Assignment Writing Help on Senior Seminar in Child and Family Development CHFD498

NCFR Content Areas Literature Review Project

Senior Seminar in Child and Family Development CHFD498

Research Article 1:  Parenting Values, Attitudes, Behaviors, and Goals of African American Mothers from a Low-Income Population in Relation to Social and Societal Contexts. Journal of Family Issues.

            Family usually comprises of a unit made up of members who happen to share the same blood line and are considered to be relatives. In most cases, there usually exist nuclear families made up of the mother, father, and the children. On the other hand, there is also an extended family, which is made up of the nuclear family unit and other relatives who could also be living together. Families are supposed to be supportive of one another and should always be there for one another in case of any problem. The nuclear family unit is the most common one in most homes around the world. However, extended families other than meeting from time to time also happen to live together.

            Families have the family members playing very crucial roles with most and each one of them being assigned certain tasks and responsibilities to be able to function together as a unit. Harmony and understanding is a very important element of every family and it helps it to prosper and succeed in life (Abell et al., 1996).

            For instance, the father is usually the head of the family and is supposed to be the sole provider and also responsible for taking care of his family. The mother who is the wife of the father is supposed to support her spouse by also providing for the family and ensuring that she takes care of her kids and husband. The kids are usually given the task of getting good education and whenever they are not in school, they can contribute by performing some household chores in order to learn to be responsible in future. The extended family has each and every member also playing a vital role in supporting each other, which is what happens in most cultures.

            The family life education can be used to educate people about the right choices involving relationships and dating. Most of the time, a man and a woman show interest in one another through courtship. Courtship involves aspects such as dating, doing things together and also going on trips with the aim of getting to know each other much better. In the process, the two individuals are able to gain each other’s trusts, understanding and get to know each other in a better way (Huschek, Valk, & Liefbroer, 2011).

            In many cultures, after a period of dating, the two individuals are usually engaged and after a while, they meet each other’s parents and family members. This eventually leads to marriage after which a family is started based on love and trust. Afterwards, they get to raise their children together while offering each other their full support.

In the current modern society, a lot has changed as it has come to be that both spouses go to work to be able to support their family. Sometimes, they usually hire nannies to look after the kids whenever they are not available because of job duties and responsibilities. In the older cultures, the man is the one who used to work while the woman took care of the kids and fed them while performing other household duties.

A lot has changed over the time concerning even the gender roles; nowadays, any or both of the spouses go to work so as to ensure that the family is well catered for and provided for. However, the two parents try as much as possible to ensure that they create time for their kids and each other so that the family bond can remain strong and relevant. This is important because constant communication with each other helps to ease matters between them and maintain the trust, which preserves the relationship between them.

Research Article 2: Race Differences in Family Experience and Early Sexual Initiation: Dynamic Models of Family Structure and Family Change. Journal of Marriage and The Family.

This involves the processes and activities that usually occur within a family and how the family operates. Family members relate to each other through different ways but the key principles that are involved in any family relationship would mostly involve love and trust. The above mentioned principles are what are responsible for families being intact and being harmonious. Each family member believes that the other family members will always be there for them as they all care for one another and have learnt to trust each other in making the right decisions (Wu & Thompson, 2001).

Family members have developed a good communication procedure and protocol, which can be used to ensure that they get to understand each other properly and show concern and affection towards each other. Good communication techniques can greatly ensure that the family members support each other and prove to each other that they support, trust and care for them. This is very important as it helps to build harmony within a family and strengthen the family relationship and bond all together.

Conflict resolution techniques help to solve any problems that may arise between the family members. They also help to repair any broken bonds and reignite the love and affection that the family members share towards each other. Good memories within a family can only be created and occur if there is trust and love within it. A family that loves one other ends up creating good memories; in addition, at the end of the day, they will have something to laugh about and cherish if they happen to be far from each other.

Sometimes families have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on their backgrounds as well as the circumstances that they might have undergone. For instance, a family could be undergoing some stresses where by one, two or more family members are chronically sick and disabled. This can be more of a challenge to a family and they may be forced to undergo some difficult times dealing with this situation (Alexander & Robbins, 2000). However, it is usually a good thing to show support for such family members by always being there for them and including them in all family activities in order to make them feel wanted and appreciated despite their conditions.

