Social Psychology is a branch of Psychology that seeks to understand how certain social factors affect or influence human behavior and attitudes towards issues of life. It analyses social factors or social forces based on social cognition or human cognitive processes which either work out peace or conflicts in human relations. It seeks to understand the social processes and how they influence social situations.
It also seeks to analyze social environments like a culture, work place, a school environment, a family set up, a sports club, a church environment and how they influence individual behavior and attitudes. It also endeavors to analyses conflicts, dwelling on its causes and how to resolve it. It is a subject of great importance since as human being we are affected by all the issues addressed in this field of knowledge in our day-to-day activities and life.
The issues addressed avail a lot in terms of behaviour and attitude formation and also change. My discussion seeks to analyze family conflicts centering on children rebellion against parents. It is based on psychosocial foundations and the discussion attempts to analyze a family set up or environment, children upbringing and how it affects the behaviour of the children towards one another and towards the parents and how religious beliefs, culture, workplace among other social forces influence behaviour in a family set up.
It will analyze issues to do with family conflicts, causes and different methods that families employ in conflict resolution all based on psychological foundations of social behaviour. What are family conflicts? What is child rebellion? What social factors or faces contribute or fuel the family conflicts? The discussion will attempt to analyze the social factors that influence such behaviour, touch on cultural impact on family, behaviour and seek to analyze the causes of family conflicts suggesting ways of resolving it.
The discussion addresses aggression and altruism and their effects on family behavior (Ethier, Kathleen , & Deaux. , 1994). Family conflicts present themselves as the differences of whatever magnitude existing between family members. These range from minor disagreements to family feuds. It is work noting that, unless resolved even smaller of minor differences may later cause major may later cause major rifts between family members with extreme devastating effects. Brewing animosity can cause a major split along social lines.
Children rebellion is generally caused by differences between parents and children which may be fuelled by differences in ideologies or by a way of upbringing since childhood that leads to a child adopting certain defense mechanisms aimed at liberating the child from the perceived mistreatment or imprisonment by the parents and especially at adolescence when a child embarks on self expression(Goffman, 1956). Children aggression comes about as the children seek to achieve certain goals but encounter barriers that seem to prevent them from achieving the same.
Certain social factors influence this kind of behaviour in families. Different social environments affect children in different ways. Its possible to find a family composed of individual with different ideological orientations and experiences. For instance, some families consist of members who go to different churches or affiliates of different religions. Different religions backgrounds may cause major differences in the way individuals in a family approach life. For example, some religions embrace communism and simple life while others embrace material prosperity.
Such differences can cause problems because some children may be possessed by the idea of accumulating wealth when the parents expect support. These children perceive a person who is right with God as a person who has prospered materially and any barrier to this end would be approached with a lot of aggression. Therefore, parents encouraging a simple life and who offers no support to ensure children prosperity would be perceived as barriers to success and to religious achievements and such children would definitely express serious animosity towards the parents.
There will be a tassel and a tag of war from the two parties. Idea and experiences at schools can also greatly affect children’s behaviour. For instance, pupils share different family experiences. If a child realizes that his/her parents do not offer certain opportunities and privilege offered by another, a problem starts and the child will start expressing opposition towards parents decline to offer the same, out of aggression the child turns rebellious not unless something else is done to revert that.
Just to revisit the issue of church influence on family behaviour, the Christian church encourages a new couple to lead an independent life. It discourages influence from without. Infact it talks about both leaving their parents and writing to form one independent union. This means that any interference from outside whether from parents, siblings or other outsiders would be viewed negatively. Parents who attempts to control the marriages of such couples face great opposition and in most cases rebellion.
Some children after marriage disappear to places where such influence would be absent. The culture of a certain community greatly affects family behaviour. A capitalistic community will lead to development smaller set-ups (families), which will be different from a communist society Capitalistic society encourages individual prosperity opposed to a communistic society, which encourages a unified society where no socio-economic classes are expected to form. The level of aggression in both set-ups will be different.
For instance, individuals in a capitalistic community seek individual well being and the expense of communal well being. Individuals seek to acquire wealth through all possible means and exploitation of other people for material gain becomes a common occurrence. Even in a family set up individuals will struggle to acquire wealth of the expense of the family welfare. This causes splits and at times parents are left without people to take care of them especially at old age. A communistic society inculcates a culture of unity and togetherness.
