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SOCW 647 Social Work And Families Lecture No. 3


Carter and McGoldrick ( 1999 ) generations have a life-shaping impact on each ... they extend to family members, girlfriends and ex-spouses to help with child care. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: SOCW 647 Social Work And Families Lecture No. 3

SOCW 647 Social Work And Families Lecture No. 3
Carter and McGoldrick ( 1999 )
  • Carter and McGoldrick ( 1999 ) generations have a
    life-shaping impact on each other as families
    move through the family life cycle stages. As
    one generation deals with aging, another is
    coping with children leaving home. Another maybe
    planning careers or beginning to experience
    intimate relationships.
  • Social class lifestyles and cultural
    background are interlinked.
  • Degrees of ethnic identification, social
    class, religion, politics, geography, the length
    of time the group has been in the country and the
    severity of discrimination experienced as a
    group. All of these factors influence their
    attachment to tradition ( Hines, Garcia, Preto,
    McGoldrick, Almeida and Weltman, 1999 ).
  • Acculturation generally occurs over
    several generations after immigration (
    Hernandez And McGoldrick 1999) Risk of labeling
    behavior can occur, i.e. Latina womans devotion
    to her family above her own welfare.
    Asian-American mans insistence that his parents
    live with him, to the consternation of his
    Caucasian wife.

Interpersonal conflicts
  • Interpersonal conflicts that develop within a
    family may signal the familys inability to
    negotiate a particular life cycle passage or
    transition point, here the family is thought to
    have become stuck between stages of the life
    cycle and in need of reorganizing in order to
    better accommodate to the changing needs of its
  • Contemporary middle class American
    society expects adolescents to behave differently
    from adults, young adults, economic circumstances
    permitting, are encouraged to develop
    independence and autonomy. Developmental
    competencies in inner-city environment may call
    for survivor skills that the larger society may
    find inappropriate. Different times, such as
    periods of war often require different survival
  • Newly married couples must develop a
    process for gaining greater closeness and
    interdependence, the nature of their involvement
    with one another inevitably changes once they
    have a child. Parents must remain involved with
    young children in a way that would be smothering
    for adolescents (Minuchin, Lee and Simon, 1996).
    Life cycle concepts generalizations should be
    seen within the context of particular class,
    culture and historical period. Young Native
    Americans seek to escape from poverty, find a
    lack of opportunity on the reservation,
    frequently move to urban areas, weakening ties to
    traditional kinship network of Native American
    family life and its customary stages of
    development ( Sue and Sue 1999 )\

Eco systemic work
  • Eco systemic work with Latino families ( Falicov
    1998 ) contends family therapy encounter is
    really an engagement between the therapists and
    the familys cultural and personal constructions
    about family life.
  • Predictable marker events, phases of
    families i.e. marriage, birth of a first child,
    children leaving home, death of grandparents,
    each stage precipitated by particular life events
    ( Zilbach 1989 ) family stage marker. These
    passages may occur due to change in family
    composition i.e. birth of twins, perhaps due to
    major shift in autonomy, family members start
    kindergarten, entering adolescence, moving away
    from home. External factors may also stress
    family, demand, new adaptations, a move to a new
    community, a change in career, coping with
    natural disaster, change in economic interest.

Most families will experience a normal
developmental process of change
  • Most families will experience a normal
    developmental process of change ( See Table 2.2
    Goldenberg text ) Some families will experience
    destabilization as its members struggle to
    accommodate change. An example of this is the
    father and mother who develop violent
    disagreements about how late their teenage
    daughter may stay out on Saturday night and what
    friends she may be with), stress will be evident.
    One or more family members may become symptomatic
    (the daughter may become angry and withdrawn the
    mother becomes depressed, the father feels
    isolated and alone, and the parents marriage
    deteriorates). The more rigid the familys
    interactive system and pattern, the less likely
    the members will be able to negotiate
    differences, the more the family will struggle
    against and be stressed by the need to change,
    and the more likely symptoms will develop within
    the family.

