Nuclear Family Extended Family

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Chapter 6: Home and School


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Schools and Socialisation

Chapter 3: Education and Social Mobility

Chapter 4: Education and Occupation

Chapter 5: Peer Group

Chapter 6 : Home and School

Chapter 7 : Academic Underachievers

Chapter 8 : Teaching Profession


When you complete this chapter you should be able to:

  • Explain how interaction in the home influences the child’s academic achievement.

  • Identify the causes to the breakdown of the nuclear family.

  • Explain the effects of growing up in single parent families.

  • Identify the effects of TV viewing on children

  • List both the negative and positive effects of playing computer games

  • Discuss the effects of being a latchkey child


  • Preamble

  • What is a family?

  • Parenting

  • Home-school interaction and academic achievement

  • Other home-school interaction factors

  • Effects of the media

  • Latchkey children

  • Changing family structure: single parents

Key words




This chapter focuses on the family and its role in influencing the academic performance of students. Though most parents are not prepared to be parents, they have been instrumental in impacting the character and mental health of children which in turn influences their academic performance. Four types of parenting styles are identified with each having a different influence in child rearing. To ensure successful learning, home-school interaction needs to be enhanced. The changing structure of the family, with more single-parents has also played a role in the education of children.


It seems a strange question to ask “What is a family?”. However, it is important to ask this question because the concept of a family is rapidly changing in many societies. We need to know the meaning of family before we can further understand its influence on children’s development. In some societies, family refers to a household with a husband, wife, and children. In other societies, the husband may have more than one wife (polygamy) or the wife has more than one husband (polyandry).

Nuclear Family Extended Family

Single-Parent Family

Figure 6.1 Types of Family

Generally, the family is defined as the basic unit in society consisting of individuals under one roof who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. There are three main types of family (see Figure 6.1).

  1. Nuclear Family

The nuclear family is traditionally defined to consist of the father, mother and their children. The expression ‘nuclear family’ was first used to describe the ‘average’ family consisting of a mother and father and ‘2.5’ children.

  1. Extended Family

The extended family is defined as a social unit that contains the nuclear family together with blood relatives, often spanning three or more generations. i.e. it consists of in-laws plus mother, father and children.

  1. Single-Parent Family

The single-parent family is growing rapidly in many countries due to the high-

rate of divorce consisting of single-mothers and single-fathers bringing up



Parents or single-parents and a child or children are the two key components in all the types of families described. Parents are the main providers of a child’s education from birth. They guide the development of the child’s character and mental health and are responsible for developing the child’s attitudes, aptitudes and interest before the school takes over. Most parents want their children to do well in school and is the most common aspiration among all parents. If all parents wish this then why do certain parents succeed in helping their child to do well in school while others do not.

Parents may have the right goals for their children but oftentimes they do not know what is effective and what is not effective. Some believe that child rearing and parenting is common sense that is learned by experience in raising a child. Indeed it is common sense and done by trial and error for most parents! Parenting is a complex activity that includes many specific behaviours that work individually and together to influence children. Although specific parenting behaviours, such as spanking or reading aloud, may influence child development, looking at any specific behaviour in isolation may be misleading. Many writers have noted that specific parenting practices are less important in predicting child well-being than is the broad pattern of parenting.


There is general consensus that the parent or parents should provide for the basic necessities of a child from birth until adulthood (which may ranged from 18 to 21 years of age). The following is a list of parental duties required of all parents:

Physical Security

  • Provide physical safety, clothes & food

  • Protect the child from dangers; physical care

  • To care for a child's health

Physical Development

  • To provide a child with the means to develop physically

  • To train the body of a child, to introduce to exercise

  • To develop habits of health

Intellectual Security

  • Provide an atmosphere of peace and justice and respect to one's dignity

  • Provide an environment without fear, threat, and abuse

Intellectual Development

  • Reading, writing, calculating etc.

  • Support and/or provide school related learning

  • Teach social skills and etiquette, moral & spiritual development

  • Create an ethics and value systems with social norms that contribute to a child’s beliefs, culture and customs

Emotional Security

  • Provide a safe loving environment

  • Give a child a sense of being loved, being needed, welcomed

  • Emotional support, encouragement

  • Feeling of attachment, hugged & touched

Emotional Development

  • Show empathy and compassion to younger and older, weaker and sicker, etc.

  • Caring for others, helping grandparents, etc.


Parenting style refers to the strategies and methods used by parents in raising their children. Baumrind' (1991) proposed a typology of parenting styles which attempts of capture normal variations in parents' attempts to control and socialise their children. In other words, the parenting style typology does not deviant parenting, such as might be observed in abusive or neglectful homes. The typology assumes that normal parenting revolves around issues of ‘control’. Although parents may differ in how they try to control or socialise their children and the extent to which they do so, it is assumed that the primary role of all parents is to influence, teach, and control their children. The typology of parenting style proposed is based on two important elements of parenting: Parental Responsiveness and Parental Demandingness (Maccoby & Martin, 1983).

  • Parental Responsiveness (also referred to as parental warmth or supportiveness) refers to "the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion by being attuned, supportive, and acquiescent to children's special needs and demands" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62).

  • Parental Demandingness (also referred to as behavioural control) refers to "the claims parents make on children to become integrated into the family whole, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts and willingness to confront the child who disobeys" (Baumrind, 1991, pp. 61- 62).


