Children in Australian families: The growth of competence

Children in Australian families: The growth of competence

Children in Families Study

Paul Amato

Historical publication – December 1987

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This book examines the links between family characteristics and children's developing competence, presenting a general overview of the major findings of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Children in Families Study, which was carried out in 1982-83, and during which 402 children in Victoria were interviewed. Chapters generally begin by reviewing previous research, and end with a discussion on the implications of the data for parents, counsellors, therapists, educators, researchers and policy makers. Children's descriptions of processes within their families provide information on the nature and quality of parent child relationships, on sibling relationships, marital conflict and general family cohesion. Data are analysed, to reveal the links between family processes and various forms of child competence, including reading ability, practical life skills, social competence, self control and independence. The results of the analyses provide strong support for the notion that parent child relationships constitute important resources for children in the development of competence. The importance of fathers in child development is indicated and the quality of sibling relations also emerged as a major correlate of competence among adolescents. Attention is given to family structures and how these are related to children's experiences of family life and children's competence. These include considerations of family type, that is, intact two- parent, one- parent, and step- parent households, family size, parental employment or unemployment, and family socioeconomic status.

Publication details

Historical publication
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, December 1987
302 pp.

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