 A loving family should always be ready to treat each other equally and fairly so as to cultivate trust and improve the relationships within the family. Families that stick together during crisis and other calamities end up becoming stronger and more confident in each other as their spirits are usually strengthened. They are also in a position to trust and believe in each other.

People who require special needs in a family should always be supported and given the special attention that they require. This can greatly help in uniting the family as they are bound to show support for each other during difficult times; such a family will rarely split or collapse. They should make it a habit to support each other through thick and thin. Each family- other than having weaknesses- also has strengths such as being committed to each other, spending enough time together in order to strengthen the family bond, open communication between each other, and sharing responsibilities.

Families that function and operate using the above mentioned principles and virtues end up emerging much stronger and always prospering as it proves and shows that they are united. A harmonious and united family is like a strong team that will always succeed in achieving its goals and always committed to helping each other and the society. 

Research Article 3: Human development across the lifespan as identity model for biracial males. Journal of African American Studies.

Human growth and development involves a number of stages from when one was conceived until they are old adults in their old ages. It starts with the conception period from which the embryo is developed and formed. This is when the fetus is still in the mother’s womb, a stage that is commonly referred to as the prenatal stage. This is because it is the period just before the child leaves the mother’s womb.

Later on- after nine months since conception- the child is usually born and comes out as a young infant commonly referred to as a baby. This young being requires a lot of attention from the mother, father, and other family members. The infant relies a lot on the mother, as it cannot be able to do a lot on its own. At this stage of development, the baby requires a lot of help and attention from the other adult members of the family.

Sooner or later, the child grows into early childhood whereby they will start crawling as a means of movement. Thus is also the process of discovery and realizing new things. Early childhood comprises of toddlers and children from the age of one to five years, who are usually eager and curious to discover new things. Children who are at this age require guidance and protection for the sake of their own safety and wellbeing.

Later on, middle childhood sets in and the children are usually in a position to go to school and learn more new things under the guidance and supervision of their teachers and other mentors (Hall, 1997). They start to develop and learn new skills such as writing and reading, which aids in mental development as well as social development which is very important. School is usually an important part of human growth and development.

After middle childhood, adolescence sets in and is commonly referred to as puberty. During this stage, the human body starts experiencing further changes both physically and mentally. New body features such as beards begin to appear in boys and expanded hips will appear in girls. The girls and boys are at a capacity to learn much more and willing to experiment a lot of things and aspects in life.

After adolescence- at the age of eighteen- the body of the human being enters into adulthood and by now the body is fully developed and formed. A young adult is usually ready to enter into the real world and start working and fending for themselves while others are in the process of finishing their education.

Most of the adults in these stage and age are usually ready to move out of their parent’s homes and look and establish their own homes. After sometime, they develop relationships and start to date the members of their opposite sex and end up getting engaged and married thus starting their own families. With these turn of events, the family ends up growing in size and advancing. Thus, the family values will continue to spread amongst the new family members that have come into the picture (Steinberg, 2007).

Eventually, old age sets in which is when such family members retire from their jobs and venture into other businesses and activities that can still provide a source of income for them and their families. During the old age, physical features become frail and weak and the hair starts turning grey. Old age is usually a very sensitive part of the human development; sometimes the old people will require the support of their younger counterparts in doing some things. Old people should always be treated with a lot of respect and should be shown love and affection in order to feel that they are still part of the family and still matter as much as they used to when they were young.

Research Article 4: The Evolution of Human Sexuality

Human sexuality is a very remarkable and fascinating thing. This is because it is responsible for the reproduction process and just like other animal species human beings have the male and female sex. It is through human sexuality that the human race has managed to survive for such a long time due to the ability to reproduce and ensure that bloodlines and family ties continue to exist and become stronger (Symons, 1989).

Human sexuality supports and facilitates its understanding and comprehension in terms of physiological features, psychological and social aspects. When a study is made concerning the physiological aspect, a description of the human sexual reproductive organs and cycle is made based on how they are involved in this whole process as well as the roles that they play.

This study will help in emphasizing on the role of sex in helping to preserve humanity and the role that sex plays in a marriage and family. Sex is an important part of every marriage and romantic relationship, which helps in maintaining and preserving intimacy. It is also used to reproduce children in a marriage thus helps to expand the family and ensure that blood lines are maintained. It has always been termed as a sacred gift from God and should not be misused.

