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Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework - October 1999

Family Life

Family Life focuses on the importance of the family as a basic unit of society and the many responsibilities within a family. Family Life highlights the diverse perspectives, needs, and characteristics of families and the internal and external supports that families rely on throughout the family life cycle. Family Life addresses parenting in a world where technology and research provide new information and options on a regular basis.

A critical focus of Family Life is helping students understand that while families differ, there are many similarities within all families. Through the study of Family Life, students can gain an understanding that a family, regardless of its composition, fulfills certain critical needs. Resilience can be fostered by the recognition that many factors may affect the stability and health of a family, but that many supports are available to help families. Family Life focuses on parenting as a choice and as a major responsibility. Both emotional maturity and parenting skills are necessary for child rearing. The development of good character in children is one important responsibility for parents and families. Understanding the stages of child development will make parenting more successful for both the child and the parent. Topics generally covered in the study of Family Life include: Functions and Purposes, Supports, and Parenting.

PreK-12 Standard 6: Family Life

Students will gain knowledge about the significance of the family on individuals and society, and will learn skills to support the family, balance work and family life, be an effective parent, and nurture the development of children.

Learning Standards: Family Life

PreK-5 Functions and Purpose
6.1 Describe different types of families, addressing membership and social influences, and the functions of family members.
6.2 Describe factors, such as character traits of individuals and life events, that can strengthen families.
6.3 Identify whom to talk with about family problems and successes.
6.4 Identify what parents do to provide a safe, healthy environment for their children.
6-8 Functions and Purpose
6.5 Describe how the functions, purposes, and responsibilities of family members change with life events.
6.6 Explain the family life cycle and recognize that raising a child is one of the
most important functions of a family.
6.7 Describe those one can trust or turn to for help when needed, such as a support system that can include relatives, friends, neighbors, community organizations, and faith-based groups.
6.8 Describe ways in which relationships among parents and children change during adolescence, and compare peer and parental influences.
9-12 Functions and Purpose
6.9 Explain the functions, purposes, and social significance of family from various historical periods, including modern times.
6.10 Identify the traits of a healthy family (such as responsibility, communication, trust, loyalty, respect, commitment, love, affirmation, and self-reliance) and explain the interdependence and independence of family members.
6.11 Identify steps for getting support or help, including identifying resources for families whose members have special health needs.
6.12 Identify the child-rearing skills (including emotional maturity to nurture children and knowledge of child development stages) and the financial resources needed for parenting.
6.13 Evaluate various types of discipline parents might use with children of different ages.
6.14 Describe the consequences of teen parenting from the perspectives of the teen mother, teen father, and the parents of the teens.
6.15 Identify desirable character traits (such as love, respectfulness, generosity, kindness, and forgiveness) and describe the development of good character, including the role of parents and family in the moral development of children.
6.16 Describe considerations relevant to becoming a parent (including the various ways of becoming a parent such as foster parenting, adoption, and stepparenting).
6.17 Describe parental practices that encourage literacy in young children.

Selected Examples: Family Life

6.2 As a class, design a bulletin board collage on the many different things adults know and are able to do. Discuss why a person with these skills, experiences, talents, and information would be a good person to talk to when you have a problem or have experienced a success.

6.5 Students list events (such as new baby, remarriage, or grandparent moving in) that can lead to changes in family composition and analyze their possible influence on family life.

6.9 Students view films that show changes in families in the last 50 years and identify what constants appear (e.g., caring for each other) and what changes appear evident (e.g., role changes in household and parenting tasks).

6.12 In supervised small groups, students respond to the developmental and health needs of young children in a child care setting and evaluate skills with the supervisor.

6.17 Design a pamphlet summarizing research and activities for parents to promote literacy in their young children. Have an early childhood specialist evaluate the pamphlet and provide feedback to students.

Interdisciplinary Objective: Family Life

9-12 (Law and Policy. Connects with History & Social Science: Civics and Government) 6.a. Identify laws related to child abuse.


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Last Updated: October 1, 1999
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