THE INFLUENCE OF PARENT-CHILD BONDING ON SOCIAL ORIENTATION OF ADOLESCENTS

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THE INFLUENCE OF PARENT-CHILD BONDING ON SOCIAL ORIENTATION OF ADOLESCENTS

 

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

Background to the Study 

Human beings are social creatures that choose to live among others of their kind. Gradually, beginning in infancy, humans acquire the behaviours and concepts that fit them for group life. This process known as socialization, occurs naturally as parents and others guide the young ones toward the behaviours, values, goals and motives that the society deems appropriate (Harlows, 2000). According to Levine (2003), young animals, including man, often form strong attachments to their man soon after birth. The bond ensures that offsprings will remain nearby so that they may be nurtured and protected, and taught to behave adaptively.

Once a fundamental attachment is established, the parent is apt to do more talking, rocking and holding. This responsive social stimulation increases the youngster’s eye contact, babbling and smiling, thereby binding parent and child even more tightly (Yarrow, 2002). But the progress of true maturity may be measured in part by an individual’s growing awareness of and interest in, other persons, together with an appreciation of their rights and desires and a willingness to subordinate personal wishes to the greater good of the greater number (Yarrow, 2002). Expanding the child’s social consciousness as he moves toward maturity is an important training problem. The outcome represents the difference between a “spoilt, disagreeable, poorly adjusted child and a likable youngster who is finding acceptable social adjustments”.

 

A child who is born into a warm environment as well as peaceful and loving parents, is more likely to grow up happily, showing love to others, especially his/her peers at school or at home. Whereas an unwanted child who starts to experience frustration and rejection at the early age through the attitudes of his or her parents and other adults around his environment, is more likely to grow up as an unhappy child. By the time the child matures into an adolescents, the character is made up from his childhood experiences. This is because, most children do not relate well with their parents due to the negative and frustrating attitudes of their parents. Most parents treat their children badly and their ways of behaviour does not promote cordial relationship between them and their children. However, it is mainly at the adolescent stage that parents begin to notice deviant behaviours in the child when he or she fails to meet up with their expectations, without thinking of the background they have provided for the child’s development (Adindu, 2005).

Bernhardt (2004) believes that lack of good and healthy relationship between parents and their children brings about social awkwardness, which makes him (the adolescent) sometimes to be loud and noisy, tending to show off, swings quickly from one mood to another, occasionally reverts to childish behaviour, and has period of rebellion to authorities of both parents and adult members of the society. All these and other similar patterns of behaviour of the adolescent may be trying to parents, difficult to understand and accept.

According to Adamson (2003) constant criticism of the child, nagging at him, or punishment are more likely to make him worse in behaviour. Children of nagging and punishing parents, produce children who are aggressive, wicked, disobedient and negatively adjusted to the norms and values of the community where they live. The resultant effect is that these children reared in an unconducive parental environment grow up to transfer aggression to other children in their surroundings or the school.

1.1    Theoretical Background to the Study

Basically, parents from different cultures, sub-cultures, and social classes have different values, concerns and beliefs on life that influence their childbearing practices. The modern theories in developmental psychology conceive the interaction between the caregiver and the child as crucial to all psychological growth. A child’s parents and the emotional atmosphere of the home greatly influence the kind of person the infant will become. During the early years, parental attitudes towards the infant are critical. Cross-culturally, these episodes of face-to-face play are a universal feature of the early interaction between caregivers (parents) and infants. However, the frequency, duration, and goals of these episodes differ among cultures. For example, United States mothers employ more social overtures (such as tickling) that stimulates and excites their babies; mothers in Kenya are more soothing and quieting in their initiatives (Vine et al, 1994); while Japanese mothers typically, focus on establishing mutual intimacy by maintaining eye with their infants as well as kissing and hugging (Bornstein and Lambs, 2002). Fathers seem to be active partners, and older siblings and other adults also assume active role in infant care and participate in social play with babies in many non-western cultures (Thonick, 1999).

