Family Life Education
Challenges In Family Life Education
Qualified educators are central to the success of family life education, as it is these individuals who bear major responsibility for shaping the educational experience and interacting with participants. Despite their importance, however, few guidelines are available to help prepare family educators. In 1985, the National Council on Family Relations established a certificate program to help improve the training and qualifications of family life educators (Davidson 1989; National Council on Family Relations 1984). Through this program, recognition is given to individuals who hold a baccalaureate or advanced degree in specified fields of study, have a minimum level of postsecondary education in the content areas of the Framework for Family Life Education, and have completed a specified level of related work experience. The Certificate in Family Life Education (CFLE) is a voluntary credential, and has been granted to individuals in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Singapore. An important outcome of the CFLE program has been its influence on the content of the college/university programs that prepare family life educators.
The Internet and the World Wide Web present new challenges for family life education. Information technologies make it possible to provide family-related information twenty-four hours a day, every day, and may help facilitate the preparation of professionals through online courses and chatrooms (Hughes, Ehata, and Dollahite 1999). Although it is likely that these technologies will enhance rather than replace more traditional family life education approaches, important issues that will require attention include the reliability and validity of the information available and the effectiveness of this form of family education. As well, the emergence of such things as computermediated relationships (cyber-relationships) and sexualized Internet use requires rethinking the content and strategies of family life education (Merkle and Richardson 2000; Sanders, Deal, and Myers-Bowman 2000).
Family life education is an important means to help ameliorate family issues and problems, but in many situations these programs by themselves may not be sufficient unless their development and implementation are supported by social and educational policies and political decisions. School boards and community interest groups may place restrictions on the content taught in schools, thereby failing to meet some important needs of this age group. Inadequate financial support often means that programs are available primarily to those who can afford to pay registration fees, not necessarily to those who may want or need the programs the most. And, as seen at the beginning of the twenty-first century, resolving the AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) crisis in Africa and elsewhere will not only require adequate family education and governmental support to make this education widely available but also political decisions that will ensure that medications are available to those who need it at a reasonable cost.
Underlying the practice of family life education is a basic belief in the importance of family living and a basic respect for persons that recognizes their ability to take charge of their own lives in satisfying ways. Through educational programs, family life education makes an important contribution toward strengthening families to fulfill their significant role as the basic unit of society.
See also: BIRTH CONTROL: SOCIOCULTURAL AND HISTORICAL ASPECTS; CHILDHOOD; CHILDHOOD, STAGES OF: ADOLESCENCE; COMMUNICATION: FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS; COPARENTING; DECISION MAKING; DEVELOPMENT: SELF; FAMILY DEVELOPMENT THEORY; FAMILY MINISTRY; FAMILY ROLES; FAMILY SCIENCE; FAMILY STRENGTHS; FATHERHOOD; MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT; MARRIAGE PREPARATION; MATE SELECTION; MOTHERHOOD; PARENTING EDUCATION; PARENTING STYLES; POWER: MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS; PROBLEM SOLVING; RESOURCE MANAGEMENT; SEXUALITY EDUCATION; SEXUALITY IN ADOLESCENCE; TIME USE
Advocates for Youth and Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. (1999). "Public Support for Sexuality Education Reaches Highest Level." News Release, June 1, 1999. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth and New York: SIECUS.
Arcus, M. E. (1993). "Family Life Education for Mid-life and Later Life Families." In Handbook of Family Life Education, Vol. 2: The Practice of Family Life Education, ed. M. E. Arcus, J. D. Schvaneveldt, and J. J. Moss. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Arcus, M. E. (1995). "Advances in Family Life Education: Past, Present, and Future." Family Relations 45:336–344.
Arcus, M. E.; Schvaneveldt, J. D.; and Moss, J. J. (1993). "The Nature of Family Life Education." In Handbook of Family Life Education, Vol. 1: Foundations of Family Life Education, ed. M. E. Arcus, J. D. Schvaneveldt, and J. J. Moss. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Arcus, M. E., and Thomas, J. (1993). "The Nature and Practice of Family Life Education." In Handbook of Family Life Education, Vol. 2: The Practice of Family Life Education, ed. M. E. Arcus, J. D. Schvaneveldt, and J. J. Moss. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Blanchard, J. (1995). Comparative Study on Family Life Education, Sex Education, and Human Sexuality: Mandate, Concepts, Activities. Paris: UNESCO.
Blunkett, D. (1999). The National Curriculum Handbook for Secondary Teachers. London: Department of Education and Employment.
Bredehoft, D. J. (2001). "The Framework for Life Span Family Life Education Revisited and Revised." The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families 9(2):134–139.
Brock, G. W.; Oertwein, M.; and Coufal, J. D. (1993). "Parent Education: Theory, Research, and Practice." In Handbook of Family Life Education, Vol. 2: The Practice of Family Life Education, ed. M. E. Arcus, J. D. Schvaneveldt, and J. J. Moss. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Centre for Development and Population Activities. (1997). African Forum on Adolescent Reproductive Health: United Nations Population Fund. Washington, DC: Author.
Davidson, J. K., Sr. (1989). "The Certification of Family Life Educators: A Quest for Professionalism." Family Science Review 2:125–136.
de Lissovoy, V. (1978). "Parent Education: White Elephant in the Classroom." Youth and Society 9:315–338.
Dinkmeyer, D., and McKay, G. D. (1989). The Parent's Handbook. STEP: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, 3rd edition. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
Duncan, D., and Bergen, M. B. (1997). "Knowledge of New Zealand Youth Regarding Sexuality and AIDS." Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 23:47–51.
