to be more rebellious and to experience more conflict with parents, as well as to engage in more delinquent activities. Relatedly, parental support and closeness, communication, and monitoring all have important positive outcomes for adolescents Family processes, however, are influenced by family structure.

According to the family process paradigm (Cavanagh, 2008) changes in family status can change family roles and family functioning. The process of family dissolution including transitional period following it can often be chaotic and stressful for parents and their children and this might disturb parenting.

Time is also a necessary condition and resource for parenting. According to parental resource theory, parents provide their children with two key resources: money and time. On the one hand, parents use money to supply their children with the necessary living conditions (food, clothing, shelter, etc). On the other hand, time offers parents the opportunity to demonstrate support and control to their children. Parental separation or divorce is associated with a decline in both parental resources find that single mothers spend 10-16 % less time with their children compared to mothers of intact families, but this difference is primarily due to differences in education and in household income. Several studies find that the frequency of contact with fathers and grandparents is lower when parents are divorced, Joint custody, good inter-parental relations and good early child-father relations led to substantially weaker negative effects on contact with fathers for mothers are less clear with some studies showing no associations and others finding worse relationships between mothers and sons only.

Family processes offer opportunities to overcome challenges that threaten positive development, including emerging mental health issues and struggles with behavioural regulation.

 

CONCLUSION

Conclusively, it cannot be overemphasized that the family plays a very vital role on children. A well-organized and stable family plays largely a positive role to the child through financial support, behavioural shaping, child development, mental issues, career choice, educational achievement, genetic makeup, emotional stability, morals, values, ethics as well as limitless opportunities.

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