This essay investigates the literature contained in “Ecological Systems Theory” by Urie Bronfebrenner. It elucidates the complex idea of behavioral genetics in parenting and parent-adolescent relations. In addition, it outlines the range of transformations that occur in families during adolescence and their eventual impacts on the general health of the children. According to the literature available, this theory has had a tremendous impact on the academic pursuit of the marginalized sections of the society. As such, policy makers should seriously consider using it as a guideline for future policy reviews (Brofenbrenner, 1979).
Brofenbrenner maintains that development is solely influenced by environmental systems. These are basically composed of micro-system, meso-system, exo-system, macro-system, and chrono-system. For instance, micro-systems encompass the immediate environment that one lives in. These may range from the family settings, peer groups to schools, depending on where the child feels most comfortable.
According to this aspect of the development theory, individuals undergoing development are not merely observers in their social environments, but essentially active participants who help “shape up” the very social settings. Understandably, children go to school to obtain academic knowledge. However, it never stops at that point, as the school also teaches the kids to be responsible persons. Besides, the school setting provides a perfect avenue for the kids to learn how to interact with one another, especially persons of the opposite sex. This greatly influences their later lives with regards to self-esteem and social acceptance (Brofenbrenner, 1979). The theory also recognizes meso-systems as a major component in the ecological model of development. This aspect of the theory basically focuses on the interrelations between different microsystems or social contexts. According to Brofennbrenner, the experiences at one social setup have a significant bearing on other aspects of human development. For instance, a child who is often mocked at in school due to his or her poor performance may develop a low self-esteem that would restrain them from participating in other social events, either at home or at church. Concomitantly, a child who faces abuse at home from his or her guardians is likely to feel rejected in any other social setup, even if the people around him do so unintentionally. As such, it is evident that the behaviors that are induced in kids by their surroundings are quite profound to the extent that they can completely change their entire life patterns (Arch,Caldwell, & Spurr, 2006).
In conclusion, the environment in which children are brought up can either make them great or small depending on its nature. In light of this, it would be prudent to bring up kids in an authoritative and indulgent environment so that they attain a great sense of responsibility rather than authoritative and negligent environment that will destroy them.
Summary McGue and Steinberg
The nature of parent-adolescent relations is greatly defined by the exosystem. The exosystem aspect of the development theory is mainly concerned with interrelations between individuals and the social settings in which they do not play an active role relative to their immediate environments.
A typical example in this aspect of the theory is a situation where events at work define people’s relations back at home. As such, the members of the family who have nothing to do with the problems of the office life end up feeling as outlets to someone else’s anger. Although the negative influences often carry through the day, there are some positive aspects that cause ripples in other social settings. For instance, a mother who has received a promotion at work might decide to take her kids for a holiday or change their lifestyle to conform to her new social status. Such a move could cause conflict with the husband, especially if the kids’ lives might be fundamentally changed as a result. This clearly shows that one does not necessarily have to be in an environment for him or her to conform to it kids (Arch, Caldwell, & Spurr, 2006).
Macrosystems deal with cultural practices of individuals and how they define their personalities. According to Brofenbrenner, a people’s culture encompasses a range of practices that form a people’s way of life. As such, the cultural contexts that would significantly shape up people’s personality include ethnic identity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. For instance, a woman living near a slum would appreciate the need to improve sanitation in the regions even if her own kids are not affected. In fact, it is a proven fact that the members of the civil society groups that serve poverty-stricken areas are not necessarily poor. However, their encounter with such an environment makes poverty part of their culture to the extent that they willingly engage with the affected populations. Conversely, a child raised in the slums would most probably stay in the slums long after they are able to afford a better residence. Although this may not always be true, there is a general feeling that life in the slums has become a culture that is hard to break away from. In fact, this is the reason most parents who want a better life for their kids would prefer to raise them away from the slums lest they get a “slum addiction” kids (Arch, Caldwell, & Spurr, 2006).
