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Families & Lifestyles


Families & Lifestyles Chapter 14 Marital Satisfaction Is Good for Your Health One study of married women ages 42-50 Happily married women had lower BMI (weight ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Families & Lifestyles

Families Lifestyles
  • Chapter 14

The Family as a System
  • Marital relationships
  • Parenting relationships
  • Sibling relationships
  • Interactive relationships

Timing of Leaving Home and Marriage
  • Nearly half of young adults return home after
  • Many ethnic single adults tend to live at home
  • In the U.S. in 2000, average age of marriage was
    25 for women and 27 for men.
  • 90 of North Americans marry at least once, and
    59-60 are living as married couples.

Staying Single
  • Singlehood
  • 30 of males and 20 of females in the 30-34 age
    group are never married
  • Some are by choice and others by circumstances
    beyond their control
  • Altogether, in 2000, 25 of American adults lived

Factors in Family Function
  • Factors
  • One or two parents
  • More or fewer children
  • Extended family relationships
  • Family identity, commitment
  • Effects
  • Stability of the base
  • Role structure
  • Security
  • Identity

The Family Life Cycle
  • Not experienced due to
  • Out-of-wedlock births
  • Delayed childbearing
  • Divorce
  • Remarriage

Historical Sociocultural Changes
  • Movement to urban areas mobility affects
    extended families
  • Economic depression/war demoralizes
    destabilizes families.
  • Decrease in family size changes parenting role
  • Divorce creates hodgepodge of family
  • Media technology distractions to family life

Socio-cultural Value Changes
  • Belief that marriage is for personal fulfillment
    rather than a social contract (or religious
  • Belief that a stable environment is not required
    to provide the security needed for adult
    psychological function. (Later added children to

Socio-cultural Value Changes
  • Belief that parenting is gender neutral.
  • Change in sexual morals and mores.
  • Belief in the importance of pursuing personal

Getting Married
  • Erikson Intimacy vs. Isolation
  • A personal commitment to an intimate partner
  • People fear losing their identity
  • Compete rather than cooperate
  • Do not accept differences
  • Threatened when others get too close

Myths, Attitudes, Values Regarding Marriage
  • No Value Placed on Relationship Uniqueness
  • Survey Results
  • Is chastity important in selecting a marriage
  • Not important in the U.S., Sweden, Finland,
    Norway, Netherlands, Germany
  • Somewhat important in Japan Ireland
  • Most important in China, India, Indonesia, Iran,
    Taiwan, Palestine

Myths, Attitudes, Values Regarding Marriage
  • What is important in selection of a marital
    partner in the U.S.?
  • Housekeeping is not.
  • Emotional sensitivity is somewhat
  • Finding our soul-mates

Is being in love the only reason to marry?
  • Yes, in the United States
  • What is being in love?
  • Is it infatuation?
  • How are mates chosen in other cultures?
  • How is love regarded in other cultures?
  • Dependency on the other
  • Companionship and practical matters
  • Autonomy, appreciation of the other, intense
    emotion (our culture)

Cohabiting Adults
  • In 2000, 60 of couples were cohabiting
  • 1/3 of these relationships last less than a year
  • Less than 10 of them last 5 years
  • They are more egalitarian than marital
    relationships (Other than sex, you may be living
    as roommates.)

Cohabiting Adults
  • Disadvantages of cohabitation
  • Social disapproval
  • Emotional strain
  • Legalities of joint property
  • Potential problems of child custody
  • Older cohabitors may be more depressed
  • The experience of cohabitation changes attitudes
    and the nature of the relationship.

