Community psychology can be defined as the science that seeks to understand relationships and the value of life of an individual in relation to the whole community. There are many aspects that can be looked at in the subject of Community Psychology as a whole. These include; adaptation, Cultural-ecological perspective, Genotype, Interdependence, Macrosystem, Mesosystem, Microsystem, and Social exchange theory. These attributes contribute greatly to the development of a healthy society that allows individuals to mutually coexist with each other.
Adaptation can be defined as the ability of an organism to adjust to fit into a particular environment, thus increasing their chance of surviving. These changes vary depending on the environment. The adjustments that are necessary for an organism to fit in a certain environment include behavioral adjustments whereby an organism adjusts its behavior in order to fit and survive in a particular environment. For example, a person joining Microsoft Corporation as a junior employee will have to change the mode of dressing, and change his way of speech in order to be able to fit in an official working environment.
Cultural-ecological perspectives can be defined as the features that allow people in a community to appreciate their culture and ecological upbringing without any discrimination from other members of the society. These perspectives allow one to understand that the environment in which one is living contributes much to the way that society develops (Duncan, 2007, p 71). Microsystem can be described as the closest environment of an individual. This includes; family, childcare centers and peer group.
These are environments that allow an individual to participate directly thereby affecting and also being affected by the behavior changes in that specific community. At one time an individual will contribute a new idea or proposal that will affect the Microsystem while at other times the individual will gain from the Microsystem. A Microsystem facilitates the learning of an individual providing core values that are necessary for wholesome growth (Duncan, 2007, p 106).
Genotype is defined as the gene composition of an organism that is inherited by the parent organism. Some of these genes are active while others are dormant. The genotype composition of a person influences the behavior of a person to a certain degree. For example, a person may inherit genes from a parent that cause this person to have violent behaviors in the society. Mesosystem on the other hand describes the relationship among several Microsystems in a particular community. Therefore a group of Microsystems interacting together forms a Mesosystem.
For example a family, comprising of the parents, two kids and a house help forms a Microsystem. If these parents are working, their place of work forms another Microsystem. The interaction between these two systems forms a Mesosystem. If the wife of this home is not shown enough love by her husband, her productivity at the workplace will be greatly affected (Duncan, 2007, p 106). Macrosystem is generally the whole outline of a society possessing particular cultural behaviors.
Microsystem derive their behavior from different Microsystem and Mesosystem to form a general code of behavior and social norms that are followed and respected by different communities in a particular environment. An example is a country. A nation comprises of people from different background yet these people are able to live together because of the general rules that have been agreed upon (Duncan, 2007, p 106). Social exchange theory is a theory that suggests that communal conduct is there because of processes that are exchanged between individuals in a community.
This exchange takes place in order to derive as much benefit as possible while reducing overheads as possible. This theory then argues that people will examine a relationship in terms of rewards and risks before allowing a relationship to grow. This theory is based on several concepts namely; relational satisfaction, relational outcome and relational stability. Interdependence on the other hand is the relational coexistence whereby an alteration of one element will tend to affect the others.
An example in the current world setting, countries are interdependent and political unrest in one country will result in those effects being felt in the other country. For example, the unrest in Somalia in the horn of Africa since 1990 has caused a lot of Somalis to cross to Kenya as refuges and the Kenyan authorities has in some cases had a difficult in dealing with them. This unrest has also increased illegal firearms being smuggled into Kenya hence causing the level of crime to rise (Duncan, 2007, p 104). Adolescent age group is a menace to many parents and the community as a whole throughout the world.
At this age, many young people are discovering themselves and their discoveries have always brought conflicts between them and their parents. While many parents do not understand how to deal with various issues that arise, these teenagers have needs that cannot even be understood. They are abnormal needs. Today, parents spent most of their time at work and therefore do not understand or even notice when there are changes in the lives of their kids. While the adolescent stages do not set in without any notice, parents are usually too busy to notice these changes.
Because of this gap between parents and their kids, many kids will feel uneasy about talking to their parents about issues they are facing in their lives. Many tend to seek help and guidance from people outside the home and many have ended up being introduced to drugs and other immoral substances such as engaging in early sex leading to unwanted pregnancies. While these are the issues that faces the society today, there should be devised a way of dealing with them since these teenagers are a representation of our generation in future.
