Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory

The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.

In developmental psychology, there are different theories on how an individual grows and develops. One well known theory is the Ecological Theory Development of Urie Bronfenbrenner. This theory emphasizes the importance of the relationship between an individual and the different environmental systems and how they can be related to each other.

During early childhood, a person’s development is influenced by various factors such as the different types of the environment. Thus, Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory shows how an individual grows and matures.


It also explains each system’s effect on a child’s development (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). According to Bronfenbrenner, there are four different systems that influence an individual to develop as a person. First is the Microsystem which refers to the immediate environments such as family, classroom, friends, and neighborhoods.

Second is the Mesosystem which pertains to child’s home and school. Third is called the Exosystem which the individual’s development is not directly involved in such as parent’s workplace.

Ecological Theory Of Development

Last is the Macrosystem which points to a large cultural context such as Western and Asian cultures. These four different systems explain how a person changes and develops their personality traits in life (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). In the first stage, when a child is born, he or she is taken care of by either the mother or a nanny.

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These individuals have a very big role in shaping the child’s characteristics. While there are studies which show that some personality traits can be actually inherited from both parents, the environment still has a big impact on developing a person’s characteristics.

In the Microsystem environment, an infant usually spends the whole day with the family or the mother. Here, the characteristics of the child are already being developed. In the case of children whose parents are both working and the child is always accompanied by the nanny, there is a greater chance that the child will most likely acquire character traits of the nanny instead of the parents since they are always together and they spend the whole time together (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). Neighbors and friends in school are also a big factor in the microsystem level.

When the child starts to go to school, it would be a new environment for him or her to learn something and acquire new traits and characteristics from classmates and friends in school. As the child interacts with his or her classmates and gains new friends, there will be different influences from people around depending on how the child portrays him- or herself. Consequently, the child may develop a new personality trait that may be positive or negative. This continues as children grow old and mature (Paquette & Ryan, 2001).

Second is the mesosytem which is still related to microsystem. It is connected in a way that an individual is still significantly influenced by the microsystem, such as the parents who still influence their children even though the child goes to school already. A good example of this is a musically inclined child who has his or her talent developed through the teacher but at the same time, he or she may have acquired the talent biologically through the parents. Another example is when the parents are neglecting the child.

In this case, it is likely that the child would be negatively affected and may not perform very well in school. Consequently, this can cause problems such as developing a negative attitude so he or she can be noticed and accepted by classmates or friends. On the other hand, when the parents always give positive regard to their child, he or she tends to develop a positive outlook in life. The exosystem is the third level, and this includes environment which the child or the person may not be directly involved in but may still leave an impact on his or her development.

One good example of this as mentioned above is the workplace of the child’s parents. Although the child may not be exposed to the parent’s workplace, in some instances, it can still have an influence on the child. For instance, due to the exhausting demands of their job, some parents have no time to spend with their child. Their dissatisfaction towards their job may also negatively influence their desire to spend time with their children.

Thus, the absence of parent’s assistance and support is likely to affect the child’s growth and development; it may cause the child to develop certain characteristics and traits that may be unpleasant, such as developing an anti social disorder or other behavioral problems (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). The last system is called the macrosystem; it is a huge system that also has a significant impact on an individual’s growth and development. This is where the different cultures, religions, ideologies, and laws of the society take place.

These factors have a great influence over the child’s developmental growth. In this system, both children and adults should already know their importance and goals in life. It is a stage where a person fully develops their individuality. For instance, a person’s religious beliefs may have a very big role in the development of an individual. There may be norms that are very different from another person’s standards, making things not work for different people. However, one should respect and understand the beliefs of others so that it will not create disputes with the different parties involved.

Another example is one’s belief in parenting: that it should be the parents who will take full responsibility of their own child. This belief will most likely provide resources to guide the parents in raising their children as for shaping them in a way that parents think is right and the best for them (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). However, there is one recently added system to the four different systems of a child’s development which Bronfenbrenner named Chronosystem. This stage is where the early four levels can change and intertwine, from the microsytem up to macrosystem.

It is where an individual’s development is influenced by physical changes of an individual. For example, when a person gets older, there will be physical changes in his or her body, making his or her weak and vulnerable to some illnesses. These changes affect the behavioral patterns of the individual that he or she may not have when he or she was still young (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). In an individual’s life, the environment is the most important factor that shapes people’s character other than the biological aspect.

Considering Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of development which shapes people’s identity, from the time that they were born up to the time they become adults and start to have a career and a family of their own, it will always be the environment affecting and guiding each and every individual in living their lives because it is where people grow, mature, and discover their selves. That is the reason why Bronfenbrenners ecological theory is divided into different stages. These stages help us fully understand how a person’s character is being shaped and develop.

That is how important environment is in a person’s growth and development, as highlighted by Bronfenbrenner’s theory. There are several theories which explain that various biological and environmental factors contribute to the development of a child. Hence, understanding Bronfrenbrenner’s ecological theory of development will help us analyze and understand why people have their own personality and characteristics. It will also serve as a guide for understanding each and everyone’s developmental cycle. It is through learning this theory that one can accept each character traits and behaviors.

It is also a good factor for tracing problems, especially when it comes to behavioral issues of a person. As adults, it is our goal and responsibility to shape a child’s growth and development by becoming a good example to them. It is always the adults that children always look up to in their life. If we will all work on having good environment or surroundings in life, then we will have a respectable, successful, and almost perfect society. However, this will always be impossible, and there will always be deficits in life.

Thus, the nature of our environment and its influence on people make life challenging, and it makes them learn, grow, develop and be successful in living their lives. References Ajuha, Yukti Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory. Montessori Academy. Retrieved September 22, 2008 from http://www. mymontessoriacademy. com/newsletters/websitebronfenbrennerecologicaltheory. pdf Paquette, D. & Ryan, J. (2001). Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. National Louis University. Retrieved September 22, 2008 from http://pt3. nl. edu/paquetteryanwebquest. pdf

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Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory
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