Cohabitation before Marriage
  • Most studies show that it leads to
  • Lower marital satisfaction
  • Lower happiness
  • Lower levels of commitment
  • Higher divorce rate
  • Some show no difference from non-cohabitors

Sternbergs Theory of Love
  • Triangular passion, intimacy, commitment
  • Consummate love all the elements
  • Companionate love low passion
  • Passionate love
  • Commitment may be the element that insures that
    the relationship survives

Marital Expectations The Mythical Image of
Marital Bliss
  • Satisfaction increases through the first year of
  • The best single predictor of marital satisfaction
    is the quality of the couples sex life.
  • If my spouse loves me, he or she should
    instinctively know what will make me happy.
  • No matter how I behave, my spouse should love me
    simply because he or she is my spouse.

Marital Expectations
  • Unrealistic expectations are probably a factor in
  • Young people with a religious view of marriage as
    sacred are less likely to have unrealistic
    expectations and are better able to cope.
  • Couples spend little time reflecting on the
    decision to marry.

Dual-Earner Marriage
  • Role overload - conflict between work and family
  • Role conflict being torn by the desire to excel
    at work and spend time with the family
  • These are greater for women

Dual-Earner Marriage
  • Usually the housework that is sacrificed
  • Career moves can be problematic
  • Can provide a better standard of living (not the
    same thing as quality of life)
  • Marital inequity is likely a factor in divorce.

Effects of Children
  • Temporary dip in marital satisfaction with first
  • A child causes a strain on a troubled marriage
  • More people seek family therapy when there are
    adolescent children in the house than at any
    other time.
  • Blended families are often problematic.

Working Parents
  • Over 50 of moms are employed
  • Does this just take the time formerly devoted to
    housework more kids?
  • Would parents overinvest in their kids?
  • Small children in daycare may suffer in cognitive
    development, attachment, social skills.
  • Being a latchkey child is associated with
    delinquency, school problems drug alcohol

One-minute Bedtime Stories?
  • Are these a reflection of our attitudes toward
  • The logistics of single-parenting are impossible
  • Many dual-earner families just do not have time
    for their kids
  • Parents do not recognize the need for time and
    succumb to busyness
  • Divorce and remarriage situations create many
    difficult or impossible situations for good

Many moms who can afford it are going home.
  • Ivy league schools have found that only 38 of
    their female graduates of childbearing age are
    actually in the workforce.

And why do we get divorces?
  • Poor conflict-resolution skills
  • Poor communication patterns
  • Younger age at marriage
  • Not attending religious services
  • Parental divorce
  • Multiple life stresses
  • Womens independence
  • No-fault divorce laws
  • Divorce is usually initiated by women

And then what happens? Single Parenting
  • Custodial Parents
  • Overwhelmed
  • Suffer financial decline (women)
  • Go into poverty
  • Non-custodial Parents
  • Have too little time with children
  • Feel alienated

Who is Poor?
Sociocultural Influences
  • Women feminization of poverty
  • 1/3 of single mothers 10 of single fathers
  • Families and poverty
  • Economic pressure linked with parenting
  • Benefits to parents help children
  • Poverty, aging, and ethnicity
  • 10-12 overall, more among women and ethnic

Psychological Ramifications of Poverty
Sociocultural Influences
  • Powerlessness
  • Vulnerable to disaster
  • Alternatives are restricted
  • Less prestige
  • Lower quality home environments for children

And then what happens? Exiting Divorce
  • Having trouble trusting everyone
  • Heatheringtons Categories
  • Enhancers 20 - better off
  • Good enough's end up about the same
  • Seekers 40 of men 38 of women
  • Libertines series of relationships
  • Competent loners dont remarry
  • Defeated worse off

  • On average, people remarry within 4 years.
  • Practical matters figure into this decision
  • Financial help
  • Childrearing help
  • loneliness
  • The divorce rate is higher for second marriages.
    Only about 1/3 stay remarried.
  • Negative patterns transferred
  • View divorce as acceptable
  • Stepfamily situations

Staying Married
  • Most unhappy marriages dissolve between the 5th
    and 10th year
  • One study shows that if people with marital
    problems will stay together for five years they
    will have returned to marital happiness
  • 72 of people at midlife say their marriages are
    very good or excellent
  • The majority of older married adults say that
    their marriages are happy
  • Four times as many widows as widowers

Marital Satisfaction Is Good for Your Health
  • More men than women report being happily married
  • Being married is associated with gains in mental
    and physical health for men
  • Relationship quality has a greater impact on
    mental health for women
  • Women are dissatisfied when the demands of family
    and career are overwhelming.

