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Family Development Theories

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Educators should understand family development theories because they emphasize that family members have interlocking lives and developmental trajectories that are influenced by one another’s differentially changing worlds. The home setting significantly affects what goes on in school; as a result, educators are able to understand family systems as a key aspect in education. To serve the children well, educators have to work with families and to be effective in this, the educators must understand families who are diverse in ways, such as religion beliefs, culture, sexual orientation, work, economic status and composition. According to Kail and Cavanaugh (2008), family environment has an effect on siblings in a different way because of non-shared environmental influence and parents provide a unique environment for every child. Understanding family development theories can thus help educators to understand why children from a certain family conduct themselves in the manner they act in a particular situation. From the family, children learn skills, which help them to adapt in more formal as well as larger contexts such as school. Understanding families open up opportunities for the educator to serve the families and children better.

Individual family ties can influence school performance positively or negatively. What families do in the home environment is significantly more important to student outcomes than what they do in the school setting (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008). In the presence of good family ties, students demonstrate improvement in attitudes, social skills, behavior, self-concept, test scores, grades; better study habits as well as homework completion rates; more engagement in classroom activities as well as a higher attendance rate and lesser rate of discipline problems and suspension rates. On the other hand, bad family ties negatively influence school performance. Families show certain characteristics in different ways. Examining the characteristics can help educators to engage the families in ways that promote optimum child development.

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