Sample Assignment - Family and Intimate Relationships
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In the 21 st century there is a lot of controversy related to
family and intimate relationships. The biggest question to ask is, Are the family
relationships valued today? I guess each day is proving that the family ties or
relationships are weakening and the bond is breaking. The families are becoming
single handed which means that at the end of the day only single person seems to
be running the show. Now considering the situation in Canada it is stated that there
are many different forms and types or structures of families present in Canada and
they are unifying thought to be the institution which regulates certain sexual behavior.
The most institution known in the family is getting married, establishing a home,
caring for children, teaching them good behavior, doing household chores, determining
the family kin group etc (Module 4, pg 5).
The purpose of this essay is to highlight the family and intimate relationships
in the world today.
Theoretical perspectives of Families
The theoretical approach or perspective is offered in conflict theory, feminist
theory, structural and functionalism theory and they all are stated to address the
macro-social role (Module 4, pg.5). The post modernist approaches today when it
comes to family especially everything seems to have changed because we are now seeing
women in the labor force. The author states that it does not mean that women are
there now in the labor force and they weren’t before, it just states now they are
observed and noticed a lot more than the earlier times. It is stated that women
have always played a huge role in contributing towards the economy and the family
economy most specifically (Module 4, pg.6). It is understood that women play a big
role in running a family because it is stated that the locus of women’s work has
shifted from the household production to the external wage labor (pg.6). I guess
the most important discussion of this paper is to find out how family relationships
matter to the growth and development of children as the paper states ‘Family and
intimate relationships’. It is interesting because as seen that now the women has
joined workforce so really the intimate relationship part seems a little doubtful
or it can be said it is a little questionable. Joseph Michalski has done a study
on ‘Family Structure and Children’s Hyperactivity Problems: A Longitudinal Analysis’.
In his research analysis a longitudinal studies were conducted were lone parent
families, step families and families where parents were either separated or divorced
have been interrogated via a questionnaire.
This research paper was to compare the behavior of the children especially in both
sets of parents whether single or double. The research stated and gave evidence
that a family played a dynamic role in the life of a child. The development of a
child definitely was dependant on the family as stated by Michalski and Kerr. The
children are the most that suffer problems because of the unstable family relationships.
It is stated that the relationship between the child development and the family
structure involves lot of complex issues and longstanding and therefore the researchers
are continuing to debate the importance of various family forms from cognitive to
the emotional development of the young. In some research studies as stated by Michalski
and Kerr it is stated that the children in lone-parent families seem to be at greater
risk for developing both the emotional and behavioral difficulties (pg.87).
The other factors that seem to play a huge role on the child is the divorce and
the marital breakdown. The researchers have further stated that it is evident that
divorce definitely causes disruptive effect on child development (pg.87). I agree
with what is stated by the researchers for the only reason is the schools and various
school social workers seem to report the same about the children who have troubled
parental relationship or who are been taken care by the single parent. Michalski
and Kerr further states that the children who live with biological parents find
greater happiness then the children living with single parents. Michalski and Kerr
is reflecting on the importance of the family structure because it is crucial for
the well-being of the child and that’s what is stated that the family structure
has a great effect and there are many other factors which are stated to have much
influence on the growth of the child (pg. 88). It is further stated that the children
who are raised by the lone parent families usually receive no or less supervision
and especially the fathers tend to take care of the children on an average. On the
contrary it is also stated that there are fathers who might not include the children
in the capital and hence discontinue any kind of investment in their children therefore
leaving the children in a negative situation (pg.88). Sometimes, it is suggested
that both parents need to be involved in child’s life even after the divorce or
separation, this is done to moderate the growth of the child.
This also helps to pay attention to the specially challenged kids such as those
that are diagnosed with hyperactivity inattention problem; in this case both the
parents can take turns to help their child get the time, care and energy required
for additional needs (pg.88). There are times when re-marriage also works positively
improving the situation that is the financial situation of the children and it also
increases the parental supervision even if it is done by stepparents. In some cases
the stepparents do take the responsibility of contributing for the well being of
the children by providing for the financial resources. Sometimes it is stated that
the non-biological parents are much attached to the children more than the biological
parents (pg.88). The family structure really depends on the family and it can be
reworked as stated in the Michalski and Kerr research paper (pg.88).
Michalski and Kerr quoted Amato who stated and emphasized that it was important
for the fathers to contribute to the emotional and economic needs of the children.