( Zilbach 1989 )
  • ( Zilbach 1989 ) notes , during each stage,
    family development proceeds through family task
    development, and family characteristics of the
    previous period are carried over into the next
    stage. If the carrying out of any particular set
    of tasks is incomplete, impeded, or disturbed,
    then development is delayed or suspended and
    these difficulties are carried out into the
    subsequent stages of family development. For
    example, parents may experience fears of
    separating from a young child and allowing that
    child to move out of the immediate family to day
    care, preschool or kindergarten. That same fear,
    unresolved, may later cause conflict between
    parents and the child in adolescence as
    separation again becomes a family issue when the
    adolescent seeks greater freedom and
    self-direction still later, it may delay
    separation from the family as a young adult.

Family changes
  • Family changes can be harmonious or they can
    become disruptive. A family may be confronted by
    unexpected catastrophic events ( serious
    financial reverses, a terrorist attack, death of
    a young child by drowning, random drive-by
    shooting ) Such crises disrupt the familys
    normal developmental flow and inevitably produce
    relationship changes within the family system.
  • ( Neugarten-1976) points out the
    inappropriate and unanticipated timing of a major
    event may be particularly traumatic precisely
    because it upsets the sequence and disturbs the
    rhythm of the expected course of life. Neugarten
    cites the death of a parent during ones
    childhood, teenage marriage, and a first marriage
    postponed until late in life, or a child born to
    parents in midlife. Hoffman ( 1988) particularly
    points out to those events that affect family
    membership- events representing family gains (
    children acquired through marriage ) or family
    losses ( separation of parents, death ).

Some families
  • Some families will develop effective
    collaborative ways of coping with adversity and
    hardship- what Walsh (1999b) calls relational
    resilience, may emerge hardier from crises or
    persistent stresses or the demands for life cycle
    transitional changes. A childless couple may
    postpone having children for fear of the child
    restricting mobility, increasing responsibility,
    interrupting sleep, constricting their social
    life or they may welcome parent hood to
    strengthen the family and to invest in its
    future. The discontinuous changes brought about
    by remarriage may result in disequlibrium, role
    confusion, heightened conflict in the new family,
    or they may provide a second chance to form a
    more mature stable relationship.

Carter and McGoldrick ( 1980 )
  • Carter and McGoldrick ( 1980 ) broadened the life
    cycle concept to include a multidimensional ,
    multicultural, multigenerational perspective.,
    further expands the concept to include
    individual, family and sociocultural
  • Two wage earners families versus one wage
    earner, ( stay at home parent with children) and
    its home life needs to be factored into the
    consideration of family development besides high
    divorce rates, single parent adoptions, children
    born to teenagers who are unmarried, or born
    later in life to older women, unmarried couples,
    gays, lesbians and transgender people and
    numerous single stepfamily arrangements
  • Have complicated the oversimplified picture of
    normal family development.

Structural position
  • Structural position Here the position is argued
    that problems develop within a family with a
    dysfunctional structure when the family
    encounters a transition point but lacks the
    flexibility to adapt to the changing conditions.
    For example a young husband and wife who have not
    achieved sufficient separation from their parents
    to be able to establish their own independent
    marital unit may experience considerable
    distress, confusion and conflict as they enter
    the next phase of their family life- the birth
    and rearing of their own children.

Strategists ( Jay Haley 1979 )
  • Strategists ( Jay Haley 1979 )
  • Jay Haley argues that some families may
    need therapeutic help ti solving problems evoked
    by a young adult member ready to leave home and
    embark on a more independent life. Haley views
    individual symptomatology as arising from an
    interruption of the familys normal developmental
    process. He is likely to direct his efforts at
    helping the family as a whole resolve the impasse
    that they are experiencing as a group.

Barnhill and Longo 1978 )
  • Barnhill and Longo 1978 ) contend that families
    can become fixated and arrested at a certain
    level of development and thus fail to make the
    necessary transition at the appropriate time.
    Barnhill and Longo suggest that symptoms
    appearing in any family member ( for example
    adolescent delinquent behavior ) are evidence
    that the immediate family life task has not been
    mastered. Anxiety and distress are thought to be
    at their maximum at transition points as the
    family tries to cope, rebalance, realign and
    restore stability.