The biological cycle is determinant in the sexual development of the human body and owing to the biological hormones involved, the human body is developed and ready to reproduce based on the conditions and situations. The female body is given a brief time period- every month- when it is considered ready for conception, which plays a vital role when it comes to reproduction and reproductive physiology.

Good sexual values should be maintained in all relationships, which is why sex outside marriage is highly discouraged as it goes against marriage and relationship values. This can be emphasized further by stating that married couples should be faithful to one another as it helps to cultivate and create trust in a marriage. Unfaithfulness and infidelity is considered to be a very serious betrayal in any marriage or romantic relationship as it leads to mistrust and breakup of marriages and families in general.

Infidelity goes against all the sacred family values and sets a bad example which can negatively influence the younger family members and corrupt their minds and souls. Education concerning the appropriate sexual behaviors is done when people are at a younger age such as puberty. This helps to instill a sense of good morality and discourages any form of sexual deviancy that is likely to occur in future.

Family educators should educate people- especially the younger generation- about the dangers of sexual deviation in society and the consequences that are brought about by this. Sex should always be considered as a sacred element and should be treated like one. Families should be properly planned and prepared for in advance to prevent later straining on the limited family resources. Family planning methods should be adopted and followed in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies, which could lead to future problems. Family is a very important thing and element in the society and so good families should always be planned for and properly catered for to avoid any form of suffering and future problems (Gagnon & Simon, 1973). People and families should ensure that they always follow good family morals in order to prosper and prevent future problems based on defiant sexual tendencies.

Research Article 5: The Relationship Closeness Inventory: Assessing the closeness of interpersonal relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.   

Family involves members having and forming relationships with each other. With these in mind, it can be stated that different kinds of relationships exist within families. For instance, a man and his wife have a romantic relationship existing between them and are supposed to be intimate with each other in order to maintain their marriage and their relationship (Altman & Taylor, 1973).

Another kind of relationship that exists in a family is the relationship between the parents and their children. This kind of relationship involves maternal and paternal love and is the kind that exists between parents and their offspring. It is comprised of a lot of love as parents are very affectionate about their children and would almost do anything for them.

Another relationship exists between brothers and sisters and is called the brotherly or sisterly love. This is cultivated from the fact that both of them have grown up under the same roof and care about each other. Siblings should learn to relate to each other positively and learn to stand by one another as it is very important and helps to strengthen the family ties.

Family members should learn to communicate properly with each other in order to improve their relationship and ensure that they cultivate trust amongst themselves. Communication is usually considered to be a way of conveying one’s feelings and views concerning a certain subject and once it is done accurately and properly, people within the family unit and society will be able to understand each other.

A marriage should always have a lot of intimacy between the married partners, as this is important in ensuring that there is still some romantic love in the relationship. Intimacy is usually achieved and maintained in such a relationship by ensuring that the two parties do intimate stuff together. Such intimate activities include things such as going to the movies together, having a romantic dinner, going for picnics and even renewing the marriage vows in order to show affection and commitment (Berscheid, Snyder, & Omoto, 1989).

The way that people relate to others affects a lot of things. For instance, if one brother is annoyed with the other, they probably may not co-exist in peace in the same home, which might lead to a very tense and conflicting situation. Peace is very important in every home and so family members should learn to respect and love one another for the sake of maintaining peace and harmony at home and within the family ties. Relationships are built upon trust, commitment, love, and being emotionally connected and fully capable to understand each other.

Family Resource Management

Research article 1: Consumer Economics and Family Resources: Internet Delivery of Consumer Economics and Family Resource Management Courses. Journal of Family Consumer Sciences Education

The production and effective management of family resources is integral in ensuring that families live a comfortable and dignified life, able to afford the necessities that make life tolerable. However, there exists evidence that Americans are poor financial managers because of the negative national savings rate as well as a consumer debt that is over a trillion dollars (Pickard & Reichelt, 2008). The ignorance of the vast majority of Americans on the basics of family resource management is worrying and needs to be expeditiously addressed if Americans are to be saved from the mire of debt. Acquisition of knowledge requires that there should be a sufficient number of tutors, conversant in the science and art of family resource management, who will teach the subject. There is a need to introduce family resource management to the learning syllabus early enough since research shows that the average high school graduate does not possess the requisite skill needed to manage his financial affairs (Pickard & Reichelt, 2008).

