Social Work Over Other Careers Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

"Yafe-Yanai (2001)

According to Clark and Horan (2001): Scientists also agree that parents are the single most influential factor in the career development and choice of their children. [Schulenberg et al. 1984; Seligman et al. 1991; as cited by Clark and Horan [2001]} Parents have so much influence due to the fact that the experiences and environments of the stages of growth during what is termed the "impressionable years" of the child's life. Bandura, et al. 2001 writes that: "Parental influence on children's academic development has been extensively research but how parents affect their children's career development has received little attention despite its centrality to the paths their children's lives will take. In the second pattern of influences in the structural model, parents exert their effort on career choice and development mainly through their impact on their children's self-efficacy appraisals, educational aspirations, and scholastic achievement."

Functioning within a family is inclusive of the factors of parental support and guidance along with positive or negative influences in the environment and in the interaction styles in the family (Altman, 1997) In fact, family functioning influencing career development more so than family structure, size, or the educational and occupational status of the parents (Fisher and Griggs, 1994 as cited by Kerka (2001). In a study conducted in relation to parenting and career Development Sandra Kerka (2001) states that Researchers have studied the influence of parents and the family on children's career development and such factors as socioeconomic status, parents' educational and occupational attainment, and cultural background. This Digest highlights a different body of research that considers the effects of the family relationships." Stated implications in the research "demonstrates the strong influences that parenting behavior and family functioning have on career development. The findings suggest that career counselor and career educators should:

1. Shift the focus from the individual to the family system.

2. Develop a new a richer way of parental involvement.

3. Help Families become more proactive; and 4. Consider ways of duplicating helpful types of family functioning in the schools, especially for children whose families are not proactive.

Childhood experiences (both positive and negative) and familial heritage have a major influence on vocational choices. People choose an occupation that enables them to replicate significant childhood experiences, satisfy needs that were unfulfilled in their childhood, and actualize dreams passed on to them by their familial heritage (Pines & Yanai, 2000; Yanai & Pines, 2) The tendency to choose a particular occupation, the internal permission to choose according to this preference and to function successfully as a professional all depend on the relationships with key people, especially the parents, during childhood and also on the career choices of these key people. Yafe-Yanai (2001) The concept of social character is a key concept for the understanding of the social process. Character in the dynamic sense of analytic psychology is the specific form in which human energy is shaped by the dynamic adaptation of human needs to the particular mode of existence of a given society. Further states Fromm: "However with the new tools of observation that psychoanalysis offers, we can recognize that so-called rational behavior is largely determined by the character structure. In our discussion of the meaning of work for modern man we have dealt with an illustration of this point. We saw that the intense desire for unceasing activity was rooted in aloneness and anxiety. This compulsion to work differed from the attitude towards work in other cultures, where people worked as much as it was necessary but where they were not driven by additional forces within their own character structure." Also stated by Fromm is that: "As we have seen, once certain needs have developed in a character structure, any behavior in line with these needs is at the same time satisfactory psychologically and practical from the standpoint of material success. As long as a society offers the individual those two satisfactions simultaneously, we have a situation where the psychological forces are cementing the social structure."

From agrees with Freud stating that: "What we have just said also holds true for one particular sector of the whole educational process: the family." Fromm informs the reader that it was shown by Freud that the child's early experiences have a most decisive influence upon the character structure formation of the child. Fromm then asks the question that: "If this is true, how then can we understand that the child, who - at least in our culture - has little contact with the life of society, is moulded by it?" Fromm answers the question by stating that: "The answer is not only that the parents - aside from certain individual variations - apply the educational patterns of the society they live in, but also that in their own personalities they represent the social character of their society or class. They transmit to the child what we may call the psychological atmosphere or the spirit of a society just by being as they are - namely representatives of this very spirit. The family thus may be considered to be the psychological agent of society. We arrive therefore at the fact that, although character development is shaped by the basic conditions of life and although there is no biologically fixed human nature, human nature has a dynamism of its own that constitutes an active factor in the evolution of the social process. Fromm (1942)

According to Fromm there are more than simply the "physiological needs that call for satisfaction, but there are also certain psychological qualities inherent in man that need to be satisfied and that result in certain reactions if they are frustrated." This is in line with the theory which this work is prepared in relation to. These qualities, according to Fromm are: "The tendency to grow, to develop and realize potentialities which man has developed in the course of history..." For example Fromm gives "the faculty of creative and critical thinking and having differentiated emotional and sensuous experiences" stating that each of these potentialities has "dynamism of its own."

Summary and Conclusion:

As evidenced by this work the influence of parents in the child's development on all levels is held to be a fact among not only psychologists and sociologists but also among scientists. The educational system acknowledges this fact and even among the many theorists the role that parental influence and early childhood experiences play on the development of the individual is rarely denied or the subject subverted. Hitler must have been well aware of this fact in his well-known statement of: "Give me a child until the age of six and he is mine."

Early childhood influences have led many to the field of medicine, or law, or even to activism in society based upon the experiential development and learning of the individual, but however applied it certainly can be said to be a rewarding experience for those who are inclined to apply their life's work in the field of Social Work for bettering society both individually and collectively and thus providing themselves with fulfillment of their needs and finding satisfaction in their work. An educational writer wrote in 1964 that: The most important aspect of programs that succeed in assisting students was those which understood the need and importance of involving the parents. Green (1964) This importance is a matter which is developmentally in process and is rapidly coming to the forefront and gaining attention as to that vital factor in a child's developmental progress in all areas but most certainly in the area of career choice.


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Altman, J.H. (1997) Career Development in the Context of Family Experiences, "In Diversity and Women's Career Development: From Adolescence to Adulthood, edited by Helen S. Farmer, pp 229-242. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage 1997.

Brown, M.T. et al. (1997) "Roe Revisited: A Call for the Reappraisal of the Theory of Personality Development and Career Choice." Journal of Vocational Behavior 51, No.2 1997 Oct: 283-294 (EJ 551-605)

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