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Relationships In Families

Different types of relationships that children in middle childhood will experience within their family.

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Parenting Styles

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There are four different types of parenting styles that parents may practice; they are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved. Research has found that authoritative parenting is the most positive style because although it is high in control, it is also high in warmth. Parents may have rules and limits set for their children but they allow their children to express theirs thoughts and feelings. They let their children have a sense of autonomy rather than being over-controlling which may smolder the child and cause social and emotional problems. While permissive parenting may seem ideal, it gives children too much control to the point that their parents are more of a friend than parent figure. These children are able to overpower their parents and get away with how they please; this may hurt them outside the family because they are not always going to get away with overpowering an adult figure. Permissive parenting may end up promoting more bullying and lack of respect towards others in middle childhood.

Sibling Relationships

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During middle childhood, there are high levels of sibling conflicts happening (Zembar & Blume, 2009). Conflicts can revolve around personal possession, physical fighting, or telling on each other. Children's language and cognitive development has increased in middle childhood and this contributes to more verbal arguments that continue back and forth. There is more conflict with siblings of a closer age than siblings with a larger age difference; this could be explained as children that are in a similar age group are sharing more of their developmental goals together compared to if their sibling is older. A positive aspect of sibling conflict is it can help promote problem solving skills for the future.

Family Triangles

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Triangles typically occur when two members of the family have problems and they will include a third person in to try and balance the relationship. Children are usually involved in triangles as the third subsystem. Children in middle childhood may be included in triangles with their divorced parents, parents that are arguing, or single parent and a grandparent. In a triangle, children may feel pressured because they do not know which side they should take and they may try to successfully or unsuccessfully be a neutralizer. Relationships like this in a family is unhealthy for a child because this may cause them stress, emotional problems, or stress.

Impact of Divorce

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Children that have divorced parents are found to have higher rates behavioral problems, stress, anti-social behavior, and low school achievements (Zembar & Blume, 2009). Children in middle childhood have a better idea of identifying the reasons behind divorce unlike younger children that may feel more scared and believe they are the reasons for their parents separation. School age children will be able to cope more efficiently because they are more cognitively advanced than younger children. If divorced parents have a positive relationship by being cooperative and civil the children will have a more positive development where there are less negative effects. Since children see parents as role models, parents that handle divorce in a more efficient manner will teach children better social skills and decrease the risk of divorce for them in the future.

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