Family Influences on Socioemotional Development
Although the family has many different functions in society, the contribution it makes to the care and socialization of children is easily its most important mission. In South Africa, as in many societies, the family has few rivals with respect to the depth and breadth of its impact on children's lives. More often than not young children spend most of their young lives in and around their homes, often under the watchful eye of the family. Consequently the family is the most significant determinant of the quality of care and the adequacy of material and psychological resources available to a child. Under optimal conditions, the family is the ultimate refuge, the safe haven, a shelter against a harsh, indifferent world. Clearly the family is expected to provide adequate monitoring supervision and to protect children from dangers. It must assure that infants and toddlers do not fall prey to accidents or harm that might threaten their lives. Older children must be educated so that their talents and capacities are developed to the fullest.