            In a bid to standardize the training of family and consumer sciences tutors, the National Association of Teacher Educators for Family and Consumer Sciences (NATEFACS) has described a set of competencies that tutors need (Pickard & Reichelt, 2008). Currently, there is an acute shortage of qualified and fully certified family and consumer sciences teachers across the country. The shortage is detrimental to efforts aimed at increasing financial literacy, hence the need for a proactive solution to the shortage. The usual approach involves the use of face-to-face courses, where prospective candidates spend time in classes and are taught using traditional pedagogical approaches. However, the traditional approach to training is cumbersome and time-consuming, constrained by class limits on the number of tutors that can be produced. To overcome this problem, states are increasingly using alternative certification means that are mainly based on the internet. Tutors taught via online courses show similar competency to those taught through face-to-face classes, making online teaching as good as the traditional method (Pickard & Reichelt, 2008). The new approach to teaching and certification is advantageous because it allows for the swift training of tutors in large numbers, hence can significantly contribute to the reduction in the shortage of certified tutors.

Research article 2: Improving family communications at the end of life: implications for length of stay in the intensive care unit and resource use. American Journal of Critical Care

Families are always faced with decisions on how to utilize the resources that are available, with a need to prioritize spending depending on necessity. At any given time, there are competing needs on which a family’s resources can be spent. Sickness is one of the most difficult events that a family can face, an event that has serious implications in the use of family resources. This is because sickness can be a serious drain on the family resources, especially if the sickness is terminal (Ahrens, Yancey, & Kollef, 2003). In addition, sickness usually takes precedence over all other spending needs, and all a family’s resources are often diverted towards addressing the sickness. Terminal diseases cause families to experience high levels of stress especially when the information on the disease is complex or insufficient, in addition to the expenses involved, owing to costly nature of the specialized care that is needed for their management. Although patients who use ICU facilities are typically less than 10% of all patients that are admitted to hospitals, they account for over 40% of all the hospitals’ costs, making their treatment disproportionately expensive.

Consequently, it is important that a family with a terminal patient be privy to all the facts relating to a family member’s terminal illness. Terminally ill patients have a very high probability of dying, and are kept alive by the use of machines. The quality of life of terminally ill patients is very low, with the powerful drugs used often making them unaware of their surroundings. Families use ICU facilities with the hope that they can forestall death and help family members to heal from their sickness. In addition, families hope that the ICU facilities can substantially improve the end-of-life care for their loved ones. Therefore, it is difficult to countenance death considering the effort expended in treating the sick person. However, the issue of cost in end-of-life care cannot be ignored since the procedures needed to keep a person alive can be prohibitive. In addition, modern medical advances have made it possible to keep a person marginally alive for sustained periods, even though that person will medically never recover. Ahrens, Yancey, & Kollef (2003) posit that it is necessary to furnish the family of a patient with all the information that is available about a patient’s condition, since open communication channels between health care providers and the families of patients are essential in helping families to make informed and necessary, albeit painful decisions. Terminating the life of a family member who has no chance of survival may be a more prudent step to help save precious family resources that can be used productively somewhere else.

Parent Education and Guidance

Research article 1: Fatherhood in the twenty-first century. Child Development

The role of the parent in providing for, nurturing and molding the children into useful members of the society cannot be gainsaid. The industrial revolution led to the movement of men from small towns to look for business opportunities and employment in big cities, leaving their families behind. The consequence of this migration is the historical view that the business of rearing children is largely of mothers, with fathers having minimal impact on the devilment of the child (Cabrera et al., 2000). However, the image of the father has undergone an evolution and rehabilitation from the colonial father to the distant and disengaged breadwinner to the current image of the involved father. The changing image of the father has been accompanied by changes in the social structure as more women join the work force and society becomes more culturally diverse. The rising numbers of women in the workforce has led to an increase in the number of children who are in non-parental care because their mothers are working. Both the mother and father are now missing from the home due to work commitments, and hence paternal influence on the development of the child is now of great interest to developmental scholars.

