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 the parents.

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. 150).

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 the child.


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 32(1).

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.