chapter  10
Neighborhood and Community Influences on Parenting
WithJames Garbarino, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Kathleen Kostelny
Pages 22

Families are, to a certain degree, “open systems,” and are thus influenced by the larger social context (Bronfenbrenner, 1986; Furstenberg, Cook, Eccles, Elder, & Sameroff, 1999; Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000; Minuchin, 1974; Stinnett, Chesser, & DeFrain, 1979). Families and environments continually negotiate and re-negotiate their relationships, each influencing, changing, and depending on the other. Although the effects are usually neither simple nor direct, there is a constant shifting and evolving interplay among the child’s biology, the environment, and the parents’ behavior. Consequently, the success of parents to a great extent depends on the difficulties posed by the children and the degree to which the social environment is toxic or nurturing to both children and their parents (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington, & Bornstein, 2000; Garbarino, 1995). This interaction is particularly important to consider when examining how neighborhoods and communities influence parenting behaviors in modern societies.