SOC 312: Child, Family, & Society
Instructor: Stephanie Heald
September 9, 2012
The Bioecological Model of Human Development
There are four systems that are used to describe the development of children: microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem. These systems occur between birth and adolescence. These systems each contain norms, roles, and rules that shape development in children. These systems determine which relationships and interactions take place to form patterns that affect human development.
The microsystem refers to the activities and relationships with significant others experienced by a developing person in a particular setting such as family, school, peer group, or community. The mesosystem consists of linkages and interrelationships between two or more of a developing persons. Microsystems, such as the family and the school, or the family and the peer group. The exosystem refers to the setting in which children are not active participants, but that affect them in one of their mirocsystems. The macrosystem consists of the society and subculture to which the developing person belongs, with particular reference to the belief systems, lifestyles, patterns of social interaction, and life changes (Berns, 2013).
The microsystem influences development of the child in a family setting because this is the primary socialize of the child in that it has the most significant impact of the child’s development. In the school setting where children learn the teacher encourages the development of various skills and behaviors by being role models and providing motivation for children to
succeed in learning. In the peer group setting peers provide companionship and support as well as learning experiences in cooperation and role taking. Children are influenced by the community because children learn by doing. The facilities available to children determine what real experiences they will have. The media influences the microsystem by providing a setting where the child can view the whole world. Much of today’s technology is interactive, such as computerized games, and other media combined with cell phones, provide opportunities to relate socially (Berns, 2013).
The impact of the mesosystems on the child depends on the number and quality of interrelationships. Mesosystems are very important to a child’s development and can be complicated in their effect on the child. I like to think of a Mesosystem as an opportunity to build a “bridge” between two settings in the child’s life that might otherwise be unrelated. For instance, if a child grows up in a home in which there is a particular value system…expectations for behavior, discipline style, etc., and goes to school in a classroom with a slightly different set of expectations and discipline style, the child must cope with that transition independently every day. This is not an impossible task…and in fact children tend to be quite good at learning that different settings or different people expect different things of them. (Remember how you learned at a young age which parent you should ask for a special privilege, or which parent you should tell when you had done something wrong, or how Grandma would let you get away with things you could never do at home!) However, when you think about all the many Microsystems a child experiences in a lifetime, you begin to realize HOW MANY adjustments the child must make. The child’s understanding of these variations and differences between settings is aided
when we build a bridge between other familiar settings. This way, to some extent, the child does not enter every new Microsystem alone…but with a part of another familiar setting (Bronfenbrenner).
Children's behavior is definitely affected by traits inherited from their parents. Although subject to change by outside influences, a child's personality, his likes and dislikes, and...