The parenting style, skills and effectiveness have a definite bearing on the development of the child. However, the family structure also influences the behaviour of the child.
Family structure contributes a great deal to the child’s behaviour. Since parents are the primary socializing agents of children and they greatly contribute to their child’s behaviour.
When children come from different familial structures, it is essential to understand how that type of family affects their behaviour.
Intact families and single parent families often function differently from each other. Many families show similarities, however who is in charge of the family is a key contributor to child behaviour.
According to the strain theory by Agnew (1985), familial structure affects their development, how they relate to things and people and how they react to everyday situations. As transitions in families take place and as times evolve it becomes essential to understand how these transitions affect the family structure and those experiencing the transitions.
Children coming from a non-intact family which is often considered single parent families show higher incidences of deviant behaviours.
Another contributing factor of single parent families on children is time constraint.Most single parents work hard to keep their family equipped with essential needs.Lack of supervision and lack of time spent with children deeply contributes and shapes their overall functioning and their behaviour especially surrounding delinquency issues.
Intact families also face time constraints but this is levelled between two parents which usually will allow at least one parent to be available to children. This helps with supervision and communication which can often lack in single parent households.
Blended families also show some alarming findings, when single parent families transition into blended families, deviant behaviours, especially violent offending increases. These types of families host a whole new set of experiences for children.
Children experiencing transitions in their families often experience high levels of stress because of the transition. The stress the children experience is closely related to strain theory.
How children react to situations with their siblings will give a parent an idea of how they will react around their peers.
The bond between parents and a child is important for the child to form healthy relationships down the road. Also the bond between parents and children becomes essential in reducing undesired deviant behaviours in youth.
It is also important to keep the parent and child informed of their role. When the child and parent experience positive open communication with each other it then gives the child a positive relationship to reference when conducting themselves at school with teachers and authority.
It also gives the child a well developed self esteem and better self concept which in turn allows the children to have high standards of conducting themselves positively to peers and in school.
This directly links to social learning theory; children will model what they have observed from family members especially parents, this is important in understanding their behaviour at school. If negative reactions occur in the home and the child observes this behaviour it is likely they will have the same reaction should a similar situation arise at school. When relations between members have negative occurrences it puts children at risk.