During the lifespan, an individual passes through several stages of his/her development characterized by different processes. These phases of the evolution are critical for the formation of a person and his/her becoming a personality with all qualities needed for the efficient functioning within the contemporary society. The period of childhood is one of these stages.
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It plays a critical role in the evolution of an individual as he/she acquires fundamental concepts needed to interact with other members of the community, learns how to cognize the world, forms his/her set of values, perspectives on particular notions, and ways to respond to multiple events.
At the same time, children immaturity and the lack of knowledge about the environment results in their vulnerability to multiple impacts both from family members and from other people.
That is why the investigation of all factors that might have diverse effects on children is critical for the comprehension of the central peculiarities of this stage and reduction of risk factors. Thus, the understanding of childhood basic features and factors shaping peoples worldviews is critical for childhood studies, psychologists, and sociologists.
The given thesis preconditions the choice of particular methods and research questions. In the course of the investigation, we managed to determine a critical role the family plays in the formation of children mentalities, and that it impacts their readiness to engage in sound relations and create families.
The paper also sets the ground for the future research that will be focused on the further investigation of the concept of childhood and how it is affected by the family.
The given project is focused on the critical analysis of the concept and the in-depth investigation of factors and contexts that arise in families and affect children at different stages of their development, In this regard, the following research question is formulated:
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Do culture, religion, and behavioral patterns peculiar to a certain household impact the formation of a childs mentality, the emergence of particular habits and attitudes towards family in the context of gradual decrease of family institutions significance?
The use of this research question preconditions the introduction of the following objectives:
- understand the concepts of children and childhood from socio-cultural, and psychological perspectives t
- identify contextual factors that shape childhood experience concerning the family environment
The given research question and objectives will contribute to the comprehensive investigation of the concept of childhood and improved understanding what role the institution of the family plays in the formation of habits and attitudes to relations and interactions with other people. Moreover, the suggested aspects will help to improve knowledge regarding childhood and contextual factors that might impact it.
The formulated objectives also impact research process and methods used to delve into the issue and analyze all critical elements.
First of all, the literature review should be performed. It is a fundamental aspect of the given project as it creates the theoretical background related to the concept of childhood and reveals factors that might shape childrens mentalities.
At the same time, the review helps to outline the basic characteristics of the family and the ways it might impact the development and formation of children in multiple contexts.
Moreover, the study presupposes the analysis of the concept of childhood from psychological and sociological perspectives to determine how diverse factors emerging within a family such as behavioral patterns, culture, and religion might impact the formation of childrens mentality and their attitudes to the family.
Finally, the way the family environment impacts individuals will be investigated via the interview with children to determine their attitudes towards relations between partners and their perspective on this very issue.
The modern research literature considers childhood one of the central concepts impacting the formation of individuals and their further lives. It is defined as a temporal notion that is used to describe a particular period in the life after infancy and before adulthood (Wells, 2015).
The given broad issue includes numerous processes that might impact individuals during their development and acquisition of skills and competencies needed to become a sound personality.
The significance of the given concept is also evidenced by Arndt, Gibbons, and Fitzsimons (2015) who state that the successes and failures during this project impact individuals and contribute to the emergence of particular behavioral patterns that will determine the way people will live their lives.
At the same time, the modern approach to this issue presupposes the in-depth evaluation of all factors that might impact children with the primary aim to eliminate any potential risks and threats to their well-being.
For this reason, Brophy (2016) states that the being a complex and abstract construction, the idea of childhood remains one of the central factors responsible for the future success. For this reason, its investigation acquires the top priority.
The concept of childhood is closely related to the social institution of the family. Zartler (2014) states that the quality of the home environment is the central factor determining the evolution of a child and impacting his/her future life.
Every family presupposes the existence of specific behavioral patterns and peculiarities of culture peculiar only to this very household (Zartler, 2014). For this reason, every child acquires a set of values and principles cultivated in the environment where he/she grows.
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This process is critical for the improved understanding of the concept of childhood as preconditions the emergence of all responses and reactions to particular stressors in non-adults (Zartler, 2014).
Moreover, Dreby and Adkins (2011) assume that the concept of the family as a system with its unique features serves as the background for the investigation of childhood that becomes dependent from the first one and evolves regarding these very unique features.