When examining the effect of father involvement in the development of a child, it is necessary to distinguish between accessibility, which refers to the father’s availability or presence, engagement, which is the father’s direct contact or shared interactions with the child, and responsibility, which refers to the participation of the father in the decision-making process on matters affecting the child’s well-being (Cabrera et al., 2000). Each of the three factors has a different effect on the development of the child, with responsibility perhaps being the most important component of father involvement. Father involvement is usually associated with positive child outcomes in school as well as in social development because when fathers invest emotionally in their children, the children have good social competence and cognitive development. Paternal involvement enhances children’s academic achievement, and in teenagers, it leads to desirable behavioral, emotional and academic outcomes. Despite the importance of paternal involvement in the development of children, it is not clear how fathers influence development positively. The pathways of influence are vague, although the fact that engagement leads to positive development in children is not in dispute. In addition the process by which individuals become fathers, constructing the roles of fathers is also not very clear (Cabrera et al., 2000)

Research article 2: The roles that parents play in the lives of their young adult children. Australian Institute of Family Studies

As a child grows within the homestead and matures into an adult, the role of the parent changes progressively to reflect the level of development and maturity of the child. The parental obligation to provide for the child changes gradually with increasing maturity of the child, and ideally should stop when the child matures into an adult, able to take care of himself. There has been a considerable amount of research that has focused on the relationship between parents and young children, and the effect of parental involvement on the development of the child. Previously, most research had been focused on the mother-child relationship, although there has been an upsurge in research on the father-child relationship (Cabrera et al., 2000). However, the relationship between parents and their young adult children is yet to receive serious academic examination (Vassallo, Smart, Price-Robertson, 2009), because traditionally, it was the norm for adult children to leave their parents home and begin their own life as independent adults, taking care of themselves and maintaining minimal contact with their parents. However, this trend is changing with an increasing number of adult children staying with their parents. This phenomenon is due to a number of reasons that are peculiar to the modern world. Young adults chose to stay with their parents for longer compare to previous times due to unemployment, study commitments and financial pressures.

When adult children move out of the home, parents do not feel obliged to provide financial assistance to these children because they feel they can be able to stand on their own feet. However, there are a number of differences when adult children co-reside with their parents. Parents feel that it is their responsibility to provide material and financial support to adult children who are residing with them. The parents provide for the children, giving them food and financial support (Vassallo, Smart, Price-Robertson, 2009), in addition to providing emotional support to the residing children whenever the need arises. Parents have the responsibility of imparting their values and philosophies to their children, teaching them the socially acceptable norms. This parental function is crucial in the formative stage of child development where the parent is actively involved in the molding of the child’s behavior. As the child matures, parents cease to be the primary source of values and life philosophy although for co-residing children, parents still feel obligated to pass on their values and philosophies despite the maturity of the children (Vassallo, Smart, Price-Robertson, 2009). Modernity has considerably changed the parent-child relationship, and parents are increasingly involved in the lives’ of their adult children with the traditional roles of the parent in the life cycle of their children having radically changed over the years. In addition, the nature of parental involvement, maternal and paternal, has also considerably changed, with paternal involvement children’s lives in increasing while maternal involvement has been decreasing due to mothers’ work commitments.

Family Law and Public Policy

Research article 1: Introduction to the special section on religion and spirituality in family life: pathways between relational spirituality, family relationships and personal well-being. Journal of Family Psychology

The family is the primary source of socialization for the child, where the child’s older relatives teach it the acceptable values, norms and philosophies within the cultural context of the family. The religious beliefs and practices of the family have an effect on the development of the child, considering that an individual’s religious beliefs are first shaped by the interactions that he has at the family level. Religious and spiritual beliefs contribute to an adolescent’s and adult’s psychological well-being (Mahoney, & Cano, 2014). The impact of religion on the development of individuals is varied and, can be either positive or negative, depending on the religious experiences that an individual goes through. As children pass through the teenage years, they experience many developmental and behavioral challenges, a phase during which they may develop deviant behavior and start abusing drugs. However, when adolescents have access to religious resources, it helps to mitigate bad influence in the teenager’s life (Mahoney, & Cano, 2014). When teenagers are actively involved in organized religion, they tend to have greater personal spiritual resources and receive emotional support from fellow believers. The support received as well as the greater scope of personal spiritual resources equips religious adolescents with the ability to maintain socially acceptable behavior considering that religion can even moderate the effects of harsh parenting on adolescents (Mahoney, & Cano 2014),. Adolescents with low levels of religiousness have a higher tendency to abuse drugs when exposed to harsh parenting compared to teens with higher levels of religiousness.

