Instructor: Stacey Rose
The Four Systems of the Bioecological Model of Human Development
For many, the idea that biology and genetics influence human development is not a foreign concept; however it has become increasingly accepted that ecological systems also play and intricate role in this development. Ecological systems primarily focus on the interpersonal relationships one has with their environment. A child’s environment tremendously impacts how they learn, how they develop intellectually, cognitively, emotionally, and what their morals and values become. The bioecological model of human development that Urie Bronfenbrenner developed gives light to the fundamental impact that social interactions and environment have in human development. He describes four distinct systems that are the most influential: microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems, and macrosystems. Bronfenbrenner’s theory proposes that the four types of environments all simultaneously influence an individual. He suggests that people cannot fully understand human development without considering how a person is influenced through each of these systems (Zaden, 2007). These environments create the continuity of change that extends throughout the course of a lifetime and the residual effects carry through the generations to come (Bronfenbrenner and Morris, 2007). The developing person’s interactions between their microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem unveil the person they will become. The first system that influences development is the microsystem. The microsystem refers to the interaction and relationship that the individual has with significant figures in their life such as, family, peers, school, and the community (Berns, 2010). This system’s interactions are in a close setting of their immediate environment and would be considered the most influential system of the developing human. The microsystem is the most influential system because the child has direct interaction with these individuals; that interaction occurs on a consistent basis over an extended period of time (Brofenbrenner, 2004). Family is the most significant relationship of the microsystem; they play an intricate part in the ecological human development. The most time is spent at home with the family; they provide shelter and safety, and also provide emotional support for the child. The parent for example, interacts with the child on a daily basis, they provide a safe and healthy relationship and an environment for them to grow and prosper. The way the parent plays with the child, teaches them, and communicates with them has a lot of influence on their development. The parenting style a child receives paves the way in their ability to communicate with others, their self-esteem, and the attitude and behaviors they exude. The main parenting styles are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and non-involved. The authoritarian parent is strict and demanding; this creates a child that grows up to behave withdrawn, fearful, and distrustful of others. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the permissive parent. The child raised in a permissive household is more likely to be aggressive, impulsive, and have little self-reliance. The healthy balance between the two styles is the authoritative parent who raises a content, cooperative, and self-reliant child (Berns, 2010). The parent gives the child the ability to create secure attachments with others and to have a healthy and positive disposition. The emotional connectivity of this relationship is a direct reflection of a child’s ability to connect and communicate with all other systems. Parenting styles are not the only ways that family can influence development; family structure also has a great impact. The nuclear family consists of a mom, a dad, and the children, but not all households are...