From the psychological perspective, these two notions are closely interconnected, and the emergence of various conflicts might promote the development of traumas deteriorating the quality of peoples lives (Nadan & Ganz, 2018). For this reason, investigation of childhood in the context of family acquires the top priority.
Finally, from the sociological perspective, the family is a fundamental element of the society as it contributes to its development. However, according to numerous research works, the gradual decline of this institution might be observed (Dreby & Adkins, 2011).
The traditional family with strong bonds between its members and particular value system becomes an anachronism which now succumbs to the pressure of so-called free relationships or open marriage (Dreby & Adkins, 2011).
To a greater degree, it can be explained by the reconsideration of value system and the emergence of new perspectives on the nature of relations. Thus, it also results from the deterioration of the atmosphere within a family or the use of inappropriate methods to educate children about their importance of the given institution.
Nevertheless, Dreby and Adkins (2011) emphasize the fact that the culture, religion, and behavioral patterns peculiar to a certain family significantly impact the formation of a child and acquisition of diverse behavioral patterns that will be used in future in different spheres, including relations with other individuals.
For this reason, the investigation of these effects might help to understand the mechanisms of the formation of certain habits and responses to different stressors.
Factors Shaping Childrens Behavior
In the research, we are focused on the investigation of the ways
culture, religion, and behavioral patterns impact childhood and result in the emergence of particular habits and attitudes As it comes from the literature review, these two concepts (family and childhood) are interconnected as since the first stages of their existence, children live in the family environment and form their skills and attitudes under the impact of traditions and perspectives peculiar to this very unit (Zartler, 2014; Nadan & Ganz, 2018).
For this reason, determination of how above-mentioned factors might shape children and their analysis acquires the top priority for the research. It might help to improve the overall understanding of the concept of childhood and how it alters under the impact of diverse factors.
Moreover, the existing global context presupposes the essential role of children in the evolution of the society because of their ability to impact it in future (Zartler, 2014). For this reason, their attitudes toward particular aspects are central from sociological and psychological perspectives.
Nevertheless, culture has always been one of the central factors impacting peoples mentalities, attitudes, and perspectives on particular issues. Concerning the concepts of childhood and family, it plays a central role in the formation of mentalities and responses.
The fact is that every family has its own environment that is formed by multiple factors, including the investigated one. By the research, representatives of different cultures exert various effects on children cultivating particular responses and promoting their functioning in certain ways (Arndt et al., 2015).
At the same time, childrens personality remains flexible, and it is ready for the acquisition of new information related to different spheres. For this reason, in the majority of cases, the culture that is accepted within the family directly affects children and make them behave in certain ways.
It depends on the peculiarities of the religion and what ideas are cultivated (Nadan & Ganz, 2018). For instance, the attitude to the institution of family and relations with partners are the meaningful parts of the culture of the household. Living in the environment that promotes particular perspectives on these issues, a child will elaborate his/her own vision formed under the impact of dominant culture.
The second significant aspect that might impact the formation of childrens personality and behavioral patterns is the religion. It remains one of the most powerful forces in the world that shape peoples mentalities and determining the ways they live. The fact is that different families have their unique beliefs that shape relations between their members and directly affect their actions (Arndt et al., 2015).
It results in the emergence of drastic differences in the ways people behave or cognize the surrounding reality. However, all the mechanisms of these responses generation are formed in childhood when a child watches his/her parents interact with different objects and people (Wells, 2015).
In this context, religion becomes one of the central factors that contribute to the appearance of particular habits and behavioral patterns. Additionally, it is closely connected with the social institution of family as the majority of existing religions cultivate this idea and outline the necessity of its creation (Arndt et al., 2015).
In this regard, investigating the surrounding world through the prism of religion and his/her parents attitudes to it, a child elaborates his/her own perspectives on how an individual should act in different situations. For this reason, the concept of childhood becomes closely connected with religion cultivated in families.
Finally, behavioral patterns peculiar to a particular family should be considered another important element that shapes the concept of childhood and results in the emergence of specific habits and attitudes in children.
