Social Education in a Family Environment

26 January, 2020
The family environment is the most important setting for a child's development and training. Social education can play a very important supporting role for families who find themselves in problematic situations.

The family plays a leading role in children’s development, as it’s there that the children will receive the necessary basic teaching to develop themselves socially. The importance of the family in educating and bringing up their children has meant that social education has always taken an interest in the family. So, what role does it play within the family? That’s the question we’ll be considering today.

What is understood by social education?

These days, when we talk about education, we’re referring to something much wider and more complex than the education our children receive in schools.

Education experts Elisa Larrañaga and Santiago Yubero point out that everything we learn educates us in some way. This is regardless of its form or where the learning takes place. In other words, we’re educated almost everywhere, in very different ways and right throughout our lives.

Social education, like the rest of the pedagogical sciences, has classified education into three types, according to how children receive it:

  • Formal
  • Non-formal
  • Informal
Social Education in a Family Environment

Formal and non-formal education have a strictly educational objective in common. The only thing that differentiates them is the setting or institution. We find the main difference, therefore, with informal education, which doesn’t have a specific educational objective.

In this respect, we can easily understand the role of social education. Larrañaga and Yubero state that an individual’s education is shaped through a set of formal, non-formal and informal experiences. These take place throughout the subject’s life.

Social education associations and school councils in several countries have developed a definition of social education. This definition bases itself on the concept of education as a citizen’s right of citizenship and on the pedagogical profession.

On the one hand, they say social education makes it possible to incorporate the subject of education into the different social networks. We understand this as the development of sociability and social circulation. On the other hand, it promotes culture and social awareness in order to broaden educational, labor, leisure, and social participation perspectives.

Social education in the family environment

Informal education was appreciated and properly valued until a few decades ago, when things took a reverse turn. This is despite its importance for the individual, especially children and adolescents, who are at an important stage of development in their lives.

Social science experts have always considered the family to be an individual’s main socializing agent. Social education also takes this position. It appreciates the family as the place where a child has their most important learning experiences.

Family and conflict

Larrañaga and Yubero point out that, within the family, the individual will witness situations of crisis and change. A disconnected or unwelcoming family environment will therefore cause emotional disorders in the child. These will then be accentuated when they experience conflict in their lives.

As a result, social education in the family environment has emerged as a support option for families at risk of social exclusion.

Social Education in a Family Environment

Social education in the family setting

This type of education in the family is a proposal aimed especially at parents. As we know, children consider their parents as role models. That’s why it’s essential to provide parents with the necessary skills and resources to help them to be ideal role models for their children.

Self-control, responsibility, the development of prosocial behavior and skills, respect for values and norms, etc., are some examples of the tasks that social education can guide parents on.

“Education is a process that never ends.”

– Josefina Aldecoa –

In short, social education in the family environment aims to empower families and provide them with the necessary resources to train and develop their children. The results of this family support will be a higher quality of life and, therefore, improvements in health, education and coexistence.

  • Asociación Estatal de Educación Social y Consejo General de Colegios de Educadoras y Educadores Sociales. (2007). Documentos profesionalizadores: definición de Educación Social, Código Deontológico del educador y la educadora social y Catálogo de funciones y competencias del educador social.  ASEDES. España: Barcelona.
  • Larrañaga, E. y Yubero, S. (1994). Familia y educación social. Una aproximación psicosocial a la educación familiar. Revista de Servicios Sociales y Política Social: Intervención el ámbito familiar (I).  Consejo general diplomados en trabajo social.  pp. 9-15. España: Madrid.