7400:360 - Summer Session
Online via Springboard Learning Management System

School of Family and Consumer Sciences at The University of Akron
Professor Susan D. Witt, Ph.D.

Office:  Room 215-E SHS                                                                   Prerequisite: 7400:265
Office Hours:   by Appointment                                        Email:
Phone:  330-972-7723
Anonymous Course Evaluations To be completed at the end of Week 15 of the semester

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The study of interactive parent-child relations from infancy through adulthood and the internal and environmental forces which have an impact upon family dynamics.


At the end of the course the student will be able to:

1.  Understand the major concepts, issues and theories in parent-child relations from birth to adulthood.
2.  Understand the factors which facilitate or hinder positive parent-child interaction.
3.  Understand and analyze the family’s role in socialization.
4.  Understand and evaluate current research on issues pertaining to parent child relations.
5.  Understand the dynamics of family relationships and analyze the impact of those family relationships on individuals as they grow to adulthood.
6.  Apply the information gained from this class to the student’s own life and work.

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS:  Each student enrolled in the course needs to have access to a personal computer with internet access.  In addition, each student needs to have

access to a reliable printer.  The speed at which the computer operates is of little consequence as long as it is adequate to read/download readings and assignments.  A malfunctioning computer system is no excuse for failing to turn in assignments on time or communicating via email with the professor.  Students should be aware of, and anticipate, the possibility of server outages and downtime by staying current with readings and assignments - and by looking ahead at the course outline to be prepared for upcoming assignments before the actual due date.

NECESSARY COMPUTER/INTERNET SKILLS : Since all information for this course resides on the internet when you log onto the Learning Management System - Springboard, all students enrolled

in the class should be fairly competent at using the internet, downloading and printing documents and web pages and communicating with the professor via email.  Email will be used to send assignments and grades back and forth and will be the primary avenue for discussion and communication about the class. All students must have a working email address and account.  The University of Akron will provide such access and capability upon request.  Email the professor for specific instructions regarding internet access on campus.  All students must possess standard internet skills, which include downloading and file transfer from the host server to your personal computer station, the ability to navigate throughout the website devoted to this course, and other skills necessary to ensure completion of the course. All students must possess email skills, including sending, receiving, and responding to email messages.  This includes the ability to send completed word processed documents via email attachments.

: Hamner, T. And Turner, P. (2001).  Parenting in Contemporary Society, 4th edition.


Week 1
        First day of classes - Send the professor an email attachment  
        Read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2  – pp. 33-51 in textbook
        Read lecture notes for the following:


        History of Parenting
        Parenting Infants
        Parenting Toddlers
        Write reaction paper #1 – due Friday by 5:00 p.m. See instructions here

Week 2
       Read Chapter 2 – pp. 51-65 and Chapters 3 and 4 in textbook
        Read lecture notes for the following:
        Parenting Preschool Children
        Parenting School age Children
        Parenting Adolescents
        Write reaction paper #2 – due Friday by 5:00 p.m.

Week 3   
        Read Chapters 5, 6 and 7 in textbook
        Read lecture notes for the following:
        Effective Parenting
        Parenting in Diverse Cultures
        Issue Comparison Paper – due Tuesday by 5:00 p.m. See instructions here.
        Write reaction paper #3 – due Friday by 5:00 p.m.

Week 4   
        Read Chapters 8, 9 and 10 in textbook
        Read lecture notes for the following:
        Teen Parents
        Parenting Children with Special Needs
        Family Assessment Paper – due Tuesday by 5:00 p.m.  See instructions here
        Write reaction paper #4 – due Friday by 5:00 p.m.

Week 5   
        Read Chapters 11 and 12 in textbook
        Read lecture notes for the following:
        Child Care
        Final exam – due Friday by 5:00 p.m. See instructions here


Reaction papers (4 @ 25 points each) - 100 points - due Friday of weeks 1 through 4
Issue comparison paper - 75 points - due Tuesday of week 3
Family assessment paper - 75 points - due Tuesday of week 4
Final exam - 100 points - due Friday of week 5

                   Total possible points for course - 350 points


329 – 350    A             270 – 279    C+            210 – 223    D-           
315 – 328    A-            259 – 269    C             Below 210    F
305 – 314    B+            245 – 258    C-
296 – 304    B              235 – 244    D+
280 – 295    B-             224 – 234    D

The purpose of this assignment is to give students the opportunity to reflect on each week’s assigned readings.  Reaction papers should address the following:

  • What did I learn from this week’s reading assignments?
  • How can I apply this information to the work I do and my life in general?
  • How do I feel about what I have read?
  • How does this information compare with what I already knew about the topics?
  • What questions do I have about the topics?

