Family development theory and normative issue emphasizes on the patterned and systematic transformations that families undergo as they progress through their course of life. The term family, in this case, represents a social group comprising of at least one parent-child relationship. It is the social norms that forms and guides family group with regards to the normative issues (Goldenberg & Goldenberg 2013).Each stage of family development is comprised of diverse family roles, tasks and relationship between family members, focusing on the shifting transformations that families undergo during the normative life span. Examples of the family development stages include first stage that is establishment stage where a new family is formed with the relation of two people who make a new house and they gradually distance from their family of origin forming their own nuclear family. The second stage, new parents, starts when they have a newborn added to their family, and the role of the newly wed couple broaden to bigger role of a mother and a father, then the third stage, preschool family, is the stage when the child starts developing and comprehending relations in his life and he accepts new addition of siblings to the family, then comes the fourth stage, school-age family, when these children start going to school and they get awareness about institutes and relations outside the home. Then comes fifth stage, family of adolescents, at this stage children develop their gender identity and have peer groups that identify them and learning about culture. Then comes sixth stage, family with young adults, children in the family start become more independent and they lose their family ties gradually. The seventh stage is, family of launching centers, the children start developing their independence and leave their parents and then its eighth stage, post-parental family, the children marry and they become parents and their own parents have to accept the new additions to the family, then comes, ninth stage of ageing family, when parents retire and they become dependent on their own children. The new family of their children takes care of the older as well as the new generation. (Moghaddam, 2016). Family development changes that do not directly involve children may still influence children in the interpersonal context of the multigenerational family framework. For instance, grandparents transitioning into retirement (Goldenberg & Goldenberg 2013).
Elimelech is married to Gitty and they have nine children. They are involved in three stages of family development at the same time. The first stage according to description of family development given above, they are at stage four, the school-age family. In this stage, the child is introduced to extra-familial institutions; dealing with the child’s adjustment and new environmental feedback. The child, on the other hand, establishes independent additional familial relationships. From the family case study given, Elimelech and his wife are trying to succeed with their children at school as well, and domestic responsibilities at home. At this age, children require the family unit to care for their needs, such as school needs, friendship needs, and physical needs(Zastrow, & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). Elimelech and Gitty’s would in several occasions wake their children up in the morning so that they could get ready for school. When the children surpass this age, they can be woken up with the help of an alarm clock. Furthermore, the parents prepare meals for the children and give parental love to them since they are still not mature enough to be independent.
The second family development stage that this family undergoes according to the table given above is the family with the adolescent stage. Here, the parents have to accept the adolescents while the children are developing a sexual identity and integrating with peer group culture. Elimelech and Gitty are still in the child bringing stage, stage four (described above), yet facing adolescents with their challenges of independence (Goldenberg & Goldenberg 2013). The parents during this stage, of family with adolescents, face the challenge of launching the children into the world. Additionally, children at this stage are given more leeway about what they want to do. For example, the children are encouraged to do their shopping and take care of the shopping needs of the family. This gives them independence. Research says that during adolescent age the sense of freedom in the children makes the parents have peace and harmony in the marriage, cooperation, and intimacy.
Thirdly Elimeleche’s family is in the eighth stage, post-prenatal family. Elimelech’s parents have children who are married. His parents have the role of letting go of children and redefining their marriage, they adopt potential new role as grandparents and the young couple, Elimelech and Gitty have potential new role as parents of new children. Research says that at this stage the young family is coping with possible caregiving and loss on older generation (Goldenberg & Goldenberg 2013). The normative issue facing the family is how to accept the different views and characteristics of the in-laws and incorporate them into the family unit.
Family development stages assign tasks to different family members according to their age and position in the household. Elimelech, in this case, is the eldest, educated and smart member of the family. He is concerned with education matters and offers advice to younger siblings regarding what one should study. His liberal and Judaic studies are also necessary for teaching Judaic family values to the family. He also doubles as the family education mentor.
Gitty (Elimelech’s wife) is responsible for household chores. She is action oriented and is unsettled until the house is put in order. She takes care of her nuclear family and the in-laws (Elimilech’s family of origin) as well. She is concerned with general cleaning of the house, family laundry, house repairs and proper arrangement of the family house. She is also the family cook and enjoys baking.
