Learner therapist (47)…… Background factors affecting family relations
Torrey OrtonJuly 8, 2014
Background factors affecting family relations
Understanding families and their dynamics is helped by a few ideas about people and relationships. These ideas provide handles for our experience of family life and structures which support it. The following factors must be understood as all existing in the context of the others, so they are an interacting set of factors contributing to family life. Each may have greater or lesser parts of biology, sociality, spirituality, economy and so on contained within it. The factors themselves may change from generation to generation and culture to culture. Immigrant families have the benefit and challenge of embracing multiple cultures as they become settled in new places
Gender, and sex
“..the pattern of behavior, personality traits and attitudes defining masculinity or femininity in a certain culture.” Psychology Dictionary
Birth order – in a family each child has a different developmental experience with the same parents. It differs because the parents change over the term of their parenting (they learn to parent and treat their children differently) and the environment of the family changes (social, economic and other systems change)
Family roles – child, parent, sibling, friend, partner
At any time we may be all of these roles at once. That is, as a child we may also be a sibling (of other children in a family), parent of our own children, friend to our sibs and parents, and partners. These roles provide different human development functions within families, which come into play over the life span
Development stages – baby, child, adolescent, young adult, adult, ageing, aged. There is some disagreement about life stages because the boundaries between them (however they are defined) are quite porous and unpredictable. Simply, we can’t run until we can walk and so on. Life skills have a stage nature.
Life skills – may be developed, under-developed or over-developed; both over and under-development may be dysfunctional, and ‘normal’ development may be inadequate to present circumstances!!
Relationship Needs - dependence, independence, inter-dependence. Early in life, and sometimes thereafter, we are dependent on others for our survival; as we grow we seek to be independent in many practical ways. Some of us may learn to be interdependent. In that case we negotiate the shift of our dependence and independence with our partners.
Values – fairness seems to be a universal human value (shared to some extent in our near human ape cousins); we seem to be programmed by nature to seek fairness and this may be because it is a deep foundation of group survival.
Culture of origin – all the above factors have specific and often different approved forms in different cultures. These forms reflect aspects or interpretations of the factors which follow. Culture is the gathered wisdom of a group’s approach to making a life together.