McGoldrick and Carter (2003 )
  • McGoldrick and Carter (2003 ) encompassing,
    intergenerational view of the family, impact of
    multiple stressors on a familys ability to
    navigate transitions. There are vertical and
    horizontal stressors.
  • Vertical Stressors include any biological
    heritage, genetic make-up, temperament and
    possible congenital disabilities within the
    family. Any racism, sexism, poverty, homophobic
    attitudes as well as family prejudices and
    patterns of relating carried over from previous
    generations add to these vertical stressors.
  • Horizontal stressors describe the events
    experienced by the family as it moves forward
    through time, coping with changes and transitions
    of the life cycle, various predictable
    developmental stresses as well as the unexpected,
    traumatic such as an untimely death, birth of a
    handicapped child, serious accident, migration,
  • Experiences- terrorism, war, economic depression,
    natural disasters, social polices.

Any horizontal axis
  • Any horizontal axis stress like the revelation of
    a teenage girls pregnancy or the coming out of
    a homosexual adolescent boy can cause great
    disruption to a family whose vertical axis is
    already intensely stressed ( excessive family
    concerns about appearance of moral rectitude ).
    In general, the greater the anxiety inherited
    from the previous generations at any transition
    point, ( anxieties over being parents and
    raising children, passed on by a womans parents
    ) the more anxiety producing and maladaptive this
    point will be for that young mother expecting her
    first child. When horizontal ( or developmental )
    stresses intersect with vertical ( or
    transgenerational ) stresses, there is a quantum
    leap in anxiety in the system. Concurrent
    external stresses- death, illness, financial
    setbacks, moving to a new and unfamiliar
    community- as family progresses through its life
    cycle adds to the stress.

With immigration,
  • With immigration, there is the challenge of
    undocumented individuals learning to survive in a
    strange environment dislocation process is
    filled with duress alongside hope for a better
  • Family elders may lose status within a
    family as a result of assimilating more slowly to
    the language and lifestyle of the new land than
    do their adolescent family members. For example a
    parent who was an engineer in the old country or
    teacher in the old country may be able to find
    work only in lower-status jobs as a construction
    worker or manicurist.
  • The reasons for migration (war,
    famine, political, religious persecution ) are
    often significant along with problems of
    employment, housing, language, xenophobia, and
    discrimination may be traumatic and affect life
    cycle development.
  • Wong and Mock (1997) describe role
    reversals in Asian-American families where
    children gain quicker proficiency of English than
    their parents, undermining traditional cultural
    norms of parental authority.
  • Falicov (1998) cross-cultural
    dilemmas as Latino families try to make sense of
    adapting to American life and raise children
    according to the style of the dominant culture.
  • Mexican-American families, migration
    may be more than a one-time event. Illegal border
    crossings may be frequent due to previous
    unsuccessful attempts. They may be deported again
    and will try again for re-entry., or simply leave
    returning as work is available. This on-going and
    prolonged process includes parent-child
    separations, parents attempt to immigrate ahead
    of their children, or in other cases send their
    children ahead in either case , the breaking of
    ties within the nuclear family may have long-term
    negative consequences ( Santisteban,
    Muir-Malcolm, Mitrani And Szapocnik, 2002 ).

Combrinck Graham (1988
  • Combrinck Graham (1988) believes that family
    life through time is cyclical, or more
    accurately proceeds in a spiral. There are
    certain times when family members are tightly
    involved with one another, i.e. when a child is
    born or serious illness with a family member, as
    centripetal periods. At other times (starting
    school, beginning a career) , individual moves
    take precedence, and centrifugal periods occur..
    Combrinck Graham contends that three
    generational families are likely to alternate
    centripetal and centrifugal states( keeping
    family members together and pushing them apart )

Brenlin ( 1988)
  • Brenlin ( 1988) states that family development
    occurs as gradual oscillations ( or
    micortransitions ) between stages as the family
    makes its way to the next developmental level.,
    it involves multiple simultaneous transitions in
    as various members are undergoing differing
    degrees of interlocking life changes.
  • Laszloffy ( 2002 ) finds two
    problems with traditional family development She
    states that not all families , regardless of
    composition and culture, develop in the same
    order, ignoring the infinite variations possible
    between families. She also argues that the life
    cycle approach is biased towards a single
    generation ( such as launching a family member )
    and fails to attend to the intergenerational and
    interactional complexities of families( launching
    a and reciprocal leave staging ).

