Child in the Family and the Community

Child in the Family and the Community

by Janet Gonzalez-Mena

Paperback(Older Edition)



Recognizing that socialization is one of the most important aspects of child development, this lively and engaging book examines socialization issues of young children during child rearing, in child care facilities, and in the early education system within a developmental context. Child development as it relates to a child's first eight years, to a healthy family, and to a multicultural community is presented to readers through personal stories, vignettes, pictures, and a wealth of examples. For anyone with a personal or professional interest in early childhood development and education.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780023445613
Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
Publication date: 08/28/1993
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 320

Table of Contents


1. Attachment.
2. Autonomy.
3. Initiative.
4. Self-Esteem.


5. Goals, Values, and Culture.
6. Childcare: An Extension of the Family.
7. Disciplining for High Self-Esteem.
8. Accepting Feelings.
9. Problem Solving.
10. Strokes and Affirmations: A Path to Self-Esteem.
11. Modeling and Teaching Sex Roles.
12. Stress and Success in Family Life.


13. Community Resources.
14. Socializing Agents.
15. Social Policy Issues.


This third edition of The Child in the Family and the Community is still the same personal book, written to the reader from the author about the socialization of young children in child rearing, caring, and educational contexts. It focuses on developmental theory, but also on diverse perspectives. The style is different from most textbooks because of its emphasis on real-life experience and personal insight, in addition to academic discipline. The theory behind the practical emphasis is explained in terms of specific concrete examples.

This text approaches learning by using constructivist theory and fits with Jean Piaget's ideas about learners attaching new knowledge to existing knowledge. In other words, readers are encouraged to reach into their own experience to make sense of new information in terms of what they already know.

Because whatever we read is always filtered through our own subjective experience, this text acknowledges that fact and capitalizes on it. The author lets her voice come through as she tells personal stories and shares insights. Students are asked regularly to look at the issues, information, and examples the text presents in light of their own ideas, feelings, and experience. Examples given are designed to appeal to both traditional and nontraditional students by reflecting the demographics of the United States today.

This book is based on twenty-eight years of experience teaching a course on socialization called "Child, Family, and Community" in early childhood departments in several community colleges and in the Child and Family Studies Program at Napa Valley College in northern California. It provides informationthat students need to work with and rear young children. It is written for early childhood students who plan to be teachers, caregivers, child care workers, family child care providers, or parents. General education students will also benefit. Trainers in the field will find -the book valuable for use in inservice training for teachers and child care workers; parent educators will find it useful as well.


The age range the text focuses on is now expanded from birth to 8 years of age in accordance with the definition of early childhood education. The first section shows a developmental sequence, with chapter 4 focusing more on kindergarten and primary children than in the past editions. The subject of play which had been mostly contained in chapter 3 about preschool children, has expanded beyond that chapter. Cognitive development as it relates to socialization as well as some information about brain research, is now included in this new edition.

Because inclusion of children who have special needs has become more and more a focus in the field of early care and education, the needs of those children are addressed in greater detail in this edition. This information is important to students going into early childhood education because the field of special education and early education are working more closely together than ever before.

The pedagogical material at the beginning and end of each chapter has been consolidated so it is not so daunting to the student. Teasers designed to pique the student's curiosity still open each chapter and discussion questions still end the chapters. The references and Further Reading sections are designed for the student who wants to go further into a subject.

Of course, the new edition continues to focus on up-to-the minute issues, and gives an even broader coverage of topics than before. The extensive reference lists represent an expansive view of culture and gender issues, reflecting both recent and classic well-respected works in the field. This edition contains even more material on cultural perspectives, and racial, class, and gender issues, always emphasizing a multicultural/antibias approach for a pluralistic America.

Perhaps the highest compliment paid to this text was a remark made by an African-American community college instructor. The occasion was a statewide discussion of rewriting the early childhood course curriculum to infuse diversity into each class. The instructor announced that she wasn't going to touch her "Child, Family and Community" class, because "with Janet's book as the text the course already met the diversity requirement."


Part 1, The Child: Socialization in a Developmental Context, examines the developmental context of socialization, providing information about the foundations of socialization and examining four major issues of the first 8 years.

The reader is led to examine brief overviews of three perspectives of child development theory and then is introduced to the dynamic theory on which this book is based. An inclusive theory, it regards behavior as a result of the interplay of the biological organism (and his or her individual genetic makeup) with developmental stage theory, behaviorism, and social learning theory.

Chapter 1, Attachment, looks at Erik Erikson's stage of trust versus mistrust and examines how attachment relates to this stage. Building relationships and meeting needs are important themes of this first chapter, which looks at both child care and parenting. The attachment of a baby who was prenatally exposed to drugs is a sidelight of this chapter.

Chapter 2, Autonomy, explores the toddler behaviors that indicate the push toward becoming a separate independent individual-behaviors such as rebellion and negativity, exploration, self-help skills, and a sense of possession. Loss and separation and helping toddlers develop the skills needed to cope are also features of this chapter. Teen parents—children raising children—is a sidelight of this chapter.

Chapter 3, Initiative, explores the development of a conscience by explaining the second two of Erik Erikson's conflicts, autonomy versus shame and doubt and initiative versus guilt. Also featured are the role of imagination and fantasy; a look at shy children and aggressive children; and how to empower children. Sidelights of this chapter include a look at a child with attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (AD/HD), differing perspectives on childrearing, and addressing the roots of violence by teaching problem-solving skill.

