Gender Differences in Perceptions of Home Environment among Indian Adolescents

Article excerpt

Introduction

Children grow up in several environments. Home, school, and community are the setting for social and intellectual experiences from which they acquire and develop the skills, attitudes and attachments which characterize them as individuals and shape their choice and performance of adult roles (Morrison and McIntyre, 1973). During childhood and adolescence most of the social influences upon individual can be categorized as being associated either with home or with school environments. In the early years the family is the most potent source of influence, but once children have entered school, new opportunities are created for adults, and for peers and older pupils to influence individual development. It is well known fact that most of those who become successful in life have come from homes where parental attitudes towards them were favourable and where a wholesome relationship existing between parents and children produces happy and friendly children who are constructive and affectionate members of the group. By contrast, those who are unsuccessful in life usually come from homes where the parent-child relationship is unfavorable.

Shah and Sharma (1984) found if parents want their children to achieve better, they should provide and maintain in the family, highly congenial atmosphere. Albers et al. (1986) showed that disturbed family functioning predicted poor quality of later intimate relationships among adolescents.

Lau and Kwok (2000) concluded that a cohesive, orderly and achieving family environment is conductive to more positive development among adolescents. Williamson (2006) observed that college students possessing strong positive feeling towards recollection of early childhood family influences also possessed greater confidence in themselves and in others as well as greater perceptions of academic self-efficacy..

Thus, a young person's social adjustment is not a thing apart, but is closely linked with his adjustment to his home and school relationships. It usually follows that an adolescent who experiences a normal and well-integrated home and school life carries over into all his other associations a similar wholesomeness of attitude and control of behaviour. (Verma and Sangita, 1991; Field at al, 1995; Kokko and Pulkkinen, 2000 and Lai and Mcbride-Chang, 2001). Moreover, the cause of an adolescent's social maladjustment often can be traced to a home environment in which the teen-ager has had little or no opportunity to experience cooperative group living.

Parents are an essential part of their child's environment. Therefore, in order to foster caring, responsible and strong children, adults need to have a positive view of themselves (self-concept) and serve as role models for their children. Self-awareness is another key part of child's development. Self-awareness is how much we know about ourselves, our beliefs about who we are, and what we think our capabilities are. As child's sense of self develops, so does the child's ability to blossom in school and with peers. This is why the parents' ability to provide wings is so important. In order to succeed, children need to gain confidence in their abilities and gain a sense that they can do things on their own. The precious time between birth and maturity gives parents many opportunities to balance roots and wings. Parents can lead the way in providing experiences that enhance their children's view of themselves. This way parents can build self-esteem in their children and themselves in order to improve the quality of their lives and strengthen family relationships.

The perusal of review of related literature provides a picture reflecting on home environment operational in different socio-cultural settings. The review of related literature pertaining to the variable, under investigation provides certain indications that may be briefly summed up as under:

* Personality formation as a function of home environment has been a focus of a number of researches (Forman and Forman, 1981; Shulman et al. …

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