Categorising parents according to whether they are high or low on parental demandingness and responsiveness creates a typology of FOUR parenting styles were proposed: Indulgent, Authoritarian, Authoritative, and Uninvolved (Maccoby & Martin, 1983). Each of these parenting styles reflects different naturally occurring patterns of parental values, practices, and behaviours and a distinct balance of responsiveness and demandingness.

  • Indulgent Parents (also referred to as "permissive" or "nondirective") "are more responsive than they are demanding. They are non-traditional and lenient, do not require mature behaviour, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62). Indulgent parents are democratic parents, who, though lenient, are more conscientious, engaged, and committed to the child, and nondirective.

  • Authoritative Parents are both demanding and responsive. "They monitor and impart clear standards for their children's conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62).

Authoritarian Parents are highly demanding and directive, but not responsive. "They are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62). These parents provide well-ordered and structured environments with clearly stated rules. Authoritarian parents can be divided into two types: non-authoritarian-directive, who are directive, but not intrusive or autocratic in their use of power, and authoritarian-directive, who are highly intrusive.

  • Uninvolved Parents are low in both responsiveness and demandingness. In extreme cases, this parenting style might encompass both rejecting-neglecting and neglectful parents, although most parents of this type fall within the normal range. Because parenting style is a typology, rather than a linear combination of responsiveness and demandingness, each parenting style is more than and different from the sum of its parts (Baumrind, 1991).


In addition to differing on responsiveness and demandingness, parenting styles also differ in the extent to which they are characterised by a third dimension: psychological control. Psychological control "refers to control attempts that intrude into the psychological and emotional development of the child" (Barber, 1996, p. 3296) through use of parenting practices such as guilt induction, withdrawal of love, or shaming. One key difference between authoritarian and authoritative parenting is in the dimension of psychological control.

Both authoritarian and authoritative parents place high demands on their children and expect their children to behave appropriately and obey parental rules. Authoritarian parents, however, also expect their children to accept their judgments, values, and goals without questioning. In contrast, authoritative parents are more open to give and take with their children and make greater use of explanations. Thus, although authoritative and authoritarian parents are equally high in behavioural control, authoritative parents tend to be low in psychological control, while authoritarian parents tend to be high.


Parenting style has been found to predict child well-being in the domains of social competence, academic performance, psychosocial development, and problem behaviour. Research based on parent interviews, child reports, and parent observations consistently finds:

  • Children and adolescents whose parents are authoritative rate themselves and are rated by objective measures as more socially and instrumentally competent than those whose parents are non-authoritative (Baumrind, 1991; Weiss & Schwarz, 1996; Miller et al., 1993).

  • Children and adolescents whose parents are uninvolved perform most poorly in all domains. In general, parental responsiveness predicts social competence and psychosocial functioning, while parental demandingness is associated with instrumental competence and behavioural control (i.e., academic performance and deviance).

  • Children and adolescents from authoritarian families (high in demandingness, but low in responsiveness) tend to perform moderately well in school and be uninvolved in problem behaviour, but they have poorer social skills, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of depression.

  • Children and adolescents from indulgent homes (high in responsiveness, low in demandingness) are more likely to be involved in problem behaviour and perform less well in school, but they have higher self-esteem, better social skills, and lower levels of depression.

In reviewing the literature on parenting style, one is struck by the consistency with which authoritative upbringing is associated with both instrumental and social competence and lower levels of problem behaviour in both boys and girls at all developmental stages. The benefits of authoritative parenting and the detrimental effects of uninvolved parenting are evident as early as the preschool years and continue throughout adolescence and into early adulthood.

Although specific differences can be found in the competence evidenced by each group, the largest differences are found between children whose parents are unengaged and their peers with more involved parents. Differences between children from authoritative homes and their peers are equally consistent, but somewhat smaller (Weiss & Schwarz, 1996). Just as authoritative parents appear to be able to balance their conformity demands with their respect for their children's individuality, so children from authoritative homes appear to be able to balance the claims of external conformity and achievement demands with their need for individuation and autonomy.


  1. What is parenting style?

  2. Discuss the different parenting style? Give specific

examples for each.

  1. Which of the types of parenting styles would you describe the way your parents brought you up?


Home-school interaction has been found to be important in fostering student learning and performance in school. However, studies have found that ‘quality’ of home-school interaction is more important than ‘quantity’ of interaction in predicting educational attainment (Patrikakou & Weissberg, 2000). A student’s future school success is related to extent of home-school collaboration. Specifically, the most effective family-school interventions emphasise dialogue about educational programmes, two-way communication and problem solving, monitoring of children’s school performance, and supporting families to be able to offer home support for learning activities (Christenson & Carlson, 2005).

To engage families from diverse backgrounds to interact with the school regarding their children’s education; it is essential is to create a trusting and collaborative relationship between family-school-community; to be sensitive to class and cultural differences when addressing issues on of family concerns; and to emphasise that power and responsibility across home and school are shared (Henderson & Mapp, 2002). In short, to think of parents and teachers as ‘partners’. For example, as a child moves from the home to kindergarten, both parents and the school should share responsibility in seeing the child make the necessary adjustments and succeed academically, emotionally and socially.

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