Child development refers to the changes that take place between birth and adolescence as the individual grows towards adulthood. These changes are both physical and psychological. Apparently, of profound influence to these changes are the parents' socio economic status, the prevailing culture, schools as well as the family structure. According to Berns (2009), parenting is influenced by cultural, family, personal values as well as the child development and socialization methods with respect to the age of the child and the prevailing situations (p. 155). A child brought up in a rich family for example, the parenting style may inculcate only materialistic values; the result of which is the child's lack of other values.
Interestingly, research indicates that parents of lower socio economic statuses tend to be more punitive, and places a profound emphasis on obedience. On the contrary, higher socioeconomic status parenting uses more reasoning, placing emphasis on independence. Accordingly, every culture has parenting goals which have specific importance to the respective culture, and different economic systems determine the family structure and the attendant social behavior which is in turn passed to the children. Berns (2009), points out that inappropriate parenting involves maltreatment which includes deliberate harm to the child, abuse and neglect, thus there is a failure in meeting the physical and emotional needs of the developing child (p. 155). In addition, the abuse is associated with lack of supervision, poor nutrition, lack of proper medical care and marked absenteeism from school, poor clothing and filthy homes (Berns, 2009, p. 155). Furthermore, Hannon (1995) indicates that school and parents should make deliberate efforts to bring about the learning of the child or children (p. 55)
In conclusion, it is evident that child development is influenced by factors that are in themselves greatly influenced by the prevailing culture in the society. The patterns of child upbringing among the affluent and the poor may vary greatly, indicating the creation of stereotypes in the society. These challenges can be averted and the creation of equal opportunities for children be realized through parent education on child development and the support needed from the former, and coordination between school and home to ensure the child develops appropriately. Efforts should also be placed on eliminating stereotypes that society has created.
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