The financial contribution plays a huge role to satisfy and fulfill the needs of
the children. It is a real challenge when the separated or divorced individuals
are not able to overcome the challenge of helping and assisting their children financially
because they are not capable themselves (pg.89)
Different Cultures- Family and Intimate Relationships
Daphne S Cain and Terri Combs-Orme conducted a research on Family Structure
Effects on Parenting Stress and Practices in the African American Family. In this
research paper it is stated how the African American parenting research focuses
on the disadvantages that are associated with the parenthood. The family structure
of the African American families is shown entirely different to the normal white
family structure. The study conducted examined the parenting of infants by the African
American mothers and the study stated that there was no different to the mother’s
marital status and the family configuration (pg.19). It is stated that the African
American mothers whether single or divorced show a different parenting skill in
comparison to the white mothers.
As already stated that the traditional Western model of the family is described
to include two married parents and children that is a normal model nuclear family
(pg.21). However, not all the families are stated to follow the norms that are explained
in the above statement. However, regardless of African American mothers the most
important factor that is continually discussed in this paper is the family ties
and the relationship. It does feel that the African American family ties appear
to be stronger then the western family ties as explained (pg.22). For example, if
the couple wants to take a divorce from each other in the African American families
they think a lot before taking any kind of drastic step and the maximum is to try
and save the marriage rather than giving up easily. This helps in raising the children
and the children also feel confident about the relationship that is shared between
On the other hand, in the western families, the option is always there to back out
from the marriage. The research studies also reflect that there is high divorce
or separation rate between the white families than the other race families. Therefore,
this comparison helps us to understand where the African American family stands
in comparison to the White Family. However, this comparison is done to show a trend
and a difference between raising the kids. The family and intimate relationships
between the White races though seen is not at a higher rate on the other hand the
African American family tries to deal with the challenges of married life and move
on in their struggling life.
Experience of Child-Care Workers with Families
This study is conducted by Susan Murray who has conducted a qualitative research
study on the topic, “Child Care Work: Intimacy in the Shadows of Family –Life”.
In this research paper, specifically the relationship between the child care workers
and the children and the families they serve is discussed. The child care workers
have a hand on experience in working with the families and therefore they have detailed
idea on how the family situations work in all kinds of cultures. Susan stated that
American family culture includes only a nuclear family which consists of husband,
wife and the children. The typical construction of the family is therefore dominant
in the states with male being the bread winner, the wife is a full-time homemaker
wife and then there are dependent children. Till the times the mother stayed at
home to provide the necessary care to the children, until then everything seemed
to work just fine until the late 20 th century, when women started to
go out and work living the children with the child-care minders or workers (pg.
It is stated though the child care workers came into being and existence in the
late 20 th century the most that mattered and the statement made by Susan
quoted “Caring for young children requires some measure of intimacy between caregivers,
children and parents” (pg. 152). Susan stated that she defined intimacy as the familiarity
and closeness both satisfying the emotional and physical aspect and giving rise
to the warm friendship and deep feelings. The caregiver and parent relationship
is important in passing on the intimacy aspect to the children as well (pg.152).
It is stated by author Susan that intimacy are stated to progress more and more
as the information about the family is unveiled. It is further stated that the caregiver/child
relationships are those relationships were the process of developing the intimacy
begins right from the first moments of the contact (pg.153). I remember that it
is a three way process when it comes to intimacy and when a child care giver is
also the third party involved in developing the child. It is a transparency between
the child giver and the parents. Both the parties are taking responsibility in raising
the child including the nurturing aspect as well.
There are some important aspects that are covered in this paper about Family and
Intimate relationships. This topic is vast but whatever is discussed in the paper
in terms of the relationship and the reasons that the child development falters…is
truth regardless of the fact that today in this world though relationships do not
play a greater role but yet they mean a lot to the children. Whether it is the just
the relationship between the parents or it is a relationship between child care
giver, parents and children.
Every child’s development is dependent on the relationship factor. I think this
essay has highlighted some of the important things and hence it also reflects that
relationship no matter what play a huge role in the development and nurturing of
Cain.S.Daphe., Orme.C.Terri (2005). Family Structure Effects on Parenting Stress
and Practices in the African American Family. Journal of Sociology and Social
Welfare. Volume 32 (2).
Kelly A Kristin.(2004). Working Together to Stop Domestic Violence: State-Community
Partnerships and the Changing Meaning of Public and Private. Journal of
Sociology and Social Welfare. Volume 31 (1).
Michalski.H.Joseph., Kerr.D. (2007). Family Structure and Children’s Hyperactivity
Problems: A Longitudinal Anlaysis. Canadian Journal of Sociology. Volume
Module 4. (n.d). Gender Relations and Families .
Murray.B.Susan. ( 1998). Child Care Work: Intimacy in the Shadows of Family-Life
. Qualitative Sociology, Vol 21. No. 2.Human Sciences.