Chapter 4, Self-Esteem, discusses what self-esteem is and how to influence it. Dimensions of self-esteem are laid out and suggestions of how to promote self-esteem are given. The chapter also includes an examination of the relationship of cultural differences to self-esteem and how an antibias approach can promote self-esteem. A sidelight of this chapter is a peek into a preschool staff meeting where teachers discuss the self-esteem of 4-year-old Travis.

Part 2, The Family: Socialization for High Self-Esteem in Healthy Families, looks at the socialization of the child in a family context and is designed to present a view of the array of components essential for high self-esteem and mental health.

Chapter 5, Goals, Values, and Culture, starts with a look at cultural differences in goals and values and the relationship of those goals and values to child rearing. It explores contrasting cultural patterns and the cultural conflicts that sometimes occur. Another major theme of this chapter is teaching morals and values to children. A sidelight of this chapter is a comparison of the values of independence and interdependence and how they show up in child-rearing practices.

Chapter 6, Child Care: An Extension of the Family, looks at child care as a childrearing environment that supplements the home. The state of child care in America today is examined as well as the issues of affordability and availability. Quality is considered as well as what goes into making for quality child care settings. The concept of the gap between school and home is discussed, and there is an exploration of parent-provider relations. Sidelights of this chapter are the stories of Debbie, Walt, and Sean, who are looking for child care for their children.

Chapter 7, Disciplining for High Self-Esteem, starts by defining the word discipline. It looks at seven ways to prevent the need for controlling children's behavior and then examines seven ways to respond to unacceptable behavior. Sidelights of this chapter are the story of one mother who stopped using punishment and started using consequences to guide the behavior of her son, the story of a mother who has abused her child, and the story of what one town did to work toward preventing physical abuse of its children.

Chapter 8, Accepting Feelings, starts with the proposition that all feelings are positive and need to be accepted, and then it discusses how we learn feelings, including cultural scripts. Ways to teach children to express and cope with feelings are explored. Sidelights of this chapter show how Marcie, stepmother of Amy, learns to cope with her anger in healthy ways, and how Julie, another mother, learns to let go of responsibility for her child's feelings.

Chapter 9, Problem Solving, is about conflicting needs and what to do about them. What to do when the child has the problem is different from what to do when the parent has the problem or when both have problems. The chapter also explains the problem-solving process and gives a structure to follow. How problem solving relates to cognitive development is also explored. When parents don't know about using problem-solving approaches, emotional abuse can occur. A sidelight of this chapter is the story of Brian, a stepfather who was emotionally abused as a child. Brian refuses to do the same to his stepchildren.

Chapter 10, Strokes and Affirmations: A Path to Self-Esteem, looks closely at promoting self-esteem in specific ways. The chapter advocates using strokes to change behavior and affirmations to create "self-fulfilling prophecies." Adult self-esteem relates to child self-esteem, so suggestions for how adults can work on their own self-esteem are included. A sidelight of this chapter tells how Mary and her daughter Susan disagree over the need for stroking Susan's son, Jake. Another sidelight is the story of how Jennifer, a single parent, discovers that she is inadvertently sexist in the ways she strokes her children.

Chapter 11, Modeling and Teaching Sex Roles, starts with a quick history of the struggle for women's equality and goes on to look at sex equity and child rearing. The relationship of choice of toys to broadening or narrowing children's options is explored. Language issues and differential socialization are examined and guidelines for parents and teachers are laid out. A sidelight of this chapter is a discussion about cultural differences in sex roles, and where traditional roles end and oppression begins.

Chapter 12, Stress and Success in Family Life, looks at what it takes to be a healthy family and examines the lives of six families who, in spite of many stresses, are struggling to be successful. This chapter touches on the issues of substance abuse, divorce, child custody, and poverty. It examines the influence of family structure and makeup and includes nuclear families, single parenting, stepfamilies and blended families, teen parents, and children with special needs. A sidelight of this chapter looks at what families do in early childhood that helps ensure later school success.

Part 3, The Community: Socialization in the Community Context, looks at the broader issues of socialization. The child, with developmental issues unfolding within the family is now viewed in a community context. Part 3 includes society's goals and values from a "majority" and "minority" perspective and discusses the effects of racism, classism, and sexism on the socialization of children.

Chapter 13, Community Resources, looks at the way the community serves and supports families through social networks and institutions. The chapter shows how the six families of chapter 12 connect to the resources in their community. A sidelight of the chapter is a description of various ways that families find and get connected to community resources.

Chapter 14, Socializing Agents, looks at a number of agents, including the family schools, peer group, and the media. The chapter also examines factors in socialization such as inequity and diversity, classism, and racism. Sidelights of the chapter include a look into what "ready to learn" really means and also recommendations regarding television and young children.

Chapter 15, Social Policy Issues, considers what the community can do to ensure that all children get an equal chance to develop high self-esteem and fulfill themselves in our society. This chapter examines social policy issues and addresses the question, "Who is responsible for America's children?" It ends with a discussion of child advocacy. Sidelights of the chapter include culturally responsive care, recommendations for childcare, and statistics responding to the question, "Does every child get an equal start?"

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