1 1: Theories That Help Us Understand Families

Learning Objectives

  • Describe how theories work in connection to families
  • Explain how theories provide understanding of family dynamics
  • Explore some of the ways that families grow and develop
  • Understand families through theory application

Understanding children begins with a knowledge about developmental psychology.  Several developmental psychologists have laid the foundation to provide a framework to examine, explain and interpret human behavior.  Not one theory fully captures how the developmental process occurs for all children. This section briefly reviews important theories that will be discussed within different chapters of this text.  The review of developmental theories will begin with a focus on theories that take into account culture.

Theories which will be reviewed include

Bronfenbrenner- Bioecological Model

Psychosocial Theory- Erikson

Piaget-Cognitive Theory

Behaviorism- Pavlov and Skinner

Critical Race Theory


Barbara Rogoff

Cultural Wealth


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