The sociological theory which largely borrows from the societal perspective regarding children, is one that is based on the principal that the society recognizes any individual who posses certain recognizable social characteristics and one who possesses a certain degree of authority in the society. Close and closely associated with this principle is a second one, which argues that an individual who implicitly or explicitly signifies that he has certain admirable social characteristics ought in fact to be what he claims he is in the society. (Goffman 1959:13). Considering these facts therefore, the sociological theory has come in and deviated from the traditional way of children recognition that considers the position of the child in the family as a subordinate and marginalized one in the sense that children are regarded as occupying an insignificant position and therefore play minor role in the family and society as well as in the theoretical conceptualization regarding childhood and sociology.
Though different societies differ in their definitions of childhood, one thing is common in that they all agree that children begin the socialization process as soon as possible. Children display people-oriented responses at very early ages and develop very quickly in other ways and begin to take their place in the society. The "social capital" aspect as emphasized by the sociological theory as being a family content is viewed as of vital consequence in channeling and shaping children's futures by getting them a place in the society from where their needs and wants are efwell catered for. In this regard, the sociological theory effectively addresses the plight of a child in the family as well as the lager society by ensuring that the child has a voice to be heard and recognizing her needs. This in return gives the child a special position in the family and society giving him audience as a crucial member of both the family and society.
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According to Jens Q. (1993), in many cases, adults view children in a forward looking way in terms of what they will become in the future and what they will be able to give back to the society then and therefore most emphasis is directed to this. As a result, they are viewed as future adults who will then have a place to play in the social order of the society with a role to play and contributions to make to the society only after they reach adulthood. The functionalist models had little concern as it regrds how and why children become integrated in to the society with Alex Ankels (1968) explaining that the aspect of socialization in children must be dealt with in a more forward looking way focusing on what a child must become in order to be able to meet the requirements for the continued functioning of the society. However, in a number of developed countries such as the United States, awareness in early childhood development has increasingly grown over the past two decades and still continues to develop a fact that has led to the shedding of more light on the sociological aspects of children. This has basically been through, an increase in public support for programs and services that seek to address as well as solve the needs of young children and their families through the provision of an increased number of opportunities for social work involvement by the society.
At the same time, Lloyd De Mause (1976) a major supporter of the sociological theory explains that a child is a human universal terming the traditional notion of child rearing practices as having been so exploitative and brutal in that they hardly recognized a child’s place in the family. This theory retains its focus on an individual child recognizing that the early stage of childhood is socially built leading to an increased awareness of the social context in which children lifes and within which psychological processes occur. The theory also stresses on the growth of new attitudes of ‘coddling’ towards children hence stressing on the special nature of children needs arguing that children need to be given a louder voice in the family. This theory portrays a child as a social actor and focuses on the things that children go through on a daily basis as they try to orient themselves in to the family and society. It gives special attention and engagement to the cultural performances in the society as well as the different social worlds that children construct to take part in. as a result therefore, children are active members, participants and special members of the society right from the beginning signifying the special position held both in the family and society at large.
The sociological theory also gives a special attention to a number of strategies that offer guidance towards the formation of habits in children and the practices that enhance social inequality arguing that the sociology of any family and its private life plays a crucial role towards a child’s sociological welfare. As a result, the actions that children take, the resistance that they could provide, their cooperation and collective action needs to be given special attention. Moreover, the sociological theory further clarifies that Children have their place in the social structure the family and hence of any society and therefore they have their unique contributions that they make towards their own sociological development and socialisation. At the same time, there is need to increase public support services and programs that effectively address the sociological aspects of childhood development and a more effective way of addressing children needs.
In conclusion, the sociological theory gives children a special place in the family and by extension in the society through its recognition of the basic role that a child plays towards the family and societal success. This goes against the traditional way that considered children as future beings, ones that had no role to play in the society until they are able to grow to adults. This theory further elaborates that children become integrated in to the society as soon as they start existing with Alex Ankels (1968) arguing that socialisation in children must be dealt with in a more forward looking way focusing on what a child must become in order to be able to meet the requirements for the continued functioning of the family and society. According to the theory, it’s crucial to have basic understanding of childhood sociology as per the sociological theory to enable an individual enhance children sociological development through the proper understanding of their needs, behaviours, the position they hold in the family and society as well as their developmental aspects.
Children have their place in the social structure of any society and therefore have their unique contributions that they make towards their own sociological development and socialization. The sociological theory deviates from the traditional theories in that it views children in a way that appreciates and recognizes what they really are, as people with their own unique needs, with ongoing lives, desires and aspirations that need to be fulfilled and not to be ignored. It gives children the voice that they so much need to talk on their behalf, to air their views and be listened to, to have a place that they hold in the society not as social problems that are threatening to the society with unending needs to be fulfilled.
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