In middle-class families
  • In middle-class families separation from parents
    is made more difficult due to longer periods of
    education, prolonged financial dependency,
    inopportune economic conditions, delayed
    marriages due to career demands, fear of sexually
    transmitted diseases like AIDS, general
    acceptance of later marriages and apprehension
    about the longevity of marriage, or fear that
    marriage will not work at all make a commitment
    to a new relationship more tenuous.
  • White middle and upper class women
    especially are likely to live away from family
    and be on their own before marrying, putting off
    marriage until they complete their education and
    launch careers. Working class people can find
    themselves marrying sooner, often viewing
    marriage as a sign of defining themselves as
    adults (Rank 2000 ). They may move from a family
    home to a marriage without having experienced
    living alone and being economically
    self-sufficient. This can be true for some
    members of some religious groups i.e. Orthodox
    Jews, Christian Fundamentalists.

( Ludtke 1997 )
  • ( Ludtke 1997 ) Some poorer African-American
    women may find little reason to delay having
    children due to experiencing fewer prospects for
    pursuing education or a subsequent career, and
    may sincerely doubt that their socioeconomic
    opportunities will ever improve.
  • Independence to inter-dependence,
    what Gerson (1995 ) called coupling., whether in
    heterosexual marriage or cohabitation or
    same-sex pairing. With marriage there is a
    change in the two established systems and the
    development of a subsystem. (New couple), primary
    allegiance to one another, secondary allegiance
    to families of origin. Sometimes early marriages
    may represent a cultural norm for some (e.g. some
    Latinos ) or an effort to escape their families
    of origin and create the family they never had (
    McGoldrick 1999 ) Or fear of intimacy and
    commitment may delay marriage for many men and
    women, for older women with careers, there maybe
    fear of loosing independence once married.

Napier ( 2000 )
  • Napier ( 2000 ) states that marriage involves
    learning to be separate and together, to allocate
    power, to pool financial and emotional resources,
    to shape a sexual life, to share intimate as well
    as mundane feelings, and most challenging, to
    raise the next generation . It also involves
    negotiating levels of emotional intimacy, working
    out power arrangements, deciding whether to have
    children and when, determining the degree of
    connection to their extended families and

Family traditions
  • Family traditions to retain, abandon or modify.
    We have two separate cultures with differing
    customs, values, rituals, beliefs, gender roles,
    prejudices, aspirations and experiences. Part of
    the paradigms have to be retained to that each
    person maintains a sense of self the two
    paradigms must be reconciled in order for the
    couple to have a life together. New transactional
    patterns emerge accommodations or tacit
    agreements to disagree.
  • Connection can be fraught with hesitations
    reluctance to abandon the life lived as a single
    person,maintaining separate bank accounts, taking
    separate vacations, pursuing weekend activities
    with friends or with separate families of origin
    rather than spending time together. Learning to
    cooperate and compromise over differences takes a
    long time, sometimes never achieved.

The arrival of children
  • The commitment of husband and wife, or
    significant committed partners to become parents
    presents a significant transition in a familys
    life, changing forever the roles of mates who are
  • Gerson ( 1995 ) husbands and wives who
    become parents become part of a supra-system ,
    they take care of the younger generation, ,
    parental siblings uncles and aunts ,nieces and
    nephews also move up in the system. A vertical
    realignment occurs for the new family and
    extended family. Husband and wife need to
    redefine and re-distribute household and
    child-care duties, decide possibly how they will
    earn a living with one breadwinner for a period
    of time, and determine how to resume sexual and
    social activities. ( Kaslow, Smith and Croft 2000

Older parents
  • Older parents have to accommodate young children
    in an already established or perhaps fixed
    pattern of relationships, often without being
    able to call upon elderly grandparents for
    support. Hines (1999 ) observes that the birth
    of children harkens a young couples need to
    connect ( or reconnect ) to the extended family
    network, perhaps for occasional child care and
    almost certainly for emotional if not financial

