chapter  Eleven
12 Pages

Families and schools

WithBiddy Youell, Hamish Canham

The family is the first group the child belongs to. It is the arrival of a baby which transforms a couple into a family unit, establishing a new generation in the extended family group. There is now an enormous range of family patterns, due to social changes such as the increase in divorce rate, the proliferation of temporary partnerships, gay parenthood, and so on. In short, the nuclear family is rife with ambivalence—with envy, jealousy, rivalry, and hatred, as well as profound feelings of love and commitment. The family must also protect children from harm, introduce them to the social world, and promote their growth, with a view to their eventual separation. Children come to school with a “family in mind”. The family experiences and parental relationships internalized during the early months and years will be the backdrop against which they view the new experience.