Bowlby (1990) theorized that attachment is the affectionate bond between infant and caregivers and is vital component of healthy functioning. Bowlby (1990) believes that every child, like the young of other animal species, is endowed with a set of built-in behaviours (e.g. smiling, grasping, crying, gazing) that help to keep the parent nearby and thereby increase the chances that the child will be protected from danger. Contact with the parent also, ensures that the baby will be fed, but Bowlby was careful to point out that feeding is not the basis for attachment. Instead, the attachment bond has strong biological roots, can best be understood within an evolutionary framework in which the survival of the species is of utmost importance.

1.2 Statement of Problem

A child who is born into a warm environment as well as peaceful and loving parents, is more likely to grow up happily, showing love to others, especially his/her peers at school or at home. Whereas an unwanted child who starts to experience frustration and rejection at the early age through the attitudes of his or her parents and other adults around his environment, is more likely to grow up as an unhappy child. By the time the child matures into an adolescents, the character is made up from his childhood experiences. This is because, most children do not relate well with their parents due to the negative and frustrating attitudes of their parents. Most parents treat their children badly and their ways of behaviour does not promote cordial relationship between them and their children. However, it is mainly at the adolescent stage that parents begin to notice deviant behaviours in the child when he or she fails to meet up with their expectations, without thinking of the background they have provided for the child’s development.

Lack of good and healthy relationship between parents and their children brings about social awkwardness, which makes him (the adolescent) sometimes to be loud and noisy, tending to show off, swings quickly from one mood to another, occasionally reverts to childish behaviour, and has period of rebellion to authorities of both parents and adult members of the society. All these and other similar patterns of behaviour of the adolescent may be trying to parents, difficult to understand and accept.

1.3 Purpose of Study

The objectives of this study include:

1.           To find out whether the parent-child bonding influences children’s social orientation in the community.

2.           To examine whether ethnicity affects parent-child bonding and adolescent’s social orientation.

3.           To assess whether religion influences parent-child bonding on adolescent’s social orientation.

4.           To find out whether socio-economic status influences parent-child bonding on adolescent’s social orientation.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in this study:

1.           Does parent-child bonding influence children’s social orientation?

2.           Does ethnicity affect parent-child bonding and adolescent’s social orientation?

3.           Does religion influence parent-child bonding and adolescent’s social orientation?

5.           To what extent does socio-economic status influence parent-child bonding and adolescent’s social orientation?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated for testing in this study:

1.           Parent-child bonding does not significantly influence social adjustment of adolescents in the society.

2.           Ethnic difference in parent-child bonding will not significantly influence adolescent’s social orientation.

3.           There will be no significant impact of religion on parent-child bonding.

4.           There will be no difference of socio-economic status in parent-child bonding on adolescent’s social orientation.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be beneficial to the following individuals:

1.           Parents would benefit from the study, because the recommendations and the findings will be an eye-opener to their previous perceptions of the way they rear their children in the community.

2.           Adolescents would also benefit from this study because it will enable them to understand the best way to be attached to their parents. This study will help adolescents to understand that they should relate well with their parents, and should always ensure that they remain attached to their parents. Not only that, this study will expose all the styles parents have been using to rear their children in the family and how they are faired in the proper up-bringing of the child in the home.

3.           Society – The society, the up-coming researchers, the students etc, would, through this study, be abreast with the fact that there is need for parent-child relationship which augurs well for the social orientation of the child in the society.

1.7    Scope of the Study

The study examined the influence of parent-child bonding on the social orientation of adolescents in Lagos metropolis.

1.8    Definition of Terms

Operational terms were defined in this study in the following ways:

(1) Parent-Child Bonding: This is a term which expresses the relationship or attachment between parents and their children. Often times, parents do not have the closeness or good relationship between them and their children. Children with good or positive parent-child attachment, are usually good members of a given society, while those with without good or positive parent-child attachment are usually children with negative social adjustment in the society.

(2) Social Orientation: This is a term that refers the social behaviour or character of a particular individual child in a community. This is the totality of an individuals attitude or behaviour in his/her society.

(3) Adolescence: This is a period of life from puberty to adulthood (roughly ages between 12 – 20) characterized by marked physiological changes, development of sexual feelings, efforts towards the construction of identity, and a progression from concrete to abstract thought. It is a transitional state during which youths begin to separate themselves from their parents.

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