With adolescence
  • With adolescence, there is restructuring of the
    family process to allow the teenager more
    independence. The task can become more
    challenging for immigrant families, as the
    adolescent normal striving for self-directed
    behavior is accelerated through assimilation into
    mainstream American society. For some poorer
    African-American, Latino or Asian families,
    adolescents can be expected to fulfill adult
    caretaking roles for younger siblings, or to
    contribute financially to the home, yet to remain
    obedient and respectful of parents ( Preto 1999
    ). In such cases, becoming independent may not
    have the same family value as it may have for
    Anglo-American middle class groups. Rule
    changing, limit setting, role renegotiations are
    all necessary..

All of this can occur
  • All of this can occur during mid-life
    transitions for parents, where questioning
    choices of careers can occur with questioning of
    marital partners. For some women its a the first
    opportunity to pursue a career without child-care
    responsibilities. There can also be the reality
    and responsibility of caring for aging parents,
    grandparents,necessitating role reversals between
    parents and now-dependent grandparents.
  • Once again with some Latino families
    children can remain in the home until they are
    married or are in their early twenties (
    Santisteban,Muir-Malcolm,Mitrani 2002)

Reorganizing Generational Boundaries
  • Couples will now reassess their relationship to
    one another now that the children are gone. I.e.
    chance to travel or pursue other interests not
    before financially feasible. Marital strains
    covered over while children were raised may
    emerge. Some feelings of depression and
    loneliness may emerge. A major transitional point
    for a middle-aged adult will be the death of
    elderly parents.
  • Donald Williamson (1991 ) older
    hierarchical boundaries are replaced by a greater
    peer relationship between generations,
    particularly when children reach the age of forty
    and older.. Elderly deal with dependency upon
    children, possibly relinquishing power and
    status, coming to terms with illness, limitations
    and death.
  • Retirement and widowhood
  • Retirement can mean more than a loss of
    income, it can include loss of identity, status,
    purpose and losing being an important part of the
    community, family relationships must be
    renegotiated. A grandparents death may be the
    young childs first encounter with separation and
    loss. may be a reminder to parents of their own

  • Approximately, one million divorces occur in the
    United States., divorce has a powerful effect on
    all members of the family (Simon 1996) families
    can survive divorce better if there is a
    commitment towards co-parenting by both spouses.
    Divorce can be marked by stress, ambivalence,
    self-doubt and uncertainty.

Single parent led families
  • Now in the United States, one parent households
    now represent one in four households with
    children under the age of eighteen.
  • A divorced person ( 84 percent women, 16
    percent men ) with child custody
  • An unmarried mother with planned or unplanned
  • An older unmarried biological mother with a
    planned or unplanned child
  • A single person, male or female, gay or straight,
    who adopts a child
  • An unmarried woman, gay or straight, who chooses
    impregnation through donor
  • Insemination.
  • A widow or widower with children or stepchildren

Joint legal custody of children
  • Joint legal custody of children is becoming more
    common, members of extended families,
    grandparents, aunts, uncles continue to play key
    roles ( Everett and Volgy Everett 2000 ) Half of
    all African-American children live with single
    parents ( Fine, McKerney and Chung 1992 ) and
    informal adoptions ( relatives of friends care
    for children ) have a long history. Single parent
    families now represent the fastest growing family
    type in the United States ( Cox 1996 ) Close to
    twenty million children under eighteen live with
    one parent Heatherington, Isabella and Bridges (
    1998 ), theyt also predicit that 50-60 percent of
    children born in the 1990s will at some point
    live with single parents.

Divorced mothers
  • Divorced mothers with physical custody of
    children deal with no only lowered economic
    status but also with grief, self-blame,
    loneliness and an inadequate support system.

Single fathers with children
  • Single fathers with children will also experience
    financial pressures. Frequently, they extend to
    family members, girlfriends and ex-spouses to
    help with child care. (Anderson 2003 ) notes that
    single fathers, in contrast to single mothers,
    are viewed as noble for their parenting efforts.

