Family Upbringing

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Family Upbringing


the systematic, purposeful influence of the adult members of a family and family ways on the child. The main, general objective of family upbringing is to prepare children for life under existing social conditions. The more narrow, specific objective is to make sure that children master the knowledge, skills, and habits necessary for normal personality development in the family.

The goals and means of family upbringing are determined by the socioeconomic structure and the level of cultural development. Family upbringing is usually organized on the basis of the ideology, morality, and system of interpersonal relations in the social stratum to which the family belongs. It is inextricably linked with adult self-education and with the development in adults of qualities and character traits that ensure an effective pedagogical influence on children.

In class antagonistic formations, family upbringing has a class character (under feudalism, an estate character), and it is significantly influenced by religion and by conservative traditions. Under capitalism, profound contradictions emerge in the content, means, and methods of family upbringing, reflecting the antagonisms in bourgeois society and bourgeois family relations and everyday life. Egotism, materialistic considerations, and a striving for profit develop in most of the children of the ruling class in the course of family upbringing, giving rise to deep conflicts between children and adults and often arousing children’s hatred for their parents. K. Marx wrote: “In the highest stage of its development, the principle of private property contradicts the principle of the family” (in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 1, p. 334). This observation is entirely applicable to family upbringing. In proletarian families, as the workers become aware of their class interests and goals, family upbringing is increasingly permeated with revolutionary ideas. As the influence of the ideas of scientific socialism grows, paramount importance is attached to upbringing in collectivism, proletarian internationalism, hatred for the exploiters, social activism, and a yearning to fight against oppression. Training in these qualities is provided through constant struggle against the predominant ideology, which endeavors to teach the children of the working people views that promote the preservation of the exploiter system and the workers’ oppressed status in it.

In socialist society the goal of family upbringing is to lay the foundations for the comprehensive—intellectual, moral, aesthetic, and physical—development of the individual, to accustom children to labor, to help them to understand and follow the rules of the socialist way of life, and to develop their interest in independent creativity. Successful family upbringing, the essence of which is the coordination of the child’s qualities, as shaped by the family, with the requirements of socialist society, is possible only if the adult members of the family observe several necessary conditions. In family relations, adults must strictly observe the principles of communist morality and create an atmosphere of mutual warmth and attentiveness. They should be united and consistent in their demands on the children, who should be systematically involved in the labor and public interests of their elders.

Among the main aspects of family upbringing are constant but unobtrusive guidance of the child’s activity, including play and, later, participation in domestic affairs. Family upbringing also includes helping children to broaden their ideological and intellectual outlook and providing serious thoughtful explanations of phenomena about which children should know and in which they show an interest. Another important part of family upbringing is the formation of higher moral qualities in children, including collectivism, patriotism, internationalism, respect for elders, honesty and truthfulness, discipline and a conscientious attitude toward family obligations, a solicitous attitude toward things as the results of human labor, and a love for nature and an ability to perceive its beauty. Family upbringing also involves acquainting children with works of literature and art and encouraging them to participate in physical exercise and sports. Pedagogical science orients parents toward gradually increasing the scope and complexity of the information provided in family upbringing and toward systematically raising the demands on children as they grow older.

During the child’s kindergarten and school experience, the main trend in family upbringing is toward continuously coordinating the efforts of the parents and institutions. The unity between educational influences in the family and the school expresses the unity of social and family principles in raising the future builders of communism. The adult members of the family help children with their studies and with the rational use of free time to further their comprehensive development.

Problems in family upbringing are studied at the people’s universities of pedagogy organized by the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR, public education agencies, and the All-Union Znanie Society. A special journal, Sem’ia i shkola (Family and School), is devoted to these problems. The Znanie Publishing House puts out the Pedagogical Department series of pamphlets for the people’s universities. Problems of family upbringing are considered in lecture cycles on pedagogy, at pedagogical conferences, and in pedagogical seminars, and they are discussed at parents’ meetings in the schools. Soviet pedagogy successfully combines theory and practice in family upbringing.

The range of problems in family upbringing was defined by N. K. Krupskaia on the basis of Lenin’s principles of communist upbringing. A. S. Makarenko, S. T. Shatskii, P. P. Blonskii, and V. A. Sukhomlinskii are among those who have developed Krupskaia’s principles, making them more specific.

In the other socialist countries, considerable attention is devoted to questions of family upbringing. Special journals, including Home and School (German Democratic Republic) and Family and School (Bulgaria), are published, as well as literature for parents. Symposiums and conferences are held, and experience in family upbringing in the socialist countries is put to use.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. O vospitanii i obrazovanii. Moscow, 1957. [Compiled by P. N. Gruzdev.]
Lenin, V. I. O vospitanii i obrazovanii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973. [Compiled by V. P. Gruzdev.]
Kalinin, M. I. O kommunisticheskom vospitanii: Izbr. rechi i stat’i. Moscow, 1968. [Compiled by L. K. Vinogradov.]
Krupskaia, N. K. O vospitanii v sem’e. Moscow, 1962. [Compiled by N. I. Strievskaia.]
Makarenko, A. S. Soch., vol. 4. Moscow, 1957.
Sukhomlinskii, V. A. Formirovanie kommunisticheskikh ubezhdenii molodogo pokoleniia. Moscow, 1961.
Volkov, K. N. O vremeni, detiakh i o sem’e. Moscow, 1971.
Zhukovskaia, R. I. Vospitanie rebenka v igre. Moscow, 1963.
Kovalev, A. G. Samovospitanie shkol’nikov. Moscow, 1967.
O sovmestnoi rabote shkoly, sem’i i obshchestvennosti (collection). [Compiled by T. A. Markova and L. F. Ostrovskaia.] Moscow, 1963.
Panfilova, T. S., and I. K. Daragan. Internatsional’noe vospitanie. Moscow, 1971.
Pechernikova, I. A. Velichie dushi: O vospitanii v sem’e Ul’ianovykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973.
Pechernikova, I. A. Vospitanie v sem’e Marksa. Moscow, 1974.
Semeinoe vospitanie: Slovar’. Moscow, 1972.
Smolina, V. V. Pervyi rebenok v sem’e. Moscow, 1966.
Fizicheskaia kul’tura v sem’e, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973.
Esteticheskoe vospitanie v sem’e. [Compiled by V. A. Razumnyi.] Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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