The Dynamics of Family Structure and Its Impact on Educational Achievement

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Title: The Dynamics of Family Structure and its impact on Educational Achievement

A Paper Presented in partial Fulfillment

Of the Requirements of HS817 Social Systems

April 16, 2007

Abstract

This paper will examine the effects of family structure and its influence on educational achievement. The link between family structure and educational achievement suggests that children living in nuclear families are more successful academically. Research has consistently shown that family structure can facilitate or limit the ways in which parents are able to positively influence the future educational outcomes of their children. Family influences on children’s educational achievement are evident throughout literature; it has been shown that the influences of family structure impacts children’s academic success across grades, gender, and ethnic groups (Marchant, G. J., Paulson, S. E., and Rothlisberg, B. A., 2001).

Table of Contents

Table of contents ii

Introduction 1

Define Family Structure 1

Family/Parental Involvement Impact on Education 2

Literature For and Against Family Structure and its impact on Education 4

Significance of Family from System Theory Approach 5

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory of Development 5

Conclusion and Relevance 6

References 8

Introduction
Research on family structure has generally shown a connection between non-traditional family structure and negative educational outcomes. Family structure also impacts behavior, socioeconomic status, marital satisfaction, health, and educational attainment in adulthood. Research suggests that the effect of non-traditional family structure on children’s educational and social development is negative and significant. “Defining family structure has been a recent subject of debate, and the resulting ambiguity in terminology has contributed to the confusion about its effects” (Popenoe, 1993; Stacey, 1993). In describing households that do not conform to the “normal or traditional” conception of family (that is, two married parents and their biological children), researchers often employ categories such as traditional/non-traditional, intact/non-intact, biological or natural parents, stepparents, cohabiting partners, and single parent households. Family structure in the United States has experienced significant changes. The system theory approach to family includes interdependence one part of the family as a system cannot be understood in isolation from the other parts. Therefore, this learner believes that family structure impacts children’s educational achievement. Family Structure

The nuclear family structure refers to households consisting of two married parents and their biological children. Non-traditional variations in family structure include families with one biological parent and one step parent: one or both of them have children from their previous marriage (blended families); a single parent (mother only or father only households); cohabiting parent’s (individuals living together but not married); or extended families “family members who are related by blood, marriage or adoption” who share in the responsibility of caregiving i.e. grandparents, aunts or uncles (Jarrett, R. L. and Burton, L. M.,1999) . Over the years, the percentage of children living in two-parent homes decreased from over 85 percent in 1968 to less than 70 percent in 2003, and the...
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