Children can be encouraged and assisted by adults to make an active contribution to family life whatever their age. Do you think this statement is true? Children can be encouraged or assisted to contribute to family life, but contributions can be varied and sometimes are not realized by parents or carers because they are not seen as active contributions but are equally important. Sometimes children may need encouragement or assistance to make contributions to family life, learning through association how important contributing to family life is, however many children contribute willingly without assistance or encouragement.
Although Babies have physical limitations they can contribute emotionally to a family providing happiness and bringing a family together. Although this may not be seen as an active contribution as in the essay statement, emotional happiness is very important. In the Understanding Children video band 1 mothers are shown interacting with their babies. Some of the babies are very young however they show a range of emotions and responses.
Encouraged by their mothers the babies imitate expressions and initiate conversations.
It is clear that not only the babies enjoyed the interaction but the mothers also enjoyed happiness. Flynn and Rai (2003 p. 17) describe babies stating ‘they can express a wide range of emotions, communicate with adults in quite sophisticated ways and play a full part in family life’ Family members may respond to and encourage babies differently. Flynn and Rai (2003 p. 22 & 23) show a families reactions to a new baby. Each family member observes the babies emotions and abilities, interpreting, making assumptions and responding to the baby differently.
The family joy in watching and interacting with the baby. Simple interactions help each family member bond with the baby, incorporate the baby into family life and encourage the babies physically and social development. Young children can be encouraged and assisted to make contributions in family life by adults in many ways although they may need help in understanding.
Flynn and Rai (2003 p. 67-68) describe including information (adapted from:NSPCC, 2002, encouraging better behavior (online) http://www. nspcc. org.uk/html /Home/ Needadvice /encouraging betterbehaviour. htm) how parents can encourage children to better behave through positive parenting. They describe how children learn through association, if they are taught good examples, they in turn will express good examples, also that praising good behavior and actions means they will in turn increase. By the use of positive parenting adults can encourage children to contribute actively to family life. Young children may not understand how to contribute and why they should contribute in family life.
Flynn and Rai (2003 p.79) state Alfie Kohn’s three C’s ‘Content, Collaboration, Choice’ he suggests how adults can assist children’s and adults understanding through three steps. Understanding the Content of the instruction or request being asked, looking through the eyes of the child. Collaboration; parents and children working together, inputting their own views. Lastly through Choices; like presenting two choices to a child empowering them to make a decision on one not feeling someone is deciding for them. Young children show the essay title to be very true for them as they can be encouraged and assisted to make active contributions with adult guidance.
As children grow their ability to actively contribute to family life grows along with the understanding they learnt as young children. Many older children make active contributions to family life in many ways. Flynn and Rai (2003 pgs 135-137) describe three children living in the UK and describe the contributions these children make and the variety of their contributions. All the children made lots of different contributions within their families, including one child how helps out in her families shop, one child who helps care for a parent and one child who helps care for a younger sibling.
Along with these they also make smaller contributions which may not been realised by adults like taking answerphone messages, looking after a family pet and washing. Although small these contributions are still essential tasks that take up time which adults would have to do if children did not. Flynn and Rai (2003 pg137) state ‘children’s contributions are essential to the smooth running of their families lives’ Older children have learnt how to realize the importance of their contributions as Flynn and Rai (2003 pg.140) describe the children’s explanations for helping.
Although earning pocket money from some tasks may encourage them to contribute, the children are aware of their responsibilities to help out and how they can contribute towards family life. In many tasks or chores the children did not need encouragement or assistance realizing why their contributions were needed and how to contribute. This is also shown by Flynn and Rai (2003 p. 133) they state ‘children can understand the complexities of family life and expect to negotiate their position in decisions
I believe the essay title to be mostly true however, the level in which children can be encouraged and assisted to make active contributions to family life can depend largely on their age and abilities. Babies can contribute emotionally to a family and adults can encourage babies through interaction. Young children can be encouraged through positive parenting to make good contributions and understand through association about family life. Alfie Kohn’s three C’s can assist parents in learning how to work together with their children to build understanding within their family and teach decision making to children.
As children grow older they rely less on their parents for encouragement and assistance making active contributions independently and are aware of their importance. Sometimes the contributions older children make may not be realized by parents, their contributions can be very varied and an important part of family life. Word count 943
Flynn, R and Rai, L. (2003) Understanding Children, Milton Keynes: The Open University Understanding Children (2003) Video Cassette, The Open University