The connection between Peer Systems and Family Systems

Subject: Family
Type: Synthesis Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1289
Topics: Childhood, Human Development, Parenting, Social Psychology
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Relations and peers create two of the utmost important factors that play a significant part in influencing knowledge, cognitive and psychomotor of the child during development. Family and peer systems are also essential and main foundations of expressive and contributory support in socialization adoption of cultural norms and values in social development. Strong linkage between healthy family and peer system relationships has been established to promote positive emotional and social products (Collins & Laursen, 2004).  Family and peer systems at times complement each other while in other instances they are in competition for allegiance and attention. This paper addresses the linkage between family and peer systems in childhood social development.

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The perspectives of attachment theory and socialization theory provide important perspectives for explaining the relationship between the family system and peer systems. The attachment theory underpins that family system through parent-child relationships forms the emotional competency and connections that a child extends to successive relationships with peers (Brown & Mounts, 2007). On the other hand, the socialization theory posits that parents are the agents of coaching and supervision that assists young persons in honing their social skills when establishing relationships with peers. Both family and peer arrangements affect one another in a wide range of manners. Some family systems have less time for children to engross in relations with age mates while in other situations, parent authority and intimate communication tend to lessen as a child expands interactions with peers. 

The different social positions that a family occupies have been established to have a significant impact on a person’s interaction with peers. The interplay between occupation of high or prestigious socioeconomic position and occupation of a relegated or moderate socioeconomic status influences the choice of peer groups (Cutrín, Gómez-Fraguela, & Luengo, 2015). The social, economic structure has been found to inform familiar and peer system linkage. The case can be interpreted using the social contract model that posits that persons involve in shared affairs based on interactions with each other in common social conditions of equivalence. It has been established that despite efforts to furnace closer societal relations among African American and European American fledgling individuals (Brown & Mounts, 2007), the socioeconomic disparity has helped maintain some degree of limited peer interactions between the two groups. Therefore, family social position influences the type peer interactions that a child form when socializing with peers. In circumstances where clear social disparities and differences tend to appear, a child interacts based on the social delimiters drawn by the society. Similarly, it has been established that in situations where there are no disparities or social segregation children interact freely.

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Rules, standards, customs, or existences that portray a given philosophy have been found to have a profound impact on the interactions between family and peer systems. Children are expected to follow values and norms that are held highly by the family (Kerr, Stattin, & Özdemir, 2012). Therefore, while establishing their peer interactions, children tend to look for peer groups that tend to hold similar values, norm, and culture. Preservation of social backgrounds and morals tend to inform some youth that interethnic courting as treacherous and intolerable. Some of the cultural groups and interactions are characterized by the principles and practices that are fairly shared in their families (Lonardo et al., 2009). For instance, the values of machismo in Latino groups, family honor in Southeast Asian communities and respect for elders inform constitution of peer groups among the ethnic groups mentioned. 

Interpersonal processes also influence different ethnic groups to determine dynamics in forming of key social relationships. It is evident that some relational style controls social connections among associates of a given cultural cluster resulting to near of cohesions evident within some groups (Zha, Detzner, & Cleveland, 2004). The example of American and European American teenagers tries to limit the spheres where parentages act as having the sole role to legitimately set rules. They tend to react by demanding more individual authority and independence especially when parentages mandate more individual control from them (Collins & Laursen, 2004). Therefore, adolescents with damaged parent-child and family relationships tend to form peer interactions due to their common interpersonal experiences with the environment they are occupying.

Summary 

The literature review indicates that a wide range of factors plays a role in the linkage between family and peer systems.  The social organization of the family has been established to have an impact on the peer interactions based on common values and cultural norms that are shared by a group. On the other hand, then socioeconomic position and encounter with issues such as discrimination play a vital role in informing the type of social interactions groups that a child adapts. The nature of parent-child relationship also plays a significant impact in informing the type of group that is adopted by a child. A child’s interpersonal process is informed by familial systems such as matriarchal, patriarchal and egalitarian. The aspects determine the type of peer relationships that a child selects for relationships and the level of involvement and support for the group. 

My family system consists of my mother, father, older brother and myself.  My family is patriarchal in nature with a strong sense of attention to cultural norms and values. There is a lot of restrictions in the family as my family is insistent on the need to observe discipline and be responsible in our lives. My behaviors are closely monitored by my parents, and any slight change in the form of behaviors attracts significant scrutiny and concern.  Christian religion informs norms and values in the family. Since my parents are ardent religious, I’m expected to observe the Christian values in all my undertakings.  Therefore, while selecting peer groups for interactions, I’m obliged to look for groups that profess the same faith as mine. More likely to get  involved  in groups with strong Christian faith connotation  since we are sharing common values  based on what our parents have taught. 

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Therefore, fitting in most of the other groups is a problem for me. Most of my campus friends tend to have a high attraction to partying and living a free life.  I feel restricted to lead the same life due to the Christian values that have been instilled by my parents during the course of development. I really find my friend’s life attractive, and I’m almost tempted to join them in partying.  However, I tend to share my religious values which put me at loggerheads with most of them. 

The influence of the partying groups is significant, and I have to interact with them for academic purposes. Since most of the parties happen at night, my parents make frequent calls to establish my whereabouts and everything I’m doing.  Despite having the Christian values, I tend to sway away from religion and join my partying friends. Therefore, I frequently ignore my parent’s calls which severe my relationship with the parents. I also feel restricted since my denied autonomy and like other students who have limited control from their parents. 

My parents are egalitarian, and they have taught me to respect everyone irrespective of the socioeconomic status, religious faith, and cultural values. However, while doing that, I’m supposed to base everything on my Christian values. 

In conclusion, despite the family system and peer system competing for attention, there is a close linkage between the two. The values, norms, and beliefs that are imparted by parents during development form an important role in determining the groups that a person adopts for interactions. The parent-child relationship determines significantly the type of group that a person adopts for relationships. Aspects such as the social position of the family, ethnicity and cultural values determine significantly the nature of peer  groups.

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  1. Brown, B. B., & Mounts, N. S. (2007). The cultural context of family‐peer linkages in adolescence. New directions for child and adolescent development, 2007(116), 1-15.
  2. Cutrín, O., Gómez-Fraguela, J. A., & Luengo, M. Á. (2015). Peer-group mediation in the relationship between family and juvenile antisocial behavior. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 7(2), 59-65.
  3. Kerr, M., Stattin, H., & Özdemir, M. (2012). Perceived parenting style and adolescent adjustment: Revisiting directions of effects and the role of parental knowledge. Developmental psychology, 48(6), 1540.
  4. Lonardo, R. A., Giordano, P. C., Longmore, M. A., & Manning, W. D. (2009). Parents, friends, and romantic partners: Enmeshment in deviant networks and adolescent delinquency involvement. Journal of youth and adolescence, 38(3), 367-383.
  5. Zha, B. X., Detzner, D. F., & Cleveland, M. J. (2004). Southeast Asian adolescents’ perceptions of immigrant parenting practices. Hmong Studies Journal, 5, 1.
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