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Children in Changing Family Structures. Jan Pryor Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families Victoria University Wellington New Zealand. ‘Child Development: a field of study devoted to understanding all aspects of human growth and change from conception through adolescence.’ Laura Berk.

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Children in changing family structures

Children in Changing Family Structures

Jan Pryor

Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families

Victoria University

Wellington

New Zealand


Children in changing family structures

  • ‘Child Development: a field of study devoted to understanding all aspects of human growth and change from conception through adolescence.’ Laura Berk.

  • ‘A family is a group of people which all care about each other. They can cry together, laugh together, argue together and go through all the emotions together. Some live together as well. Families are for helping each other through life.’ 13 year old girl.


Four paradigms of childhood
Four paradigms of childhood understanding all aspects of human growth and change from conception through adolescence.’ Laura Berk.

  • Children as devils (original sin)

  • Children as tabula rasa (John Locke)

  • Children as angels (Rousseau)

  • Children as embryonic adults


Children in changing family structures

  • ‘For those researchers for whom exploring children’s roles as social actors constitutes a central concern, children’s competence is taken for granted. The question they pose, instead, is how that competence is acknowledged and expressed or disguised and controlled in and through children’s everyday relationships.’ James, 1998.


Children in changing family structures

  • ‘The peculiarity of the late twentieth century and the root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.


History of families
History of Families root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • Households as economic units (17th and 18th centuries)

  • Industrial revolution (19th century)

  • Compulsory education for children (late 19th century)


Twentieth century changes
Twentieth century changes root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • Lower mortality and ability to control fertility

  • Heyday of nuclear family

  • ‘Companionate’ marriages

  • Feminist movement


20th century changes cont
20th Century changes cont. root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • Women moving into the workforce

  • Increased rates of separation and divorce

  • Increased rates of cohabitation

  • Increased rates of re-partnering


How do today s families look
How do today’s families look? root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • Marriage and childbirth happening at later ages

  • Commitment no longer precedes cohabiting

  • Fathers both more and less involved with children


Sole father households in nz 2001
Sole father households in NZ 2001 root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • 16.5% of sole parent households headed by fathers

  • Over a quarter of sole parent households with 15-17 year olds headed by fathers

  • Over 22% of sole parent households with 10 to 14 year-olds headed by fathers


Today s families cont
Today’s families cont. root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • Diversity of family structures; children may be raised by same-sex, unmarried, multiple, nonrelated parents.

  • Children likely to experience one or more family transitions in childhood


Transition statistics from christchurch longitudinal study
Transition statistics from Christchurch longitudinal study root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • 50% of children either born into or entered a single parent family by age 16

  • 71% of these re-entered a 2 parent family within five years

  • 53% remarriages or repartnerships dissolved within five years


Christchurch longitudinal study cont
Christchurch longitudinal study cont. root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • 70% reconciled families dissolved within five years

  • 27% children had experienced 2 family situations by the age of nine

  • 18% had experienced 3 family situations by the age of nine.


Today s families cont1
Today’s families cont. root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • Paramountcy of the parent-child relationship

  • Multiple ethnicities

  • Children’s power in families and society


Implications for developmental psychology
Implications for Developmental Psychology root cause of much confusion and angst about childhood, is that a public discourse that argues that children are persons with rights to a degree of autonomy is at odds with the remnants of the romantic view that the right of a child is to be a child.’ Cunningham 1995.

  • Attachment

  • Parenting

  • Biological vs fictive kin

  • Identity