Marital Satisfaction Is Good for Your Health
  • One study of married women ages 42-50
  • Happily married women had lower BMI (weight),
    hypertension, cholesterol, depression
  • Overall, being happily married means being less
  • Being unhappily married is associated with higher
    rates of illness and earlier death.

Parenthood in North America
  • 70 of N.A. couples have children
  • There is a pattern of delayed childbearing
  • Fewer children (1.8 average in the U.S.)
  • Parenthood is still regarded as one of lifes
    most meaningful experiences.

Socioeconomic Variations in Families
Sociocultural Influences
  • Higher SES (Middle Class) parents
  • Develop childrens initiative and delay
  • Create home atmosphere in which children are more
    nearly equal participants
  • Less likely to use physical punishment
  • Less directive more conversational with children
  • Neighborhood variation affects child development

Never Married Single Parents
  • Largest group is African-American young women
    (60 of births)
  • Why?
  • May have to do with black male unemployment
  • Tap the extended family
  • One-third marry later
  • Still have problems of poverty, poor school
    achievement of children and antisocial behavior.

Childless Couples
  • DINKs - double-income, no kids
  • How many couples are voluntarily childless?
  • 3-6 or 10-15
  • Often has to do with career commitment

Unintended Childlessness
  • Career Women (Hewlett, 2002)
  • 33 were childless at age 40
  • 42 who worked in corporations were childless
  • 49 of (6-figure) ultra-achievers were childless
  • 25 of high achievers age 41-55 (31 of
    ultra-achievers) would like to have a child
  • No high achiever had a child after age 39 and no
    ultra-achiever after age 36

Myths of Parenting
  • The birth of a child will save a failing
  • The child will think, feel, behave as the parents
  • Parents can expect the child to respect obey
  • The child is someone who will always love them.
  • The child is a second chance to achieve.
  • Parents can mold the child into what they want.
  • Mothers are naturally better parents than
  • Parenting is an instinct and requires no training.

What is Child Maltreatment?
  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect (physical, educational, emotional)
  • Emotional/psychological Abuse

Profile of Maltreatment
  • Most common offender is a young, poor, single
    mother who is overwhelmed and engages in neglect
    and psychological abuse
  • Factors are social isolation, unrealistic
    expectations of the child, substance abuse,
    depression, poverty, sickly or difficult child,
    other life stresses

Consequences of Maltreatment
  • Physiological stress hormones, abnormal brain
    wave patterns
  • Emotional rejection, anxiety, self-blame,
    psychological pain
  • Social discipline problems at school, poor peer
  • Eventually serious learning and adjustment
    problems, depression, substance abuse, academic
    failure, delinquency

Preventing Child Maltreatment
  • Research indicates that a trusting relationship
    with another person is the most important factor
    is preventing mothers with childhood histories of
    abuse from repeating the cycle.
  • Parents Anonymous

  • Many people become grandparents in their 40s.
  • They like being a valued elder, child indulger,
    having a form of immortality, and being able to
    transmit family history and values.
  • Grandparents may offer childcare, and even
    greater support to a custodial parent of their
  • Grandparents of the non-custodial parent often
    have to negotiate for visitation rights.

Skipped-Generation Families
  • Surrogate parenting grandparents take custody
    of their own grandchildren because the parent is
    not functioning due to such factors as drug
    abuse, mental illness, incarceration, adolescent
    pregnancy, divorce.
  • Includes about 5.6 million children

Skipped-Generation Families
  • Grandparents may be tired and emotionally
    drained, but joyful at being of help to the
  • Children tend to fare better in school that those
    from single-parent or blended homes.
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