Society or Parents
One of the most commonly debated topics is that of raising of children. The question of which segment is responsible for their upbringing always forms the centre- stage of this argument. However irrespective of the existence of pros and cons of both sides of the argument it would be important to note that both parents and the society are essential in the process of upbringing children. However, the society stands out as the most important segment whose responsibility is to ensure that a child adopts societal norms and values that are essential in the growth and development stages of that child. The main aim of this paper is to provide arguments asserting that the best determinant of how a child is raised is the society and not the parent since the society sets the ideal values and norms that should be considered as standards any child’s upbringing.
One of the major responsibilities of the society is to set norms and values through which the children must be socialized to ensure they become better citizens in the future. Norms and values of good mannerism and proper behavioural traits are disseminated to children through various agents of socialization that are part of the wider society (Hartas 10). These agents have varied roles to play in the upbringing of children according to the societal standards. Parents only form part of these agents that lay down the societal expectation to their children. Through the parents, the children learn of their family, the cultural language among other traits that are considered important (Hartas 11- 12). It is possible to argue at this point that parents are therefore key determinants pf how children are raised. However, this argument will be misplaced since a noteworthy point would be that parents raise their children according to the societal expectations.
As people with aspirations, children are always dependent on individuals, and especially their parents, to provide the necessary guidance on different issues affecting their lives. This makes the parents important people in the child upbringing process. It is however important to remember that inasmuch as parents are responsible for their own children, child upbringing is a collective necessity in every multicultural society (Hartas 11). If parents are left to raise their children as they wish chances are high that they will deviate from commonly held values and this provides a proper explanation why there are children who portray aspects of deviant behaviour. These children are those whose parents neglected societal expectations in their earlier socialization stages. This failure impacts negatively on a child’s wellbeing since he or she acts in ways that contravene the existing standards (Lamanna & Agnes 267).
A major reason why there exist societal norms is to ensure that standards are set. Through these standards, children born of different parents find the existence of a common place from which they can relate on equal terms. Children may be coming from different backgrounds but as they grow to become responsible citizens in the society they are expected to possess qualities that will help progress the entire society (Lamanna & Agnes 267). These can only be achieved if the said society provides rules and regulations on how to act morally, socially, culturally and professionally. If parents were to be the determinants of how these behavioural techniques should be developed then they would be enhancing the development of a chaotic environment which does not have the necessary peace required for development. The society, through its various agents such as the school provides a platform on which various expectations are administered to the children. The role of the parent is only to lay emphasis on the importance of education to their children as they grow to become responsible citizens. (Lamanna & Agnes 268)
It is not possible to deny the essential roles that parents play in the growth and development of children. As the primary agents of socialization, parents play the part of introducing a new-born child to the world, as grow they acquire different behavioural traits. Some of the traits encompass the acquisition of interpersonal skills. These skills enable them to learn the process of becoming social beings. As social beings they will learn how to relate with different members of the society outside their families (Liamputtong 198). This is considered as an essential attribute that parents need to foster in their children. Despite the essential role of the parents, it would be important to note that parents only teach that which is expected and it is the society that sets the necessary rules and regulations on how different relationships in the society are to be conducted. Through these rules, a child learns how relate to members of the extended family, how to relate with members of the opposite sex and the general social conduct of every member of the society (Liamputtong 196). This is proof that parents are only the disseminators and not the determinants of what children are expected to abide by in their growth and development stages.
A major objection to the role of the society as the most essential determinant in the socialization process arises in situations where children develop some aspect of deviance in their behaviour. The blame goes to the parents and not the society making the former a key determinant in a child’s upbringing rather than the latter. This should not be considered as a negative aspect in the role of the society since as most essential determinant of the values and norms very child is supposed to be raised by, is to set the rules (Liamputtong 196). Once the society sets the rules and regulations parents as disseminators of these rules take the responsibility in case of failure since they have well outlined duties that they must perform on behalf of the society in the process of ensuring that their children understand that which is expected. There are instances when parents neglect their duties and as Quindlen (305) asserts, one of the reasons why her childhood was considered a failure is because her mother neglected her responsibilities in her upbringing. She swears to provide the necessary care and attention to her child as part of her role to the society.
Critics of the society may argue that its role is only to institute the laws and leave parents to determine how these rules are to be disseminated to children. Inasmuch as this may be true, it would be important to note that children form part of a larger family out of their households. They are part of the entire community and this gives reasons why the attend school to acquire education and compete with others, they also access medical care are receive necessary medication from other people who are not their parents (Lamanna & Agnes 269). This would therefore mean that children deserve love, resources, care and opportunities from the communities which they belong to. The society therefore must understand the collective responsibility required by children even if the members of the said society are not the parents to the children. It is possible to assert that parent can always raise their children according the values they see as best placed to produce the best out of their children. However, the values that the said parents choose to implement in the process of socializing their children should not contravene societal expectations and the existing set of values and norms. The society has a responsibility of ensuring safety, provide schools and opportunities and these are roles that no individual family can perform in solitude (Lamanna & Agnes 268- 269).
In conclusion, the debate on who is responsible for coming up with values important in raising children is essential. However, the society plays a vital role in the formulation of norms and values to ensure standardization in the socialization process. Parents are also important in the process of raising children. Their role is however limited to the dissemination of societal norms and values to their children. They are agents of the society in its endeavours to provide necessary guidance to the future leaders. Parents may at times determine the values to be used in a child’s growth and development stages, but just as the school and the church among other societal agents, parents must ensure that their choice of values do not contravene those of the society. This will minimize chances of raising children with deviant behaviour.
Hartas, Dimitra. Parenting, Family Policy and Children’s Wellbeing in an Unequal Society:
A New Culture War for Parents. , 2014, pp. 10-12. Internet resource
Lamanna, Mary A, and Agnes C. Reidmann. Marriages & Families: Making Choices in a
Diverse Society. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012, pp. 267- 269. Print.
Liamputtong, Pranee. Childrearing and Infant Care Issues: A Cross-Cultural Perspective.
New York: Nova Science Publ, 2007. Print.
Quindlen, Anna. The Good Enough Mother. The informed argument. 8th ed. Belmont:
Wadsworth Cengage learning, 2012,305-07.