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Family Interaction

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  1. (a).Why is it so difficult to come up with a shared working definition of the word family?

It is difficult to come up with a common definition of the word family because a family has versatile impacts on the lives of the people. Families are diverse and mostly depend on the situations they experience. In addition, family is never static as one may leave his/her mates to join another group of people during marriage, and this way the constellation of the family is changed.

(b).What is three elements that a good working definition needs to include?

A good working definition of family needs to include a group of people, the inter relationship among them which is either biological or social as well as the characteristics of the people and the role they play in the family structure.

2. (a.) Why is it critical to consider socioeconomic, racial, cultural and ethnic factors when studying family structure and process?

It is important to consider these factors when studying the family structure and process since they are elements that make up daily life and, therefore, aid in understanding of how the family is functioning.

(b). Give three examples of how socio-economic, racial, ethnic, or cultural factors can inform one’s understanding of how a family is currently functioning.

  • Financial position of the family.
  • The family’s ways of worship.
  • Relationships among the family members, i.e. positive or negative.

3. Triangulation and coalition are two terms used to describe relationships within a family systems framework.

(a). Define triangulation and coalition.

Triangulation is a situation whereby two family members do not communicate directly due to conflicts. Instead, they bring in a third member of the family. Bringing in the third member reduces tension and helps stabilize the family relationship. On the other hand, coalition is a situation where members of the family are united and weigh the same ‘voice’.

(b). Under what circumstance might you see both triangulation and coalition(s) within the same family?

Both coalition and triangulation may occur in cases where in the event of a conflict, each of the two opposing party seeks to join the same third party.

(c). How might a particular style of triangulation or coalition be transmitted across generations?

Triangulation/ coalition might be transmitted across generations in a situation whereby, in case of conflict otbreak between parents, one parent tries to enlist the support of the child against the other parent; or where one parent is more concerned and readily responds to the needs of the child while the other parent withdraws and becomes less responsive.

4. List three structural characteristics that could help you to differentiate or distinguish between a well differentiated and a poorly differentiated family system.

  • The parental role in the family, whether it is well defined or not.
  • Communication between family members, whether communication is open or bi-directional.
  • The degree of support, whether members consistently support each other or there is a lot of hostility within the family system.

5. (a).Provide an example of family (not individual family member) resilience.

Resilience is the ability to cope with a crisis and maintain healthy functions regardless of a disadvantageous background which may be related with poor results. An example of family resilience is where family members try to cope well when they are faced with adversity, such as one of them being sick or disabled.

(b). List two coping strategies that families might rely on to promote family resilience.

Families may employ various strategies, in order to promote family resilience. Some of them include:

  • Regular communication with the immediate family.
  • Accepting the situation, in which they are.
  • Passive appraisal.
  • Avoidance.
  • Indulging in spirituality.

(c). .Do you think that resilience is a static or transient dimension of family functioning? Why?

Resilience is a transient dimension since it is a process of adaptation which is faced with many challenges. Also, the degree of resilience vary from one family to another: some are more resilient, and others are less resilient while others are not resilient at all.

6. (a) List three Family Tasks that are the common and essential responsibilities that families fulfill for society as well as for individual family members.

  • Socializing.
  • Emotional security.
  • Reproductive and sexual tasks.
  • Economic tasks.

(b) Provide examples for each of the three that indicate adaptive and maladaptive functioning.

Socializing indicates adaptive function as it may change an individual from having disruptive conduct to become more constructive. In contrast, emotional security is a maladaptive function as it may help in the reduction of an individual’s annxiety.

7. Provide two reasons why non-normative stressors may have more negative impacts on families than normative stressors.

Normative stressors are less likely to bring crisis because they are easily predictable and most families prepare for the changes that might take place. In contrast, non- normative events are highly stressful since they cannot be predicted and hence they are likely to bring rather negative impacts on families.

8. List three strategies that families employ for managing stress. 

There are various strategies that families employ in the stress management, which include:

  • Getting enough sleep. This helps in emotional and physical wellbeing and improves one’s ability to handle stress.
  • Maintaining social support. This is essential as it brings happiness to people and improves their health, thus making them less vulnerable to stress.
  • Seeking medical advice. Family members may seek counseling from medical practitioners, especially psychologists, in order to be able to handle stress.

(a) Give an example of how the same coping strategy can be used to cope with challenges at two different points in the family life cycle?

Having the right attitude in life can help one to cope with challenges at various points in family life cycle. It involves being optimistic, as well as leads to stress reduction and brings success to people’s lives. Optimism makes people change their negative thoughts into positive ones through using positive affirmatives.

(b) Why are different strategies sometimes appropriate at different points in the family life cycle?

It is appropriate to use different strategies at different points, in the family life cycle, since employing a variety of copying strategies and resources help maintain a healthy family functioning. This is essential as it helps in providing the best outcome for the entire family.

9. In the media (e.g., newspapers, television programs) we often hear about "dysfunctional" families. What information have you learned in class that you might use to consult to the media about this topic?

Dysfunctional families are those where by members fail to work together in a healthy way. We have learnt that these families are exposed to the potential damage that is likely to occur if this behavior is not contained. The information I would wish to get from the media is: how can one understand and deal with a dysfunctional family in order to bring the situation back to normal?

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