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Issues with Changing Family Patterns

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  • 0:07 Changes in Families Over Time
  • 1:15 Dual Career Families
  • 2:47 Single Parent Families
  • 4:14 Blended Families
  • 6:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jade Mazarin

Jade is a board certified Christian counselor with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a certification in Natural Health. She is also a freelance writer on emotional health and spirituality.

Families have changed a great deal over time. In this lesson, we'll look at dual career, single parent, and blended families. We'll consider the unique issues each can present.

Changes in Families Over Time

Did you grow up in a single-parent home? Were you raised by your grandparents? Or did your parents remarry and give you stepbrothers or sisters?

There was a time when the word 'family' specifically applied to a mother, father, and their biological children. At this time, there were also common beliefs that the mother's job was to stay at home to take care of her children, and the father's job was to go out and work for the family. This was the prevailing mindset, specifically, during the 1950s and 60s when some of the family theorists in psychology created their theories on family behavior.

Today, however, is a different story. Rather than shows like Leave it to Beaver, we have sitcoms like Modern Family. This is largely due to the changes in families that have been occurring over the years. With the changes in family structures and responsibilities comes a new realm of issues that can arise.

We are now going to look into three types of families and see what common issues take place within them. The families we are about to meet are: dual career, single parent, and blended families.

Dual Career Families

A family is considered dual career when both the mother and the father have careers outside the home. Meet Bill and Jeanine. They have two children, Larry and Sunny. Bill is the owner of a seafood restaurant, and Jeanine is a bank manager.

Bill and Jeanine have a lot on their plates. They try to support one another's career goals, while figuring out childcare for 5-year-old Sunny and driving Larry to soccer practice or karate. Their long hours and stressful job positions can cause the couple to feel fatigued often and cranky when they come home in the evenings.

They sometimes fight about household chores because Jeanine finds herself doing most of the cleaning and cooking and wants more help from Bill. Bill explains that his job is more stressful, and he needs the time at home to wind down, which only causes them to argue more as they compare the demands of each of their careers.

There is a possibility Jeanine will be offered a promotion in another state, which means the couple would have to decide which person's career will be prioritized. Jeanine and Bill can tell the quality of their relationship is slipping, but they don't feel they have the time or energy to go on dates or trips.

In summary, Jeanine and Bill go through common challenges of a dual career family. These include: figuring out childcare, feeling fatigued after work, fighting about household chores, maintaining a close relationship, and deciding on whose career will be prioritized.

Single Parent Families

Yolanda is a single parent, which means she has raised her 15-year-old son, Juan, on her own. His father left her a few months after his birth, so she has had no choice but to learn how to support her and her son. She works two jobs, one as a waitress and the other as a maid. Even so, finances are a struggle. She and Juan live paycheck to paycheck, and she is often nervous when a new bill comes in or there is a maintenance problem with the house.

Yolanda also wishes she had more time to spend with Juan, though she knows she can't afford to miss work. She regrets missing his basketball games at school and not always being able to eat dinner with him. Juan also misses time with his mother and will sometimes spend time with people that Yolanda thinks are a bad influence, just so that he is not alone.

Juan's need for a mentor is often on Yolanda's mind. She wonders about finding the right husband to be a father to him and worries that he envies his peers who grew up with a father. When Juan misbehaves, Yolanda has to discipline him and wishes she had a partner to support her. Sometimes she refrains from punishing him because she does not want to be seen as the bad guy all the time.

In summary, Yolanda and Juan go through several issues that are common for single parent families. These include: financial stress, a lack of family time, Juan's need for a mentor, and difficulty with discipline.

Blended Families

A family is considered blended when a family moves in with another as a result of marriage. The Malecke family has just doubled in size since last summer. Laura Wilson married John Malecke, moving her and her two children into John's home with his three kids. Suddenly, things have gotten a lot more complex as both families try to unite as one.

Laura's daughter, Samantha, is okay with the new marriage and move. She is interested in getting to know her new step siblings. Her younger sister Lena, however, has been exhibiting signs of depression since her mother got engaged two years ago. She is dealing with the adjustment problems of missing her biological father, disliking her mother's new husband, and not wanting a different family.

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