White Paper–Thokeca

Proposal: Our population is growing steadily as time goes on, and raising a child is often a task put to several people in order to be sure that the child has the healthiest childhood and grows into a healthy adult. However, when examining the details of the situation of raising a child, sometimes it must be determined that more than two people, or more than a nuclear family, may not be what a child needs. The healthiest environment for raising a child in our day and age is limited to only two people, with no help from outside sources such as extended family or friends. Most families utilize the help of extended family members, such as aunts or grandparents. Some families even require help from babysitters or family friends in order to make sure the child is being watched consistently. However, the agreement between two people on matters as important as raising a child is already hefty; three or more people requires even more time to come to a conclusion. Children also require a lot of on-the-spot decisions. Having multiple people disagree on how to raise a child may introduce more arguments and difficult decisions being made around the child, which will lead to an unhealthy childhood surrounded by disagreements.


The essential content: This book delves deep into the studies of bargaining and negotiation, starting with the different types of bargains and how the amount of issues can change the likelihood of coming to an agreement. It defines bargaining and negotiation as well as explores the different scenarios in bargaining. It does delve into third-party agreements and the likelihood of coming to an agreement with that extra person available, coming to a solution that the third party must be trusted and understood in order for the agreement to truly come to fruition. It also lists that the more issues available to the situation, the less likely a full agreement will be reached.

What it proves: The “third party” mentioned earlier meant more of a facilitator and as such, isn’t as involved in the discussion situation and is virtually irrelevant, as the third party in the scenario of raising a child would act more as a family counselor instead of an active role in the child’s life. However, it was distinctly stated that the likelihood of an agreement being reached while more issues were at hand was lower. With the knowledge that adding in multiple people to a scenario adds more issues, or options to bargain with, this proves that two people should be the maximum for raising a child, as coming to an agreement best fit for the child must be the priority.

Childhood Problems in a Sudanese City: A Comparison of Extended and Nuclear Families

The essential content: The difference in children between nuclear and extended families were measured and accounted for. The discussion noted that extended families have children that fared better in the circumstances in Sudan. It presented the information of why there might also be a bias, as in Sudan the circumstances are much different than in the Western world, with situations such as stressful events like migration, or even different beliefs and culture that are not as relevant here such as “religious beliefs, norms of childhood development, approaches to the resolution of marital problems, etc.”

What it proves: The nuclear family format does not work for everyone, which is why this needs to be developed more as an essay. This source proves that a country such as Sudan will have much different circumstances as compared to that of the western world, or in our case, America. The norms of childhood development are very different as a whole.

Bargaining: Power, Tactics and Outcomes.

The essential content: This reading analyzes the concept of “bargaining power” and the situation of concession. It defines types of normative arguments and tactics of arguing, as well as conflict resolution and how bargaining power affects the situation. The theory of using tactics that punish both parties instead of punishing one or the other makes a concession more likely is disputed.

What it proves: In the situation of raising a child, there is always going to be a situation where someone is in the wrong or has done something wrong for the child. Introducing a third option where both or neither can be punished may result in an entirely new situation where more confusion arises and less agreements occur.

Reconstructing ripeness I: A study of constructive engagement in protracted social conflicts

The essential content: This source examines and produces information about the source of conflict and what it means. In one section, the different shortcomings and causes of conflict are listed. The importance of this reading is listed in the conclusion, where it lists constructive activities to solve long term conflicts.

What it proves: People have conflicts from all sorts of sources, from internal issues to external limits. While this goes for every person alive, the more people that are introduced, the more conflicts that arise. The importance is noting how many different conflicts can result from a multitude of sources and noting that more people involved means more circumstances that might affect the outcome of the child’s development.

Agreeableness and activeness as components of conflict behaviors.

The essential content: This source compares and contrasts agreeableness and activeness in the situation of a conflict and how it might affect the outcome of the solution. The correlation between agreeableness and activeness are also dependent on the people involved in the conflict, and tend to result in a more favorable outcome.

What it proves: In order for a conflict of interest to be resolved, one must first reason and be active in the argument in order to come to a conclusion. However, multiple people being active in an argument results in less likelihood of each of them having the same level of voice simply because the others may be drowning out one of more people involved.

5 thoughts on “White Paper–Thokeca”

  1. You have a beautiful thing going here, Thokeca. I’m impressed with the amount of thinking already on display here and the cleverness of your collection technique. You could easily have taken the “easy way” of gathering sources that examined child-rearing directly. Doing so would likely have resulted in a “they said, the others said” essay in which you would simply compare the conclusions of other researchers. Instead, you’re approaching your narrow thesis from a broader perspective—the completely relevant but not immediately obvious angle of conflict, negotiation, and resolution—to explain the disadvantage of involving too many people in child-rearing.

    It’s a complex and fruitful approach that will help you draw your own fresh conclusions.


  2. Naturally, I have advice to offer also.

    The Sudanese example. This is a rebuttal source, problematic but essential. It represents the thinking of many future readers who will sit back with folded arms as you make your argument, confident that they are sitting on the refutation that will undo your entire thesis. “Many cultures successfully employ a village approach to raising children,” they’re thinking. “What makes you think your ‘two people only’ approach is superior?”

    You’ll use this article (or an even better one if you find one) to represent that refutation point of view. Of course, you’ll need to be able to refute it.

    In the meantime, you should refine your hypothesis to eliminate its relevance. You don’t have to make claims about “all human families in every country since the beginning of time.” Your hypothesis can be that in contemporary American society, the ideal family for raising children is comprised of two adults plus a child or children.

    You’ll still need to rebut the refutation sources to satisfy readers who insist a village is better, but you won’t have put yourself in an indefensible position.


  3. I have stylistic advice too. To put this bluntly, you’re using words to make sentences, not to make sense. (Not every time of course, but too often.)

    Here’s an example of a claim almost impossible to follow:

    The theory of using tactics that punish both parties instead of punishing one or the other makes a concession more likely is disputed.

    The best I can figure is that there is a theory that the best way to get concessions from two disputatious parties, and presumably resolve the dispute, is to craft an agreement that punishes both parties instead of just one. THAT THEORY is disputed by your source.

    Could that be rephrased?

    The source disputes the value of punishing both parties to resolve a conflict.

    One more, if you’ll permit me:

    What it proves: In the situation of raising a child, there is always going to be a situation where someone is in the wrong or has done something wrong for the child. Introducing a third option where both or neither can be punished may result in an entirely new situation where more confusion arises and less agreements occur.

    I think you’re comparing the two-caretaker family to a family of three or more caretakers to demonstrate that additional caretakers increase confusion or disagreement and therefore complicate care decisions.

    Could that be rephrased for clarity?

    Caretakers will always disagree, and some will inflict real or imagined harm to the child that will aggravate the others. Every additional caretaker, along with whatever benefit, will also add conflict.

    I don’t mean to criticize your effort at all, Thokeca. You’re doing beautifully. But since every draft is a chance for me to be helpful, I like to suggest the best ways to improve your work.

    Your reactions, please.


    1. Thank you for the criticism, professor. I honestly was not very proud of this and asked for feedback on the basis of trying to find out how to improve it and you’ve helped very nicely. I also do have a problem with using passive voice or confusing phrasing all too often, so I will try to work on that.


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