Family is one of the most powerful influences on an individual’s development

As an individual develops, there are many external forces which influence his or her life in a positively or negative way. One of the major influences is the family to which an individual is born in.

Families exist in different forms and the manner in which different people describe families is a major determinant of what we view as a normal family. For example, while to some a nuclear family is the normal family, in some other cultures the family is considered whole only after inclusion of the extended family. How a family influences development of an individual is a matter of concern to many scholars (Schulz 16). From a sociological point of view, a family influences the development of an individual in a functionalistic perspective whereby the individual develops through the functions or the activities which are performed within it.

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Examples of such activities include socialization, protection, and reproduction. It is important to note that initially, an individual relates to these activities according to how their family does them though it does not necessarily mean they follow everything. According to Whiston and Keller (518), the family into which an individual is born influences much on both career and occupational development of the person. Since most of the individuals are likely to seek advice from their family members, it is important for counselors to seek ways in which they can advice families on how they such families can have a positive influence on their children. The family influences development of an individual through four levels which are: child level, adolescent, college and adult life. However, though the family may positively or negatively influence the career development in which an individual can follow, it is important also to note that career development is influenced by many other factors such as race, gender and age of the individual (Whiston and Keller 518) While studying credit constraints (school abilities and deficiencies) experts found that there was a relationship between the family and college attendance: it was found out that there is a relationship between college attendance and the family or the parental income. It was found out that attendance to colleges increased as the returns to the family increased.

This attendance dimension shows that income inequality among families and races will still continue to be a problem. The study concluded that credit constraints facing families influences greatly the chances of the adolescent attending college due to the lack of resources and thus influence the individual development in the process. Another issue which could influence the development of an individual is the fact that long terms associated with life are associated to the family income. A family with a strong income correlates with the individual life cycle. High income in the family ensures that the individual passes through the whole education system and thus he acquires both cognitive and non cognitive abilities in life enabling him or her develop wholly (Carneilo, Cunha and Heckman 14). If one wanted to understand well how family influences development of an individual, he or she needs to view a family as a large convoy that surrounds and individual over life time. The quantity and quality of family relations whether these relationships are positive or negative, gender and the role occupied in the familiar unit influence an individual.

It however remains a challenge to many experts who despite their positive relationship between the family and the individual development, are unable to explain the differences which arise between two children of the same family (Schulz 415).

Works Cited

Carneiro, Pedro., Cunha, Flavio and Heckman James. Interpreting the Evidence of Family Influence on Child Development. 2007. 6 May 2011. Schulz Richard. The Encyclopedia of Aging: A-K.

4th Edition. New York: Springer Publishers, 2006. Print. Whiston, Susan and Keller, Briana. The Influences of the Family of Origin on Career Development. 2007.

The Counseling Psychologist. 32. 4(2007): 493-568


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