For instance, by the statistics, children whose parents had stable relations, demonstrate respectful attitudes to each other, and behave in socially accepted ways, have more chances to engage in stable relations and create new families (Arndt et al., 2015).
On the contrary, individuals who grow in problematic households with violent behaviors will probably suffer from similar problems in their future relations (Arndt et al., 2015).
Thus, the scope of behavioral patterns encompasses not only the intercourse between parents; however, their behavior in different situations and including communication and cooperation with other individuals might also be included. It is also related to the way parents interact with their children and how they impact the formation of their skills and behaviors.
In such a way, the concept of childhood becomes dependant on relations between parents and behavioral patterns that shape childrens mentalities (Wells, 2015). The immatureness of their minds results in their ability to absorb all information acquired from their close people. That is why they become vulnerable to inappropriate behaviors.
Such factors as culture, religion, and behavior patterns within a family impact children mentalities and the emergence of particular behaviors. These issues might precondition the appearance of different responses both positive and negative one.
For this reason, the creation of the appropriate family environment cultivating the needed system of values and promoting behavioral patterns accepted by the society becomes the central task of parents to guarantee happy childhood and contribute to the beneficial development of a child.
Applying this information to the context of the family as the social institution, the dependence between the concept of childhood and this one can be noticed. Childrens attitudes towards families to a greater degree depend on the environment in which they grow and on the ways their parents interact with each other within families (Wells, 2015).
For this reason, the gradual decline of this institutions importance can be explained by the fact that less attention is given to the cultivation of particular value systems by parents and the global tendency towards the alteration of some elements of the concept of childhood that include altered attitudes to family and stereotypical relations between men and women.
The given assumption can be proven by the results of the face-to-face interview with ten children representing families with different cultures, religions, and behavioral patterns. All ten participants were asked the following questions.
- What do you think about the family?
- Should all people have the family?
- What is the most important thing in the family?
- Do parents discuss your family with you?
Results of the given interview demonstrate the existence of a particular tendency towards the decline of the importance of this social institution. Thus, all respondents have a positive attitude towards families as it provides them with protection and things they need to evolve. However, only 6 of 10 interviewed children are sure that all individuals should create their own families.
The majority of respondents do not know what the reason for this social institution is and have problems with the identification of the most important aspects of this social institution. It can be explained by the fact that in 8 cases of 10 parents do not talk with children about their relations and the role families play in the society and its evolution.
Altogether, the paper reveals the role culture, religion, and behavioral patterns of the family play in the formation of childrens mentality and their habits. The concepts of family and childhood are closely connected with each other, which means that alteration of one of the elements of this system will obviously affect another one.
For this reason, the adherence to particular religions or cultures exerts multiple effects on children who live in the family environment. The literature review conducted for the research also proves this idea by admitting the significant role the given social institution plays in the formation of childhood and describing how the set of aspects mentioned above might precondition the emergence of particular responses or attitudes.
At the same time, the appearance of problems in families might have a pernicious impact on children and facilitate the formation of inappropriate behavioral patterns or habits. In this regard, consideration of the given aspect should acquire the top priority while investigating the concept of childhood and factors that shape it.
Arndt, S., Gibbons, A., & Fitzsimons, P. (2015). Thriving and surviving? The incredible problem of constructions of normality and otherness in early childhood settings. Global Studies of Childhood, 5(3), 279-290. doi:10.1177/2043610615597144
Brophy, R. (2016). Beautiful monsters, strange children and the problem of making distinctions. Global Studies of Childhood, 6(2), 177-189. doi:10.1177/2043610616647628
Dreby, J., & Adkins, T. (2011). The strength of family ties: How US migration shapes children’s ideas of family. Childhood, 19(2), 169-187. doi:10.1177/0907568211411206
Nadan, Y., & Ganz, Z. (2018). Perspectives of ultra-Orthodox children in Israel on risk and protection: The intersection of culture, religion, spirituality, and socio-political context. Childhood. doi:10.1177/0907568218774096
Wells, K. (2015). Childhood in a global perspective. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Zartler, U. (2014). Children’s imagined future families: Relations between future constructions and present family forms in Austria. Childhood, 22(4), 520-535. doi:10.1177/0907568214555889