Unless necessary measures are taken at an early stage, these teenagers will develop deviant behaviors that are harmful not only to the family from which they come from but also to the community as a whole. The community therefore has a responsibility of being involved in the upbringing of these teenage kids. Despite the fact that there exists a huge gap between the teenagers and the community as a whole, this gap can be reduced when the members in the community will commit themselves to carefully approach this delicate issue by befriending the teenagers and trying as much as possible to form strong relationship with these kids.
While the changes that come with adolescence are inevitable, the community can come in and provide support to these young ones, thereby giving then a sense of belonging and a feeling of appreciation. The community can strike a balance in relating with teenagers by first allowing them to air their views so that these kids can know that there is somebody out there who is ready to listen to them. Since this is a stage in life in which people come to understand about themselves, the community should be willing to provide people who can act as role models to these teenagers.
This ranges from professional to people who have succeeded in their careers and life in general. Parents and the community as a whole should take the role of leadership and direct the teenagers towards the right course. While it should not be evident that they are being watched, the parents and the community at large should try as much as possible to get to know the friends that their kids have. Let them invite their friends to their home and get to know them. This is because at this stage, many young people tend to avoid their parents and spend more time with their peers.
After knowing who their friends are, it becomes easier to tell whether they have the right friends or not. If they are not, the community should talk to them and allow them to understand that keeping the right company is important for a healthy growth of a person. This is also an opportunity to detect problems in teenagers. When an abnormal behavior is detected in one of them, his peers too should be examined to see if they also facing the same problem. This will reduce the spread of certain behaviors since they are dealt with the first time they are detected.
The community psychologist also plays an important role in such a community. Community psychologists can help this community in bringing up their teenage children through studying and understanding the setup from which they come from and then using this study help parents and the community as a whole to make necessary adjustment that will enable these kids to have a health growth. The study will have to cover different areas in a particular environment. For example, as a community psychologist, one will have to look at issues like hard.
How accessible are hard drugs in a particular environment? Are there violent gangs in a particular community setting? Are there unhealthy practices in that society? Having looked at the above issues, one expects that the community is well composed and have necessary strategic plans to deal with issues that arise among them and among their children. While at some point, there are issues that are, beyond our control, we can not ignore the fact that it is possible to deal with drugs and drug addicts in our society.
Thus as a community psychologist one needs to look at ways in which various have been arising in a society and talk to the community and educate them on the prevention measures that can be put in place to prevent such vices occurring in their society. The community may not always accept the proposals that one has since the 21st century is no longer the time when parenting was a communal issue. Many members of the community will argue that they don’t have teenage children and therefore this is none of their business.
However, people need to be made aware that for them to live in a safe society the level of responsibility is increased and everybody should participate in the upbringing of children not necessarily directly. Simple information passed over to the parents about their children may go along way in helping in the upbringing of this child. On the other hand, parents should be willing to cooperate with the whole society in bringing up their children since they cannot be there all the time to provide a watchful eye and ensure that their kids are living right.
As Mark Twain once said, ‘Whenever you find yourself on the side the majority, its time to pause and reflect`, there are many similarities that can be identified in people who are living together as a community. Yet there are distinctive values that we can identify in people since we hold different values. For example, one child will say thank when given something while another child of a similar age and grade will simply walk away. Very few people have learnt the courtesy of living with people and those that have these courteous manners are usually seen as crude and old fashioned.
However, these people are hated because of the values they and very few people want to associate with them. For example, people working in a particular office will dislike a lady in the same office because of her morality values. Nevertheless, if this lady finally finds out that she is gaining many alliances in that office at a very high rate, then chances are that she has conformed to their depraved moral standards and thus needs to evaluate her position again. Finally, as we fight each and everyday to have a morally upright society, there are times we’ve totally missed the mark.
As one quote says ‘Martin Luther King and Malcolm X fought to eradicate racism without recognizing their own sexist attitudes. This we have done repeatedly in our society. As Malcolm X fought to eradicate racism, he is quoted as having said, ‘The closest thing to a woman is the devil’. Women too have rights and we should learn to respect them as a society.
Duncan, N. (2007). Community Psychology: Analysis, Context and Action. Lansdowne, South Africa: Juta and Company Limited.