The importance of religion to individuals cannot be ignored considering that a majority of the country’s population intimate that religion is important to them (Mahoney, & Cano, 2014). Religion is especially important for families from poor backgrounds because it imbues family members with a sense of meaning and purpose in life, helping them to have an overall positive outlook in life. Religious and spiritual resources also have an impact on the parenting approach of parents within the family. Religious parents tend to have a positive parenting approach especially in low income homes where the norm for non-religious parents tends to be negative parenting (Mahoney, & Cano, 2014). Most religions organizations emphasize the importance of the family in the well-being of society, the need for family stability, and encourage members to form and maintain religiously acceptable family structures, hence considerably affecting the type of family structures that are prevalent in a place. For example, in regions where Islam is the dominant religion, it is common for polygamous families to exist unlike in largely Christian dominated areas.

Research article 2: Family businesses’ contribution to the U.S. economy: a closer look. Family Business Review

The family is the basic building unit of a community and a nation because an aggregation of families builds the bigger whole, which is the nation. An economy is built from the production and consumption of goods and services, and the family plays a crucial and primary role in production. The family provides labor, unskilled and skilled, which is crucial in the production process to the economy. In addition, the family also serves as a consumer of the goods and services that are produced in the economy, hence giving it the dual role of producer and consumer. The US economy has a substantial number of family businesses involved in the production of various gods and services, which contribute to the growth of the US economy (Astrachan, & Shanker, 2003). Owing to the private nature of most family businesses, it is challenging to give an effective definition of a family business. However, generally, a family business will at least have the family having control of the business’ strategic direction with the purely family business having the owner or family member(s) of the owner having full management responsibility. Where the family has full management responsibility, often the business is small and may be a sole proprietorship with family influence diluting as the business grows.

Family businesses consist of around 89% of all the tax returns in the US (Astrachan, & Shanker, 2003), making them have a significant impact on the US GDP. Family businesses range from small individual proprietorship operations to those that have matured into corporations, depending on the life stage of the business. Family businesses have been the drivers of the US economy for a long time, because the country encourages private enterprise where small innovative businesses have the opportunity to grow into multinationals. The friendly legal framework in the country encourages individuals to venture into business and to participate in the formal economy. The family is also essential to the stability of the economy as a consumer of the goods and services produced, since unlike most countries, the internal market is the most important for most US firms as it accounts for most of the revenues that the firms realize. All of this success is due to the effectiveness of the family as an able consumer of the high value goods and services produced. However, it is necessary to note that the US consumer public is also one of the most indebted in the world, with consumption being fuelled mostly by credit, something that does not bode well for the long-term stability of the US economy.

Professional Ethics and Practice

Research article 1: The role of television in cultivating the values of pluralism and cultural diversity in children. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art

The United States is one of the most culturally diverse nations on earth, with most of the population being immigrants or the children of immigrants. The country has an official diversity visa lottery, where each year, there are a number of people who are welcomed to the country from different places in the world. The relatively open immigration policy has led to the entry of nearly all the world’s ethnic groups and cultures into the US. In addition, the country has adherents of nearly all of the major and minor religious movements freely practicing their faith and beliefs. The diverse cultures present in the US are a boon and a bane, depending on how the plurality of values and beliefs of each of the cultures is handled. In a rapidly globalizing world, the ideals of pluralism and cultural diversity are now basic values that have to be  taken into consideration in public communication (Gladkova, 2013). The world has opened up and it is not possible for people to cosset themselves in familiar cultural patterns while ignoring ‘alien’ cultures. Now the alien cultures are not on the other side of the world but are next door, thanks to immigration, meaning that people need to develop a multicultural awareness, tolerance and adopt appropriate behaviors, which are devoid of cultural biases. Multicultural awareness is important in shaping the political and cultural life of a country because attitudes and behaviors that encourage cultural exclusion are unlikely to engender social cohesion.

