Lesson 4, Topic 1
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Roles of the Extended Family Members In a Child’s Development

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The development of a child is a socialization process that begins at birth and continues throughout the life of an individual. In the socialization process of an individual, the family and extended family members have important contributions to make.

The following are ways the extended family helps with the development of the child in society;

  • Procreation Role: It is the role of the extended family to begin the reproduction and procreation process by giving out the parents for marriage. The immediate family of the child without the giving out of the “parents-to-be” hands in marriage.
  • Socialization Role: It is the role of the extended family members to teach the child some of the fundamental norms and values needed by the child in the society. They teach the child their mother tongue by speaking with them in their mother tongue, they also teach the child about their culture and the native food of their people. When the extended family carries out their role, it helps the child have a good sense of primary socialization. This will have a positive effect on the child’s secondary socialization.
  • Provision of Basic Needs: Members of a child’s extended family play an important role in the child’s development economically because they provide the basic needs of the child, e.g., they provide food, clothes and other materials. The extended family is also involved in the schooling, health and sheltering of the child which aid in the child’s development.
  • Moral and Emotional Role: The behaviour of the extended family of a child can affect the child positively or negatively. A child is likely to copy the behaviour of their parents, uncles and/or aunties. The provision of love and security by the extended family is very important because it makes the child develop positively in society.
  • Adaptation to larger society: All the roles we just discussed, (that is, the reproductive, socialization, economic, moral and emotional roles) the extended family plays helps the child adapt to any circumstance, situation or environment the child finds themselves in. The extended family training the child at home enables the child adapt easily to the larger spciety when the need arises. Good primary socialization enhances the positive secondary socialization of the child.
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