Individuals seek the welfare of the entire community or society. Such individuals easily co-operate with other, are loving, caring and concerned as opposed to capitalists who are self-seekers, egocentric and unyielding. Children in a capitalistic society sometimes fail to co-operate with other family members and especially parents not unless the parents support their pursuits. This is because they perceive them as barriers to their success. Such individuals will not care in case they hurt others and so long as there are material gains, the motive will always surpass any norms or values.
Such a person is disproved of good judgment and all decisions are aimed at achieving materially. All social environments aim at helping the affiliate to conform fully to its systems. It persuades an individual to accept what it offers and ignore anything that interferes with its structures. However, it is worth noting that societies are currently experiencing a lot of dynamism and different cultures are accommodating changes in the modern world more than in the past. This means that most cultures embrace conformity, but still giving an allowance for individual choice except for a few conservative cultures of the world.
Cultures provide certain attractions to ensure conformity. Other communities put their members through a long process of initiation whereby certain values and norms are passed to the individual. This is done in their attempts to ensure continuity. Families are experiencing a lot of changes in modern generations are dropping and forfeiting smaller community affiliations and are embracing the dynamism and changes upheld on a global scale. What does this mean? Children cease to uphold the values and norms of the smaller communities and they are seeking a uniform global culture.
Some children quit the conservative mainstream churches and join the charismatic religions movements. Children are aspiring to study abroad or in areas that make them experience the cultural diversity offered by the numerous and varied cultures or societies of the world. Current generations are no longer drawn towards their minor cultures and to some their cultures are stale and they would with to have a fresh experience. This has caused a lot of struggle on the parent’s side in their attempts to persuade their children to embrace their cultural values (Heise, & David, 1987.
Currently, intermarriages are the order of the day. Someone can marry from any race, any community regardless of the existing differences. One would wonder whether the stereotypes formed in the past went. In the past the society was characterized by a lot of prejudice and stereotype formation. A community would not mingle with another because they differed in certain ways or simply because of a certain perceived way of life that a community does not embrace. A member from a certain community would be viewed and perceived based on the culture of his/her community and not as a different entity from the whole.
Racism has been a nagging problem and up to date some individuals from certain races cannot interact or associate with others from certain other races because of the perceived inherent differences. However, societal changes are erasing such prejudice and the stereotypes earlier formed. But, are parents in some societies or communities welcoming this? If not how do individuals in such communities who embrace such changes approach it? Definitely with shear aggression some individuals who decide to marry from a community that their parents hate or would not wish them to marry from ends up running way from their homes.
A lot of differences arise between parents and children and especially in this area. Social interactions between people from different cultures bring about an influence that are cross-cultural and that is how the world is developing life a unified society ( Icek, 1988). Human behavior and attitudes towards life is majorly characterized by reciprocity and not altruism. People react positively to positive stimulants and negatively to negative and undesirable experiences.
Children at times need parent’s resistance to change with a lot of animosity and instead of feeling for the parents and seeking to resolve the differences and arising conflicts objectively; they develop deviance which exacerbates the general situation. Therefore we would say that the modern generation is getting more and more aggressive than altruistic and individuals are poised to reciprocate in every situation. Changes in the social-economic structures have cause myriad of challenges and these challenges make people to more and more aggressive (Bandura, 1977).
Aggression starts right from individual and it extends all the way to a national and even global scale. For instance, countries fail to sign a truce, the reason being that each individual country does not want to drop their aims, ambitions and aspirations. From my own experience, since childhood, I grew up in a mainstream protestant movement. But at University level, I was introduced to a modern religious movement, which embraces the basic tenets of Christianity which after going through a series of deep religious lessons impacted my heart.
I joined the movement but upon realization of my changed religious affiliation my parents went ahead to castigate me. My mum one time could not help but rent her anger and frustration. My understanding and maturity helped me compose myself and I never reacted harshly but kept calm all along. These studies on social psychology has really given me a new perspective and has transformed my way of approaching conflict and especially at family level. I would say that I understand why people resist change and how social set-ups influence attitude and behaviour and how to go about resolving conflicts.
It has also helped me understand the power of a group and the influence of groups on individual behaviour. To wrap up, it is worth noting that the social environment will always inevitably influence people’s behaviour and attitudes. People’s social-cultural affiliations have a great influence on their approach towards life and generally how they perceive themselves and others. They determine what directions they take in terms of ambitions and aspirations and the efforts they make to achieve them. They also influence their conflict resolution systems and processes.