Family Analysis Paper
Families fall apart being disintegrated despite the fact that books are written and seminars are conducted all over the world in an attempt to see them become a united body. However, I believe that when family members learn how to communicate effectively with each other, then higher levels of intimacy and self-disclosure are established because they understand their roles and responsibilities better, making the family function as it is supposed to do. Additionally, since families are to serve their function in producing balanced people in society, then individual, relational and kinship maintenance, as well as respect are some of the concepts that they need to embrace wholesomely (Galvin, Braithwaite, & Bylund, 2015). In this paper, I will provide: 1) a summary description of my family system, 2) an evaluation of adaptability and cohesion, 3) a description and analysis of family meanings and rules, and 4) a discussion of family conflict.
Summary Description of My Family System
I live with my father and mother as the only child. My father's name is Liang Li, while that of my mother is Shoumei Zheng. The former is working as a civil servant in the Chinese government, while the latter is a businesswoman. Although my native home is China, I came to America at the age of sixteen with the main intention of studying here. My parents love me very much and always want the best for me, and I believe that is the reason why they want me to get the best education in America.
One of the concepts I have seen being upheld in my family includes providing for individual development. It covers tasks that each person in the family must fulfill to become self-sufficient (Galvin et al., 2015). Families that usually interact in ways that help people discover themselves and their talents are more fulfilled than those that do not. For example, at the age of sixteen, my parents sent me to America to further my studies. They believe that here I can obtain the best education. Therefore, I will get the best of what they have to offer and succeed in life.
Providing for kinship maintenance and family management is another concept describing my family that entails sharing, participating and promoting family's welfare by keeping contact with kin members that live outside family home (Galvin et al., 2015). Usually, interactions can come through phone calls, emails, text messages or letters. Sometimes people visit each other or organize recreational activities. Such communication strengthens family bonds, and it is true in regards to my current situation. Since my parents live in China, we have tried to nurture and maintain our ties through constant communication while in school, and during school breaks, I visit my parents.
Providing basic resources also characterizes my family system. For a long time, men have been known to be the major financial providers in the family. Today, this function has experienced a revolution, and women also participate in providing financially for the family. Changes in the economic climate and cultural acceptance have made them engage in careers in order to earn a living (Galvin et al., 2015). I have seen both my parents contributing financially for family's upkeep. It is because my father works as a civil servant, while my mother is a businesswoman.
The concept of respect can be described as an act of honoring and caring for the wellbeing of one another (Galvin et al., 2015). Usually, it entails supporting other people's choices, values or actions, to which one may not fully agree or understand. I have seen my parents respecting choices I make while staying far from them despite the fact that sometimes they do not understand the reason why I make some decisions. Likewise, I also respect values of my parents and their decisions. To us as a family, respect is usually a mutual thing that occurs between my parents and me and between them.
Forgiveness is a process in which harm done by one party to another is acknowledged, and the harmed party pardons the offender (Galvin et al., 2015). It is usually through forgiveness that reconciliation between members can be established. For instance, I remember when I failed to keep in touch with my parents for a while. I did not think it was a big issue but they were disappointed since this was the only means, through which we could communicate. Realizing my mistake, I immediately asked for forgiveness, and we ended up reconciling. Considering these concepts, my family is integrated as a system, functioning effectively.
Adaptability and Cohesion
Cohesion between family members has four definite levels (Galvin et al., 2015). These can be classified as follows. The first is a disengaged level, where family members are completely independent and have no sense of belonging or loyalty towards the family. In a connected family, members experience some sense of belonging though there is emotional independence. A cohesive family is ideal as members strive to get emotionally close, although they emphasize individuality. In the enmeshed type, members depend on each other resulting in no individuality, as they are extremely close. As for my family, I can fairly describe it as being cohesive. It is because I have seen my parents bonding both together and with me often, and we have come to an understanding of each other better. It has led to my father supporting my mother's business and encouraging her to strive to be the best. Both of them encourage me to pursue what I want to be in life, while my mother and I likewise support my father in his career. Additionally, each member respects each other's opinions and decisions that one makes.
Since a family experiences changes, then it is important for its members to act accordingly in order to adapt to them. Adaptability can therefore be described as a way in which families can manage changes that occur in their lives to become stable (Galvin et al., 2015). Changes indeed have occurred in my family because of me moving away from China to America in order to study. Although initially it had been difficult for all of us, we adapted to the new situation in life. I have got used to my new environment, while they can stay well without me at home, though we keep in touch constantly. As a family, we have been able to adapt fairly well despite of the changes that have taken place.
Meanings and Rules
Rules can be categorized as either constructive or regulative. The former usually create and define new forms of behavior, while the latter regulates the existing ones (Galvin et al., 2015). Having to travel to America for my studies created a long-distance relationship between my parents and me. Therefore, new rules of communication had to be established. When there are significant distances between members of a family, then they usually make efforts to maintain communication. According to Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, and Zickuhr (2010), most teens talk to parents through cell phones. An attempt to make sure that people stay in touch usually reflects care and concern among family members, being a constructive rule. For example, since I left China, I have been constantly communicating with my parents through phone calls. Being together with the family can sometimes be assumed an act of care, although it can carry different meanings for various people. For example, because I study far away from my parents, visiting them during my school breaks shows how much I care about them and love them too, and it a constructive rule in the family.
Conflict: Productive and Destructive Processes
Cultural backgrounds can influence the attitude that members have towards conflict. Some cultures usually view an open struggle as being acceptable, while in others, such is seen as an act of rudeness. What is rather acceptable for them is to avoid verbal expressions whenever a conflict has occurred. A study carried out on Chinese parents and their children found out that during a conflict, the latter avoided an open struggle with the former and likewise avoided being passive (Spillius, 2014). On the contrary, they rather collaborated with their parents, which showed a constructive approach.
A family cannot be found without having disagreements once in a while. However, the way in which it resolves conflicts is just a matter of communication (Spillius, 2014). Avoiding conflict can lead to devastating long-term consequences that cannot be repaired (Galvin et al., 2015). For example, when I had joined high school, I loved history and wanted to major in it, but my parents had a different opinion on the same. They wanted me instead to major in geography since it had a larger scope of career opportunities. We would often argue about the choice I had to make, and I chose geography to avoid the conflict that usually appeared between my parents and me. Although the tension did cease, I ended up performing poorly in that subject, which eventually led to a total drop in my final grades. The way in which I handled the situation was destructive because I ended the conflict by avoiding confrontation and being passive, while I should have collaborated with my parents to find a neutral solution.
Understanding the importance of individual, relational and kinship maintenance and respect has made my family function effectively. Family members can end up being frustrated, if they lack an environment where these elements are expressed. Families should therefore strive to integrate these concepts to achieve a sense of belonging. For these factors to be established, communication is an important aspect that should be considered. My family has been able to adapt well despite the long-distance relationship we have. It is because we have kept our communication lines open ready to know how each member is doing.
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