Engel, J. (1983). "Sex Education of Adults: An Evaluation of a Correspondence Course." Family Relations 32:123–128. Engel, J. S.; Saracino, M.; and Bergen, M. B. (1993). "Sexuality Education." In Handbook of Family Life Education, Vol. 2: The Practice of Family Life Education, ed.
M. E. Arcus, J. D. Schvaneveldt, and J. J. Moss. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Fowers, B. J.; Montel, K. H.; and Olson, D. H. (1996). "Predicting Marital Success for Premarital Couple Types Based on PREPARE." Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 22:103–119.
Geasler, M. J., and Blaisure, K. R. (1998). "A Review of Divorce Education Program Materials." Family Relations 47:167–175.
Gordon, T. (1975). Parent Effectiveness Training. Berkenfield, NJ: Penguin.
Gottman, J. M.; Coan, J.; Carrere, S.; and Swanson, C. (1998). "Predicting Marital Happiness and Stability from Newlywed Interactions." Journal of Marriage and the Family 60:5–22.
Hennon, C. B., and Arcus, M. (1993). "Lifespan Family Life Education." In Family Relations: Challenges for the Future, ed. T. H. Brubaker. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Hodelin, G. B. (1999). "The Legacy of Education for Family in the Caribbean." Caribbean Journal of Home Economics 1:2–14.
Hughes, R., Jr.; Ebata, A. T.; and Dollahite, D. C. (1999). "Family Life in the Information Age." Family Relations 48:5–6.
Landry, D. J.; Singh, S.; and Darroch, J. E. (2000). "Sexuality Education in Fifth and Sixth Grades in U.S. Public Schools, 1999." Family Planning Perspectives 32:212–219.
Lewis-Rowley, M.; Brasher, R. E.; Moss, J. J.; Duncan, S. F.; and Stiles, R. J. (1993). "The Evolution of Education for Family Life." In Handbook of Family Life Education, Vol. 1: Foundations of Family Life Education, ed. M. E. Arcus, J. D. Schvaneveldt, and J. J. Moss. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Mace, D., and Mace, V. (1986). "The History and Present Status of the Marriage and Family Enrichment Movement." In Marriage and Family Enrichment, ed. W. Denton. New York: Haworth Press.
McKenry, P. C.; Clark, K. A.; and Stone, G. (1999). "Evaluation of a Parent Education Program for Divorcing Parents." Family Relations 48:129–137.
Medway, F. (1989). "Measuring the Effectiveness of Parent Education." In The Second Handbook on Parent Education, ed. M. J. Fine. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Merkle, E. R., and Richardson, R. A. (2000). "Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships." Family Relations 49:187–192.
Mertensmeyer, C., and Fine, M. (2000). "ParentLink: A Model of Integration and Support for Parents." Family Relations 49:257–265.
Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture. (2000). Education in Japan, 13th edition. Tokyo: Gyosei.
National Council on Family Relations. (1984). Standards and Criteria for the Certification of Family Life Educators, College/University Curriculum Guidelines, and Content Guidelines for Family Life Education: A Framework for Planning Programs Over the Lifespan. Minneapolis, MN: Author.
Nayak, J., and Bose, R. (1997). "Making Sense, Talking Sexuality: India Reaches Out to its Youth." SIECUS Report 25(2):19–21.
Popova, V. J. (1996). "Sexuality Education Moves Forward in Russia." SIECUS Report 24(3):14–15.
Riekse, R. J.; Holstege, H.; and Faber, M. (2000). "Using Interactive Television Technology to Disseminate Applied Gerontological Information." Educational Gerontology 26:751–760.
Riker, H., and Myers, J. (1990). Retirement Counseling: A Practical Guide for Action. New York: Hemisphere.
Sanders, G.; Deal, J.; and Myers-Bowman, K. (2000). "Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet: Implications for Family Life Educators." Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences 91:112–116.
Sathe, A. G. (1994). "Introduction of Sex Education in Schools: Perceptions of Indian Society." Journal of Family Welfare 40:30–37.
Stahmann, R. F., and Salts, C. J. (1993). "Education for Marriage and Intimate Relationships." In Handbook of Family Life Education, Vol 2: The Practice of Family Life Education, ed. M. E. Arcus, J. D. Schvaneveldt, and J. J. Moss. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Strom, R.; Strom, S.; and Collinsworth, P. (1990). "Improving Grandparent Success." Journal of Applied Gerontology 9:480–491.
Thomas, J., and Arcus, M. (1992). "Family Life Education: An Analysis of theConcept." Family Relations 41:3–8.
Wolcott, I. (1987). "Human Relations Education in Australian Schools: A Review of Policies and Practices." Policy Background paper No. 6. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Wood, B. (1987). "Survival KIT for the Holidays: A Grief Workshop Approach." Family Relations 36:235–241.
Parentlink. (2002). Available from http://outreach.missouri.edu/parentlink/.
Smart Marriages. (2002). Available from http://www.smartmarriages.com.
MARGARET EDWARDS ARCUS
(WITH ASSISTANCE FROM D. CASSIDY [UNITED STATES], M.J. CZAPLEWSKI [UNITED STATES], K. MAKINO [JAPAN], A. UENO [JAPAN], AND R. WHITFIELD [UNITED KINGDOM])
Marriage and Family EncyclopediaModern Marriage & Family IssuesFamily Life Education - An Overview Of Family Life Education, Family Life Education During Childhood, Family Life Education During Adolescence