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1.7: Developmental Influences- Engaging Families

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    Learning Objectives

    • Explain how family styles influence growth and development. (NAEYC Standard 1b, 6b; MA Core Competency 1.A.2 @ Initial, 3. A. 2 Advanced. & 8.D.12@Initial )
    • Compare how development is impacted by the family and community socioeconomics, values, and traditions. (NAEYC Standard 2a; MA Core Competency 3.A.1 @ Initial & 8.E.17 @ Initial )


    Do you remember learning about parenting styles in your Child Development course? The chart below may assist you in recalling the information. The first part of the chapter will look at how parenting styles impact an infant and toddler’s development.

    Parenting Styles

    [1]). For example, a families working conditions will impact child development. Professional families typically have more complex work schedules and tasks while families employed in factories or stores have more fixed schedules and tasks. Talib, Mohamad, and Mamat (2011) suggest that the type of parental work can result in values that get passed down and enforced to their children. Professional workers often value self-direction: freedom, individuality, creativity, where members of the working class may value conformity: orderliness, neatness, and obedience.

    Effects of Parenting Styles on Children

    What is a typical family?

    Time magazine article. “The big question is: What is replacing it? Now a new study suggests that nothing is — or rather, that a whole grab bag of family arrangements are. More Americans are in families in which both parents work outside the home than in any other sort, but even so, that’s still only about a third.”

    The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change. Cohen identifies the three biggest changes in family life in the past 50 years are the:

    1. Decline of marriage (in 2010, 45% of households were headed by a married couple, whereas in 1960 it was close to 66%) increasing people living alone and in unrelated people living together
    2. Rise of the number of women in the paid workforce
    3. Multitude of family structures such as: blended, remarried and co-habiting families. Families headed by single moms‚ whether divorced, widowed or never married, are now almost as numerous as families that have a stay-at-home mom and a breadwinner dad — about 22% and 23%, respectively.

    Source:There is No Longer Any Such Thing as a Typical Family,” by Belinda Luscombe, Time, September 3, 2014.

    Family Engagement

    [2]; Weiss[3], Caspe, & Lopez, 2006). As a means to supporting family engagement and children’s learning, it is crucial that programs implement strategies for developing partnerships with families (Henderson & Mapp, 2002[4]). The first reading Family Involvement Makes a Difference: Family Involvement in Early Childhood Education. from the Harvard Family Research Project reports on the research and provides many research based strategies for you to consider in your work with children and families.

    Division for Early Childhood. The position statement defines responsive behavior. The National Association for the Education of Young Children NAEYC created a comprehensive definition of family engagement that features six factors:

    1. Families should act as advocates for their children and early childhood education program by actively taking part in decision making opportunities.
    2. Consistent, two-way communication is facilitated through multiple forms and is responsive to the linguistic preference of the family.
    3. Families and early childhood education programs collaborate and exchange knowledge.
    4. Early childhood education programs and families place an emphasis on sustaining learning activities at home and in the community.
    5. Programs and families collaborate in establishing goals for children both at home and at school.
    6. Early childhood education programs create an ongoing and comprehensive system for promoting family engagement.

    Gonzalez-Mena[5] illustrates responsive family engagement with several examples. How will you suspend judgment long enough to try to understand a different perspective that families may have? How will you respond if the differences are harmful to children? How far can childrearing practices be respected while at the same time ensuring children’s rights are protected?

    Gillespie[6] describes specific techniques to foster positive family engagement. Why should you develop positive relationships? What techniques of family engagement would you like to develop?

    Read and Participate

    Reading Reflection Form



    Additional Online Resource(s) to Share


    1. Talib, J., Mohamad, Z., & Mamat, M. (2011, May). Effects of Parenting Style on Children Development. World Journal of Social Sciences, 1(2), 14-35.
    2. Henrich, C. & Gadaire, D. (2008). Head Start and parental involvement. Infants and Young Children, Vol. 21 (1), pp. 56-69.
    3. Weiss, H. B., Caspe, M., & Lopez, M. E. (2006). Family involvement in early childhood education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.
    4. Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.
    5. Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). Cultural responsiveness and routines: When center and home don't match. Exchange (19460406), (194), 42-44.
    6. Gillespie, L. G. (2006, September). Cultivating Good Relationships with Families Can Make Hard Times Easier! Young Children, 53-55

    This page titled 1.7: Developmental Influences- Engaging Families is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Susan Eliason via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.