Communication is the primary means through which persons from different cultures interact and it is imperative that in public communication, individuals should be cognizant of the differences in cultural backgrounds of their audience and communicate in ways that do not offend. The mass media in the modern world is omnipresent and individuals are exposed to the ubiquitous presence of media, both the traditional like television, and modern, like social media (Gladkova, 2013). Since individual’s senses are surrounded by media, the role of the mass media in enhancing multicultural awareness and debunking cultural biases is important in the modern age. The media has a critical role in helping to shape the attitudes and perceptions of the viewers because the images and information obtained from the media are used by individuals to build a complex picture of the world, shaping the individuals attitudes and values. Although the media is one of the components that individuals use to build reality, its impact on the value system of individuals, especially young children is significant. Therefore, careful use of the mass media can help individuals to overcome their prejudices by providing factual unbiased information that can help individuals to rationally appreciate the bigger picture. Our society is likely to increase in diversity in the future hence the need to increase multicultural awareness within the general  population as a means of increasing societal cohesion. Respect and tolerance of other people’s values and beliefs, even when they do not conform to our world view, is essential in the current pluralistic world.

Research article 2: Professionalization of family life education: Defining the field. Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies

 There is an acute shortage of qualified and fully certified family life educators across the country (Pickard & Reichelt, 2008), mainly because the field is relatively new compared to other professions (Darling, Fleming, & Cassidy, 2009). The need for family life educators means that there are an increasing number of institutions currently providing training for family life educators, with the number likely to increase in the near future. The spread of the internet has opened the possibility of offering family life education over the internet, obviating the need for face-to-face training. Traditionally, a family life educator will be certified by providing a portfolio detailing his academic training and professional development in each of the 10 content areas covered under the family life education curriculum (Darling, Fleming, & Cassidy, 2009). The portfolio was then reviewed by a certification review committee made of veteran family life educators who provided their assessment of the candidate’s competency, and if satisfied that the candidate possessed the requisite qualification and experience will then certify the candidate. There was no specific family life education training program and family life educators merely covered the 10 content areas in an ad hoc fashion before presenting evidence of their competency in each of the areas to the independent review committee. This process of certification was rather subjective and did not provide a straight forward path through which an individual wishing to be a family life educator could follow. The certification process also robbed the profession of the aspect of professionalism because if an individual picked his qualifications from different academic institutions, the quality of the academic credentials could not be assured.

To address this problem, the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) decided to standardize the process through which individuals could achieve qualification and certification as family life educators. The NCFR introduced a standard curriculum for family life education to be used by all of the universities and colleges offering family life education as well as establishing the minimum requirements for Certification of Family Life Educators (CFLE). To professionalize the fledgling profession of family life educators, NCFR identified core competencies needed by family life educators, covered under 10 content areas as well as acceptable standards of practice in the profession (Darling, Fleming, & Cassidy, 2009). The standardization of the NCFR has been largely successful with a majority of family life educators feeling that the ten content areas identified by the council are relevant to actual practice in the field. The standardization has also helped to improve the base qualifications of family life educators with over 78% of practitioners having a graduate degree and a further 37% possessing post-graduate qualifications (Darling, Fleming, & Cassidy, 2009). Although all the content areas are useful for family life educators, Darling, Fleming, & Cassidy (2009) found that family law and public policy had the lowest rankings among educators, implying that there is need to focus on the area to equip educators with the necessary nous to tackle the legal aspect of their job. Although family life education is now a mainstream profession, there is need for family educators to educate the public on what the profession entails.

FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION METHODOLOGY

Research article 1: Using empirically-based teaching methodologies to teach family life education topics effectively. Journal of Teaching in Marriage and Family

Family life education is now a comprehensive field with a well-defined syllabus containing a number of content areas that students have to be taught and master before they can be certified as family life educators. However, despite the need to teach students, there is no well defined pedagogical approach to teaching family life educators (Harris, & Lee, 2006). Family science lacks a specific teaching methodology that can be used to teach family life educators effectively and often relies on methodologies from other fields. The family life educator has multiple roles within the teaching environment that she is required to fill effectively. The educator is an expert, providing new information and techniques to the students as well as being conversant with all the aspects of her field. The educator is also a facilitator, providing an environment that allows his students to learn in a non-threatening environment. Finally, the educator is a consultant, available to his students to offer guidance to the students whenever necessary. The educator should be able to discriminate on which of the roles she should assume in the learning environment, depending on the learners she is teaching. A family life educator comes into contact with students who have different levels of intelligence and who have different learning styles, requiring that the educator be cognizant of the student differences and institute appropriate intervention measures (Harris & Lee, 2006). However, for the educator to be effective, she must also be well trained to have the necessary competency to teach effectively.

