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Global Citizenship

Parental Teaching

Societal or cultural environments and global events influence families. Adults are responsible in some measure for exposing children to many of those events and for interpreting them to the children. Parents teach children directly or indirectly about the world. Those messages are not, however, always clear and consistent. For example, parents may talk about peace while supporting military conscription, educate their children to believe in human rights while passing on prejudices, and preach environmental protection but are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve ecologically sound lifestyles (Somlai 2001). Similarly, parents teach their children more about war than peace and describe more of the actions of war than peace, even though all parents purport to believe in peace (Myers-Walls 2001).

In some cases, it is unclear whether the influence of parents on children's globalization skills and attitudes is due to teaching or due to the environments in which they place their children. Only limited research is available about how parents teach their children about global existence, but studies do show that many parental characteristics are linked to children's attitudes. Researchers have found that parents' educational levels and family social status are related to children's attitudes about their own futures and the nature and future of the world (Flanagan 2001; Tóth 2001).

In the areas in which parents do teach their children, their abilities to do so effectively can be compromised by modernization and other changes. For example, traditional African teaching methods in the Sahel were replaced by formal education. As a result, modern farming methods were introduced, and traditional, ecologically sound practices and techniques were lost. This loss of historical wisdom is seen as contributing to droughts and soil erosion in Senegal (Thioune 2001). Innovations in education and family intervention should take into account the perspective of the people and culture that will be affected by them.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaModern Marriage & Family IssuesGlobal Citizenship - Societal Influences, Global Events, Parental Teaching, Children As Teachers, Challenges For Families And Globalization