The family is the most important socialization institution in human society. It is the first relationship that is exposed to children. Having been brought up in Kuwait, I can attest that the role of the family in any society cannot be underrated, particularly the upbringing of children. The future associations that children form, including marriages, workplace relationships, and later interactions with their parents at later stages in life, are contingent on the way they were raised.
Numerous researchers have attested that the behavior of children is a reflection of the effectiveness of the family in the upbringing process. Negative behavior portrays a failure at some point in the execution of the family roles. Children who are disciplined exhibit ripe roles in the families they belong to. This paper examines the family issues that contribute to the behavioral problems amongst children.
Sociological researchers have revealed that the behavioral deficiencies observed in children can be attributed to the family. The interest of researchers in early childhood behavioral problems and their later impacts on future relationships is influenced by the primary role of the family in modeling and socializing children to fit well in the society. The negative behavioral issues amongst children include deviance, divorce, aggression, school dropouts, and the lack of emotional control.
It can be deduced that the emotional and behavioral problems observed in children are caused by unsuccessful fostering outcomes (Cowan & Cowan, 2010). An extensive study on nurturing children shows that there are more problems exhibited in those who come from single families than those raised by their two parents. The premise of this argument is that children who are close to the parents, especially their mothers, are likely to be more disciplined; hence, they manifest little or no behavioral problems in the future.
Sometimes foster care is associated with maltreatment, inconsiderate caregivers, lack of close support, and a feeling of work burden due to foster placement. This situation is believed to lead to failures in future relationships in marriage, school, work, and friendship, among others. Parents who were raised through foster care are highly associated with difficulties in marriages.
According to Cowan and Cowan (2010), the cases of divorce are also common in such family relationships in not only Kuwait but also other countries such as the United States.
Single Families, Divorce, and Financial Distress
Single parenthood is another cause of the behavioral problems in children. According to Cowan and Cowan (2010), single families are associated with stressful situations such as financial distress and mental health problems. This set of circumstances can have a huge impact on child-rearing practices.
Due to financial stress, single parents have been shown to be less involved in children’s welfare, including their primary care and school progress. Financial hardships, as witnessed during the previous global economic downturn, can have adverse effects on most families, especially in cases where single parents are involved. Poverty and unemployment are other factors that can have a significant influence on the mental wellbeing of individuals. Low and middle-income earners are closely associated with poverty (Coontz & Folbre, 2010).
Parents with young children who are engulfed in poverty are linked to parental depressive symptoms and poor parenting practices. Moreover, children who live with divorced or single parents portray more behavioral problems and academic difficulties in school as compared to their counterparts brought up by both parents. This situation contributes greatly to children’s behavior problems.
However, some evidence also shows that some children brought up in financially depressed families have a tendency to be resilient. Such children grow, bearing in mind that their parents had miserable lives; hence, they opt to work hard to change the situation.
Domestic violence has been empirically correlated with children’s behavioral outcomes. Families, where couples engage in multiple domestic conflicts, have a tendency to devoting little energy to childcare (Coontz & Folbre, 2010). Numerous researchers posit that this observation results from the fact that such couples see their partners as liable for the children’s behavioral progress. For instance, when the father abuses the mother, the child grows in fear that he is violent and bad.
This notion makes the children hate their father as they associate him with violence. In most cases, children have a strong attachment to one of the parents. For instance, in the event that the father battles their mother, the children have every reason to view the father as a bad person. This situation is common in families where the violence revolves around the children.
Violence can result in the separation of couples. If this situation arises, children live in fear that the father will return to cause events that are more violent. According to Coontz and Folbre (2010), domestic violence leads to psychopathology among children, especially adolescents. Boys who have been exposed to domestic violence exhibit both internalizing and externalizing problems. Furthermore, domestic violence causes depression, adjustment problems, low self-esteem, conduct disorder, and anxiety among adolescents.
Modernity and Breastfeeding
Short breastfeeding spans have been linked to low IQ development in children (Waller, 2001). Due to modernity and fashion-related attitudes, many families have deviated from executing the primary roles in child-rearing. It is a common practice for modern mothers of the twenty-first century to adopt various artificial feeding mechanisms for their children rather than breastfeeding. Medical sociologists have attested that there exists an association between breastfeeding and the health outcomes in children (Waller, 2001).
This association has a significant influence on a child’s cognitive development. In addition, breastfeeding has been closely related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children at the later life stages, among other externalizing behavioral problems. These problems stem from the weakened IQ of the children, which can be attributed to the lack of breastfeeding. Low IQ has negative effects on children’s learning in school.
Various studies carried out to investigate the effect of breastfeeding on their intelligence showed that breastfed children performed well in school. The findings also showed positive behavioral outcomes, especially a greater degree of engagement, attention, and emotional regulation. Children who were not sufficiently breastfed exhibited abnormal reflexes, signs of depression, and withdrawal. It is worth pointing out that as much as modernity prevails, the role of the family in bringing up children should not be neglected.
This essay has shown the role of the family as the primary socializing institution in society. The discussion centers on the behavioral and emotional problems in children that are attributable to the failure of the family. The family relationship and quality of domestic associations have corresponding outcomes in the behavior of children.
Several family factors that contribute to both social and physical problems observed in children include divorce, single parenting, domestic violence, and modernity in the digital era. Observable behavioral problems in children include deviance, low cognitive development, anxiety, depression, and withdrawal. Financial distress and poverty are also societal problems that contribute to the behavioral deficiencies in children.
Coontz, S., & Folbre, N. (2010). Briefing paper: Marriage, poverty, and public policy. Families as They Really Are (pp. 15-19). New York, NY: WW Norton.
Cowan, P., & Cowan, C. (2010). When Is a Relationship between Facts a Causal One? Families as They Really Are (pp. 15-19). New York, NY: WW Norton.
Waller, M. (2001). Resilience in Ecosystemic Context: Evolution of the Concept. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79(3), 290.