Papers should be thoughtfully written and show that you have a clear understanding of the material.  Do not simply repeat back the material from the text and lecture notes; but show that you are able to take the information, analyze it and apply it to real life situations.  Whenever possible, use examples to illustrate what you are writing about, and be sure to address all topics covered in that week’s assignments.  Each reaction paper should be at least 3 pages long, double spaced, one-inch margins, no larger than a 12-point New Times Roman style font.  Each of the four reaction paper is worth 25 points for a total of 100 points.  Late papers will have five points deducted for each day they are late (including weekends). Back to Week 1

This assignment is due on Tuesday of Week 3 and is worth 75 points.  All late papers will receive a five-point deduction for each day they are late (this includes weekends).  The paper should be at least 8 pages in length, double spaced, one-inch margins, no larger than a 12-point New Times Roman style font. Late papers will receive a five-point deduction for each day they are late (including weekends).

The paper is designed to:

  1. familiarize students with a current issue in parent child relations;
  2. familiarize students with the manner in which a parenting issue is treated by professional sources; and
  3. enable students to compare and analyze a parenting issue as presented  in professional sources.  

For this assignment the professor will randomly assign an issue/topic to each student in the class.  Students are to seek out and read three professional articles dealing with that issue from academic journals (some examples are listed below).
After reading your three articles, you will write a paper comparing how the issue is treated by each of the sources.  Some things to consider are the purpose of the article; who the target audience is; qualifications of the author(s); evidence presented for any claims made in the articles; how language is used; theoretical viewpoint of the author; what kind of outside sources are cited; whether or not the information and findings in the articles is logical; what is your opinion of the findings in the article; and any other information that is relevant.  Offer an analysis and evaluation of each article you read, explain similarities and differences in how the articles are written, and make a determination as to how valid the information is in each article.  Be sure to include a summary of your findings at the end of the paper.
Listed below are some examples of professional journals.  Keep in mind that this is a very short list; there are many others available.  Bierce Library offers access to many other journals as well.

A Short List of Academic Journals:

  • Adolescence
  • Child Development
  • Child Study Journal,
  • Child Today
  • Childhood Education
  • Journal of Divorce    Early Child Development & Care
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Journal of Marriage and Family
  • Social Forces
  • Journal of Family Issues
  • Young Children
  • Child Welfare    Family Relations
  • Journal of Social Issues
  • Gender & Society
  • Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences
  • Curriculum and Teaching Education and Society
  • Educational Practice and Theory

(These journals can be found in the Bierce Library and, in some cases, through the library online catalogs). Back to Week 3

This assignment is due on Tuesday of Week 4.  All late papers will receive a five point deduction for each day they are late (this includes weekends).
The paper should be at least 8 pages in length (excluding title page and reference page), double spaced, using no larger than a 12-point, New Times Roman-style font and no larger than one inch margins.  A title page with your name should be included, as well as a page at the end of the paper listing all references.  Reference page must include author, year, title of the article, name of journal, volume number and page numbers.  The title page and reference page are in addition to the 8 pages required for the paper.
This assignment is designed 1) to help students understand the factors that make each family unique through the study of their own families of origin, and 2) to gain some understanding of personal experiences and attitudes which will influence students as they work with parents and families.  For this assignment, you should choose two or three of the following areas and discuss how they play(ed) out in your family of origin.  Include specific examples, when possible, of family situations which would illustrate your points.

  • Family and displays of emotion
  • Family and use of power
  • Family and role assignment and satisfaction
  • Family and rule creation and enforcement
  • Gender and gender roles within the family
  • Closest and most distant relationships
  • Family patterns with regard to work, schooling, political and personal issues (these might include discipline, parenting philosophy, parenting styles, family values and beliefs, cultural influences on parenting)

Provide an overall evaluation of your family.  How would you evaluate your family in terms of communication, individual functioning, feelings of satisfaction in roles, self esteem, problem solving, enjoyment of each other, feelings of intimacy and mutual support?  Include within your paper information from three research articles that deal with the areas you write about.  Explain how the findings from the research articles relate to what you are writing about.    Back to Week 4
The final exam (click here to download) is designed to give students the opportunity to show what they have learned about parent child relations throughout the semester.  The exam consists of 10 essay questions, each worth 10 points for a total of 100 points.  Questions will deal with the topics covered during the semester.  Answers to each question should be at least one page long, double spaced, using a 12-point New Times Roman style font, and no larger than one inch margins.  The final exam is due on Friday of Week 5.  Late exams will not be accepted..
Back to Week 5