Family Assessment Assignment
- Identifying information
My family consists of five immediate members. My father and mother, and my two siblings. My father is called Michael Josephs. He is 47 years old and a University graduate in accountancy. He works as a senior accountant in a nearby insurance company. However, he recently divorced my mum and is now single. On the other hand, my mother, whose name is Sarah Jeffery is a professional nurse employed in a nearby hospital. She is 45 years old and a Divorcee. I am Adam Michael, a 20 years-old college student and currently single. My younger sister, Mellissa Michael is 14 years old and in high school. My younger brother, Charlie Michael is 4 years old and recently joined kindergarten. I consider my family a middle-class unit based on my parents’ income.
My parents’ divorce is one of the main challenges facing our family. My siblings are the most affected by the separation and more so, Charlie since he was diagnosed with autopsy as a child. The reason behind the split-up was the demanding nature of my parents’ jobs. Given that my mother is a nurse, she has to attend the night shifts. On the other hand, my father’s employer requires that he works late at night as well as on weekends. As such, he barely has sufficient time to spend with his family and so does mum. These circumstances made my father ask my mother to quit her job so that she would look after us and especially take care of Charlie since his condition requires more support. He suggested that he would open a healthcare center for my mum near our home so that she did not have to work during the night. My mother got extremely angry for my dad to ask her to quit her job which she is passionate about. My mum and dad later started to argue since she was not willing to abandon her work and my dad considered her selfish. Eventually, the situation worsened to a point they would not talk to each other and my mum asked for a divorce which my father agreed to. After the divorce, my father moved out and this has been difficult for us. We spend most of the time with our nanny when mum is at work. As for my dad, he only comes to see us twice a month, during the holidays since he is barely free.
Despite the break-up, my parents have been helpful in helping us to cope with the situation so that it does not affect our academics or the view of life. For instance, even though we rarely spend time with my dad, he frequently calls to ask how we are doing in school, who our friends are, and he often encourages us. He often tells us that no matter the divorce, he loves us so much and we are what matters the most to him. Besides, my father’s financial support is great and I generally consider him a caring and loving parent. As for my mother, we spend most of the time with her and she often tries to boost our self-esteem whenever she feels that it is down. My mother enrolled me and my sister to a social-care support facility where we learn about various coping strategies. Nevertheless, it has been difficult for both of my parents to move on or be in good terms and this is the main developmental issue that my family is experiencing. As for me and my siblings, it means that we cannot spend time together as a whole unit. It is either my mum is absent or my dad. It might be harder for my younger sister and brother to understand as they are both underage and in great need of complete parental love. The need for both parents to be in good terms should be highly emphasized in the change process. However, the priority of the changes desired is for both parents to find more time to be spending with the children as this will help us to easily cope with the divorce.
- Context and environmental impacts
Typically, the neighborhood we live in is sparsely populated but it is safe. As such, we have few friends around who we associate with. A large number of our neighbors are working and as such, we barely have time to interact with them. Most of our friends are extended family members, as well as my dad’s and my mum’s workmates. They often visit on weekends or during the holidays. As for me, I have plenty of friends in school and so does my sister. On the other hand, Charlie gets along well with most of the kids in his kindergarten. I would say that my parents’ social life is mainly centered on us and their work colleagues. Another social link to our family is the social care facility where Mellissa and I get support to cope with our parents’ divorce. Charlie also has a personal physician who visits often to check his status regarding autism. Even though my parents are not in good terms, Mellissa and I have good relationships with both parents and each other. As for Charlie, he is more close to my mother than my father.
- Family Culture
In my family, I have a big responsibility to take care of the younger siblings and give directions in the absence of either my mum or dad. For instance, I can decide what will be cooked in the house or what should be bought whenever my sister and I are alone. My parents have always taught us to respect one another and all the people in society no matter their status. As such, respect is one of the greatest values that my parents as well as I and my siblings exhibit. On weekends, my father often sends money for us to engage in leisure activities. It is also our family’s tradition to show affection to the less privileged in the society. As such, we often visit the orphanage homes in our town and take with us some shopping, money or whatever we can afford. Also, both of my parents are strict Christians and therefore, it is our family’s customs to pray before meals, prior to sleeping, and after waking up. Attending the Church is also mandatory whenever we are at home. During the long holidays such as in December, it is a norm for our family to visit our grandmothers either from my dad’s or mum’s side upcountry.
- Family Strengths
One of the main strengths of our family is having supportive parents. Both my father and mother are often concerned about our well-being and encourage us to have hope and be optimistic. Even though they are not in good terms with each other, my mother and father are honest to us about their relationship and this makes us feel safe around them. My father is also a good communicator and this is another benefit to our family. Whenever one is wrong, my dad never fails to correct you and this ensures that we are on the right path. I also enjoy playing with Mellissa and Charlie when we are at home as this strengthens our bonds.
- Family vision
I and my siblings foresee a future where we will be going on vacations as a whole family without necessarily leaving behind either my mum or my dad. I envision a situation where both my mum and dad can coexist after moving on. For instance, my father can be visiting our home with his new partner and spend a weekend without any conflict arising.
- Motivation for change
The stage of change that best characterizes our family is the preparation/determination phase. At this phase, people start taking minimal steps towards behavioral change and perceive that it can lead to an improved life. We are in this stage since both parents recently began to talk to each other on the phone even though the subject of their discussions is often us. Besides, my dad said that he will start searching for a new suitor and so did my mother. I believe that life will be better for us if my mum and dad are on good terms.
The alternative hypothesis which can explain the divorce is that it has become a common thing for women who are financially independent to separate. One of the theories that explain the split-up of the parents is known as family stress theory. It assumes that family crises such as divorce and child-neglect among other problems may arise if family stressors are not dealt with early enough. As for my family’s case, the arguments between my parents about my mother’s job became frequent which led to the divorce. Structural-functionalism also explains the divorce in this case. Given that the divorce has already taken, the focus should be given on providing the necessary support to the children to cope, help the parents to move on and be in good terms. However, since both parents are busy with work, it would be difficult for them to find time to make peace with each other and demonstrate to the children that there is no enmity. Nevertheless, the social care facility is one of the resources that can enable the children to deal with divorce.
- Alternatives for addressing/managing the concern(s)/challenge(s)
Changing communication is one way to make both parents move on and easily coexist. One of the strategies that can be applied to achieve the change is perspective taking. It involves understanding other people’s point of view. This enables one to understand their concerns, pain, and needs, among others. Perspective-taking has been considered as one of the techniques effective in conflict-resolution (Petronio, 2017). As such, it can help my parents to easily understand each other and that way, they can easily move on. In addition, setting the right tone during a conversation plays a significant role in enabling disputing parties to come to an agreement. The most desirable strategy for my family is perspective-taking. It will make our lives better if we all understand each other’s concerns.
- Measurement of change
One of the indicators of change will be better communication and relationship between the parents. This can be measured by determining how often they talk on the phone or face-to-face. A change will also be noted when all five members are seen together in public or attending events as a whole family.
Petronio, S. (2017). Communication privacy management theory: Understanding families. In Engaging theories in family communication (pp. 107-117). Routledge.