The Bi-nuclear family ( Ahrons and Rodgers 1987
  • Children may reside with one parent, but both
    parents have equal access to them. Former marital
    partners have to be willing to cooperate here,
    have relatively equal and consistent parenting
    skills, and be able to work together without old
  • Carter and McGoldrick (1999) consider
    divorce a disruption or detour or dislocation
    regarding the family life cycle. Thus, divorce
    adds another family life cycle stage, families
    regroup and try to deal with physical and
    emotional losses

Remarried families
  • Single life is short lived for divorced people
    the median interval for remarriage for previously
    divorced men is 2.3 years, for women its 2.5
    years. About thirty percent of all divorced
    persons remarry within twelve months of getting
    divorced ( Ganong And Coleman 1994 ) There are
    eleven million remarried households in the United
    States, one out of three Americans today is a
    step-parent, stepchild, step-sibling or some
    member of a step-family. Different households,
    different rules, different responsibilities.
    Integration from a former household to an
    integrated step-family household ( Visher, Visher
    and Palsy 2003 )

  • Rivalries between step-children can occur as
    well as between biological mother and
    step-mother.. Here involves disorganization,
    reorganization, sometimes relocation and
    reassigning of roles ( Berger 2000 )

Gay and Lesbian Families
  • They learn to cope with living with stresses due
    to stigmatization within society. Prolonged
    unmarried status leads others to consider them
    erroneously as not fully functioning adults. Some
    families are childless, others have been formed
    after unsuccessful heterosexual marriages. Some
    parents may find comfort that their child is in a
    stable relationship, less likely to run the risk
    of indiscriminate sexual encounters. Other
    parents may be distressed since they can no
    longer ignore or perhaps deny their childs
    same-sex commitment. ( Fulmer 1999) argues that
    young lesbians are apt to bond earlier into
    stable couple hood than do gay men, because their
    identity is expressed as part of a partnership,
    they may be more likely than gay men to present
    themselves as a couple to their families. Many
    couples chose adopting a child and for some
    lesbian couples, artificial insemination or
    utilizing a surrogate becomes the mode of choice
    for having children.

Still experience marginalization
  • Still experience marginalization by the greater
    heterosexual society, possess limited civil and
    legal rights, frequently face accusations of
    immorality , must deal with unwelcome and unsafe
    environments and the threat of violent assault (
    Laird 2003 ) In some states, it is unlawful for
    gay and lesbian couples to adopt., while other
    states will allow it. Adams and Benson (2005 ) if
    adoption occurs previously rejecting family
    members may more readily accept their new role (
    grandparents, aunts, uncles , perhaps having
    children makes the adopting couple seem more like
    a mainstream family.

(2000 ) census
  • (2000 ) census revealed over a half a million
    same-sex unmarried households in the United
    States spread across all counties. In the United
    States. ( US Census Bureau 2003 ). Estimates that
    there are one to three million gay fathers (
    Silverstein And Quartironi 1996 ) and one to five
    million lesbian mothers who have given birth to
    children ( Gartrell 1996). Same sex couples who
    have children through donor insemination or
    through surrogate mothers there may be twelve to
    fifteen million children residing in homes with
    gay parents in the United States (Goldenberg and
    Goldenberg 2005). Nearly a quarter of all gay and
    lesbian couples are raising children (Adams and
    Benson 2005).

There is the challenge
  • There is the challenge of figuring out how to
    help their child fit into the mainstream with his
    or her peers while maintaining the parents
    sexual identity. (Carlson 1996 ). There is no
    evidence that gay or lesbian adults are less fit
    parents than their heterosexual counterparts (
    Gartrell, Deck, Rodas, Peyser and Banks 2005 ).
    Children of same-sex relationships rejecting
    their parents lifestyle may be especially
    fraught with conflict. The negative impact of
    marginalization, social disapproval, and
    discrimination by the majority culture should not
    be underestimated and has many effects similar to
    those experienced by other minority groups ( Snow
    2004 ).

Family therapists,
  • Family therapists, particularly structuralists (
    Salvador Minuchin ) and strategists ( Jay Haley,
    Chloe Madannes ) are especially interested in how
    families navigate transitional periods between
  • As Chloe Madannes says Family Therapy
    is screwball comedy in need of a plot twist.