Harris & Lee (2006) propose a teaching model that can be used to teach family life educators so that they in turn can be effective teachers. Their Attention, Interact, Apply, Invite (AIAI) and Fact, Think, Feel, Do (FTFD) teaching methodology integrate different methodological and theoretical frameworks to form three main principles for teaching family life educators. The first principle AIAI (Attention, Interact, Apply, and Invite) requires that a teacher first catches the students’ attention so that they are psychologically prepared to learn. The educator should then use interaction with the students to introduce new information before applying the new information to real life situations, enabling the student to link theory to practice. Lastly, the educator should invite the students to choose some information from each class and then add it to their own repertoire of knowledge and skills. The second [principle is for the teacher to use variety in his presentation to avoid monotony and pace the rate at which new information is presented to the learners to avoid overloading. The third principle, FTFD, involves encouraging the students to question the facts presented, thinking critically about them before deciding if they can apply them to their lives.

Research article 2: Collaborative Inquiry at a Children’s Museum: Benefits for Student Learning, Museum Outcomes, and Faculty Scholarship. Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education

There is a need to teach family life education in all levels of education and the earlier that American young people are taught family life education the better because the skills learned from family life education are widely applicable to their daily lives. However, teaching young children family life education can be challenging because they do not have the necessary awareness to fully focus on the task of learning family life education (Williams, & Spars, 2011). The family life educator must therefore be innovative and use approaches that will arrest the attention of the students to help them learn principles of family life education. In addition, the educator should make learning fun and engaging so that learners can learn while having fun and enjoying themselves. One of the ways to engage the interest of students in family life education is to have them work on a current issue or trend among families, encouraging then to research and write comprehensively about the issue (Williams, & Spars, 2011). Students can then present their findings to their peers and facilitate a discussion on the findings to determine its effect on their peers’ learning outcomes.

The use of a hands-on approach can be an effective tool in helping students to learn family life education effectively considering that it affords learners with the opportunity to directly link and apply theory to practice (Williams, & Spars, 2011). Students can be given a field trip to go and visit a workplace and perform a needs evaluation of the workplace. Students can be sent, for example, to a museum to perform a program evaluation of the museum and determine the needs of the museum. In this way, students not only learn a practical aspect of family life education but also have fun by spending time in the museum (Williams, & Spars, 2011). Family life educators must be innovative and think outside the box in designing pedagogical approaches and activities for teaching family life education to young people.

Conclusion

The profession of family life education is now maturing and is becoming well defined in its scope and in the core competencies that are requires for its professionals. The drive to professionalize family life education training and practice has been a boon for the public perception of the profession and the public is increasingly having confidence in family life education as well as appreciating the need for family life educators. However, despite the strides that have been made in professionalizing and popularizing family life education, a considerable amount of work still needs to be done. The image of family life education remains vague to the public eye and much is needed to clarify the aims and purposes of family life education to the public. The scarcity of family life educators across the country provides both an opportunity and a challenge to the profession. There is need to quickly produce sufficient numbers of family life educators to cater to the demand that exists in the marketplace. However, the drive to produce more family life educators should not be at the cost of lowering the standards within the profession, which have taken a long time to be established.

Family life education is a very young profession compared to some of the other professions and hence it still has many gaps in theory and practice. The amount of research in family life education is much lower compared to other fields. There is need to conduct more research so that an empirical basis can be established for some of the profession’s theories and practices. Research can also help to develop new theoretical frameworks on which the teaching and practice of family life education can be anchored. A vast majority of young Americans graduating from high school have very poor personal financial management skills, which is worrying for mot only their own futures but also to the future of the nation. Therefore, there is need to make concerted efforts to introduce family life education to young people as early as possible to increase their competency in tackling life’s various situations.

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