In conclusion, parents should be keen on what aspects of their situations at the office get home as these could have great impacts of their children. Conversely, teens and adults should be keen to only associate with socially accepted culture. This would save them the probability of getting absorbed thereby making deviant.
Summary of Lambon
The pattern of adjustment of events within an environment or the transitions that one’s life undergoes in the course of time defines their mental and social development. Ideally, this is how human character changes with time thereby leading them to become completely new personalities kids (Arch, Caldwell, & Spurr, 2006).
According to sociologists, the effect of parental death does not affect kids significantly until they get to their teens if they have a caring guardian. This is due to the fact that it takes them long to become conscious of themselves and what being an orphan means to their lives. In fact, they only get to realize the gap left by their parents when their colleagues begin to identify themselves with their parents. When such kids come face to face with the reality that they have no parents to boast of unlike their friends, they get consumed with the feeling of loneliness. On the other hand, women have generally become more aggressive with time in the job market. This is due to the changing times in the family setup, where many husbands are getting jobless with the increasing job insecurity. As such, women develop the nagging feeling that they need to diversify the family’s source of income by seeking employment or starting a business. And so, they get into a field already dominated by men with a profound determination to succeed. Although success is not always guaranteed, the fact that chronological changes in their social setups significantly alter their way of life supports Brofenbrenner’s idea of chrono-systems (Arch, Caldwell, & Spurr, 2006).
It is generally true that parent-child relations radically shift when the kids reach adolescence. A lot of conflicts arise due to the fact that kids feel that they have become old enough to chart their own course, while their parents fell that they could mess up themselves miserably if not regulated. As such, a bitter conflict ensues between the two parties. In fact, it takes a lot of patience and maturity for the parent to stay in control. According to Brofenbrenner, such events could be turning in the lives of the kids. For instance, he emphasizes that if parents treat their teenage kids with hostility, they could become excessively rebellious. This is particularly true with respect to the behavior of street children, like the Latino street gangs. These kids could not possibly have been born hostile and problematic. However, the environment in which they are brought up teaches them to behave in that manner. For instance, when small-scale traders find them around their stalls, they chase them away instead of asking them to leave. This leads the kids to believe that violence is the only way to get what one wants and thus they develop the violent character that is characteristic of street kids (Arch, Caldwell, & Spurr, 2006).
In light of these facts, it is very important that parents also learn to undergo a similar transformation to what their children go through so as to maintain a mutual understanding. In most cases, parents opt to seek professional advice on how to relate with their kids in the most beneficial way. This is particularly significant considering that the primary conflict that kids experience is often hidden deep in their hearts. It is always a raging confusion as they try to find a meaning for their lives, while at the same time pondering over what the society will think of them. The confusion could be so intense that they may begin to see their parents or other relatives as standing in the way of their attempts to pursue a wholesome life. That is why parents must act professionally with profound care to avoid making the condition of the kids worse. According to Brofenbrenner, this principle should not only be taught to young parents, but also form a fundamental policy in the various social settings where adults deal directly with teenage kids. For instance, school teachers should learn to be patient with their adolescent students so that they grow into responsible persons (Arch, Caldwell, & Spurr, 2006).
In conclusion, the principle of necessity also applies in human development. This explains why street kids grow violent as they need to protect themselves from a hostile society. As such, parents should be concerned about the transitions their kids go through especially with regards to the academic system. For instance, they should only choose colleges that are known for hard work and discipline if they wish their kids to maintain a good characters even after college.
The ecological model of development perfectly explains how interactions between people and their immediate environments define their personality. Although these behavioral changes are prominent in children who are still struggling with defining their self-identity, older people are also sometimes forced to adjust their behavior due to new occurrences within the social setup in which they live. For instance, parents should respond appropriately to the attitude change in adolescents from absolute obedience to violent rebellion. This would be the only way to ensure that their mental and physical health is not significantly interrupted to the extent of affecting their academic lives (Brofenbrenner, 1979).