There are ways family influences and factors an affect one’s development. These include divorce, single/step-parents, gay and lesbian parents, etc.


Divorce can be very detrimental for development. For parents, it decreases the capacity to parent the children. Disciplining is inconsistent. Fathers become more permissive, while mothers become less affectionate. Preschool children appear to have the most negative short-term consequences such as regression, anxiety, and self-blame. Older children have more severe long-term consequences with fears and bad memories. Boys tend to have more short-term and long-term effects. Girls have more internalizing behaviors and worst long-term effects causing young pregnancy, marriage, and instability in relationships. Living with the same-sex parent is psychologically better (especially for boys). School performance is negatively affected with lower grades, behavioral problems, and dropouts. These are more negative for boys and older children. If parents had difficulties/conflicts before the divorce, it will lead to more negative effects after the divorce. The effects on children can be decreased if the have positive relationships with both parents with support from extended family members.


With regard to step-parents, there are always more problems with step-parents as compared to biological ones. Younger boys tend to do well with step-fathers. Step-father tend to be distant while step-mothers tend to be harsh.

With regard to gay and lesbian parents, children are at no more risk than those from straight parents. Parenting style is also not any different.

Maternal employment has a positive effect on marriage and family. It can be negative if mother works more than 40 hours per week. Negative effects can come from gender inequality. High quality daycares lead to some benefits with intellectual and social development, while low quality daycares lead to distractibility and lower task involvement.


Rivalry is more common between same gender siblings who are closer in age. Inconsistency in discipline, treatment, and attention can lead to rivalry as well. Middle childhood is characterized by close relationships with some conflicts. Early adolescence leads to increase in conflicts causing a decline in sibling involvement.