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          Read lecture notes on Erikson and lecture notes on Piaget
                       Due Thursday:  Email attachment to professor
                       Receive topic for Issue paper

Week 2         Read chapter 1 - Parenting in Perspective and lecture notes on History of Parenting

  Quiz #1 here - (due on Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Week 3         Read chapter 2 - Changing Nature of Parenting, pp. 33-51,
                       and lecture notes on Parenting Infants,
                       and lecture notes on Parenting Toddlers

  Quiz #2 here - (due on Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)  

Week 4         Read chapter 2 - Changing Nature of Parenting, pp. 51-65 
                      and lecture notes on Parenting Preschool Children

  Quiz #3 here - (due on Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Week 5         Read chapter 3 Changing Nature of Parenting: Middle Childhood and Adolescence,
                      lecture notes on Parenting Adolescents,
                      and lecture notes on Parenting Schoolage Children

  Quiz #4 here - (due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Week 6         Read chapter 4 - Changing Nature of Parenting: Later Life
                      and lecture notes on Grandparenting

  Quiz #5 here - (due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Week 7         Read chapter 5 - Becoming a More Effective Parent
                     and lecture notes on Effective Parenting

Week 8    Read chapter 6 - Parenting in Diverse Culture and
                        lecture notes on Parenting in Diverse Cultures

    Issue Comparison paper due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m. 

Week 9          Read chapter 7 - Parenting in Single Parent Families and Stepfamilies,
                        lecture notes on Divorce, and lecture notes on Stepfamilies

   Quiz #6 here - (due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Spring Break

Week 10        Read chapter 8 - Parenting in Families with Diverse Lifestyles

  Quiz #7 here - (due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.) 

Week 11        Read chapter 9 - Parenting in High Risk Families
                      and lecture notes on Teen Parents

  Quiz #8 here - (due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Week 12        Read chapter 10 - Parenting Children with Exceptionalities and
                        lecture notes on Parenting Children with Special Needs

   Quiz #9 here - (due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Week 13        Read chapter 11 - Alternatives to Biological Parenting

   Quiz #10 here - (due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.)

Week 14        Family Assessment Paper due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.

Week 15          Read chapter 12 - Alternatives for Child Care and lecture notes on Child Care    


Week 16          Final Exam Week         Final Exam due Wednesday by 3:00 p.m.



Quizzes - 10 @ 10 points each             100 points        Due most weeks - check syllabus above
Final Exam                                           100 points        Due Wed. of final exam week (Week 16)
Issue Comparison Paper                       100 points        Due Wed. of Week 8
Family Assessment Paper                     100 points        Due Wed. of Week 14
Total possible points                             400 points


376 - 400         A                                 296 - 307        C
360 - 375         A-                                280 - 295       C-
348 - 359         B+                               268 - 279        D+
336 - 347         B                                  256 - 267       D
320 - 335         B-                                240 - 255        D-
308 - 319         C+                               Below 240       F


Weekly quizzes are due on most Wednesdays of the semester (check the syllabus) and should be emailed to me by 3:00 p.m.  Each quiz is worth 10 points and consists of one or two questions, taken from the reading assignments.  Answers to each quiz should be one to two pages long, double spaced, using a 12-point New Times Roman style font, with one inch margins.  Answers should be clearly written, thoughtful, analytical, and incorporate information from the reading assignments.  I need to know from your answers that you’ve read and understood the material.  Late quizzes will receive a two-point deduction for each day they are late (including weekends).  Thus, if you are five days late with a quiz, you will receive no points for that quiz. 

ISSUE COMPARISON PAPER: (Back to Course Outline)  

This assignment is due on Wednesday of Week 8 of the semester and is worth 100 points.  All late papers will receive a five-point deduction for each day they are late (this includes weekends).  The paper should be 10 pages in length, typed, double spaced, using no larger than a 12-point New Times Roman style font and no larger than one inch margins.

The paper is designed to:

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

For this assignment the professor will randomly assign an issue to each student in the class.  Students are to then seek out and read an article dealing with that issue from each of the three following sources:  1) a professional journal, 2) a popular periodical and 3) a legitimate internet source
After reading an article on your issue from each of the three sources, 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 is logical; 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, as well as examples of popular periodicals.  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.  For internet sources, Google or Yahoo will provide numerous sites to choose from.

A Short List of Academic Journals:

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).

A Short List of Popular Periodicals:

·         Parents Magazine

·         Parenting

·         Child Magazine

·         Good Housekeeping

·         Redbook

·         Ladies Home Journal

·         Psychology Today

·         U. S. News and World Report

·         Time Magazine

·         Newsweek

·         Working Woman

·         Working Mother

FAMILY ASSESSMENT PAPER  (Back to Course Outline)

This assignment is due on Wednesday of Week 14 of the semester.  All late papers will receive a five point deduction for each day they are late (this includes weekends).
The paper should be 10 pages in length (excluding title page and reference page), typed, and double spaced, using no larger than a 12-point, New Times Roman-style font and no larger than one inch margins.  A title page 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 10 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 five 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.


FINAL EXAM (Back to Course Outline)

 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.  Answer 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 Wednesday of final exam week (week 16) by 3:00 p.m.