Sara, Elimelech’s eldest sister, second born after him, has a big heart. She is supportive and offers empathy to all family members. She is also concerned with counseling younger family members with various problems. She is the one that everybody runs to whenever they need little emotional support and moral support. She also connects the other siblings to the parents by communicating their problems. The parents are also supportive of her.
Abraham (married), Elimelech’s brother and third born Elimelech’s family, is the disciplinarian of the family. He makes the family members obey what his wife regard as proper. He is submissive to his wife yet authoritarian to his siblings. Although he may appear neutral, he strictly follows what his wife has commanded. He is dominating on the siblings, and everyone must work with his wife if it is proper. Michy, Elimelech’s second sister, on the other hand, is the all-time family favorite. Although she is married, she loves her family and her siblings. She ‘s nice to everyone in the family, and everybody likes her. Judith, Elimelech’s third sister, her role is being the fashion advisor. She knows the current styles and is the most up to date. However, she is struggling with her family, and she is the one reaching out to get helped but to the wrong people.
Chaim (married), Elimelech’s third brother, is the happy go lucky, but you better not aggravate his wife Sara because she’ll just cut off any ties with you. Shea (fourth brother) presents himself as the decent guy his role is to make dad and mom smile. Hershel (fifth brother) just runs his life the way he wants, and parents are altering themselves to accommodate him. He is the independent one
The family as the social group has well-structured rules that the members often adhere to. (Hepworth, et.al, 2009, p. 240). In this family, Elimelech’s mother is authoritarian, and her words are law. When the mother asks for something, there is no room for argument neither is there a choice. Every family member must obey the mother’s inquiry. Additionally, the father is a no-nonsense person. He only needs to give hints, but the rest is upon the family members to figure out.
The organization and structure in the family positively affect the family’s ability to maintain a sense of equilibrium and manage its life stage task of keeping the family together. For example, in this family, the males are equally responsible for domestic needs. It bonds the family jointly with the sense of responsibility and having equal rights in the family affairs. (Hepworth, et.al , 2009)
The family is based on strong discipline background where the father and mother are the sole decision makers and everybody is to follow. For example, there are no excuses for delaying proper greetings of good wishes, parents decide about education, dress code and holiday celebrations, certain customs, especially of holidays, can not be changed from the mom’s unalterable decisions. It is supposed that this ensures uniformity in family affairs and bond the family with strong ties. It also brings the sense of togetherness and eliminates separation among family members. According to research, positive qualities in the relationship between parents and children help children in developing greater healthy independence and autonomy from parents and a sense of self-reliance (Zimmer-Gembeck, Madsen, & Hanisch, 2011). The children conform a lot to the family laws and rules and they don’t disobey the parents. This may appear to develop good relationship among children and parents in this family.
The family is in a close relationship yet flexible, no interdependence between siblings, but parents are not too flexible any change of the “norms” will shake them up. As a result, the whole family is precautious about any decisions. The strict rules that have been set by the parents make the family members feel close to each other and maintain close contact with each other because they are strictly conformed and obeyed by the children. Older siblings guide the younger ones and provide right direction. Additionally, the family is supportive of each family member, and there is love among the family members. The sharing of the domestic chores also binds the family together. The family also names children after the generation, for example, the name Shea Fasten. This keeps generational love down the family genogram.
Balance between separateness and connectedness and communication pattern
Open communication is not the best between the additions (in-laws) in the family, yet between immediate siblings, it is used including constructive criticism and reaching out for help. The communication between family members affects the family both in negative and positive ways. It is positive because it helps keep the family together. Family members feel secure that they are informed of the family’s affairs, and this helps the family communicate and share with each other. On the downside, when the entire family is provided with information about each other, it inhibits the family from developing independence from each other (Zastrow, & Kirst-Ashman, 2016).
Studies show that family members often prefer to conceal private information from each other for prosocial reasons. When family members refrain from sharing private information, it can contribute to their sense of trust and bonding with each other. At times, concealing information can be a form of betrayal. However, the sharing of information between members also help members feel connected. When members share, it provides a feeling of confidence about the connection between members. It also supports exploration between family members for their needs and preferences (Zastrow, & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). Thus the sharing and concealment of private information need to be balanced in the family unit, and the way it is balanced has significant implications for the success of the household and its members (Vangelisti, 2012).
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