Assessing family using the circumplex model of family functioning
The family having consisted of members mostly related by blood marriage or adoption forms a complex system. How prosperous and successful a family is depends on various factors. The family as a system can take different forms ranging from balanced, middle range to extreme. Depending on the nature of the family system, family can be orderly and organized or chaotic. To asses the family and how it functions as a system, a model called circumplex model of family functioning is adopted.
The model through different scales which are based on coherence, flexibility and communication within the family tries to asses how the family members carries out the role, how they tolerate on each other and how well they link as a system.
A case study in regard to assessing a family was carried out in three different family systems an extreme, middle range and balanced. all the factors are held constant. The families were from the same cultural background, same religion and same methods of assessing used .
from a variety of information gathering methods; clinical research and observational research was used. The case study was carried out by a psychologist and a social worker. A psychologist put a unit in the community where community members with family problems will come for advice as a social worker interacted with different families as he observed how family issues are run. The social worker ensured he remained as unobstructive as possible. The findings were harmonized and it was realized as follows;
Cohesion in the family played a key role. In extreme system, family members could not feel desire for togetherness. Most members had no much attention to other members. The father could spend much of his time in the business, he valued money more than his wife or he could spend much of his time in church service. The wife could feel lonely in the house. The children at home, they appeared bored and in needy of going out to be with friends- this could happen in the cold morning. There is no sense of togetherness, no affection. Some parents could take their children in the nursing homes even when they are not busy at their homes. They feel relaxed when the children are away.when it happens that one member is in need of family togetherness he doesn’t find it. he feels depressed and stressed .rarely does such a member carry out his role successful. And the end the family does not meet the objectives. Due to many factor like chage in family income and social integration, extreme families lead to divorce. In the middle range and balanced families cohesion is high in the the family. Family members eat together and show happy faces when chanting together. When one member is away, there is great concern on his or her whereabouts .they prays for him. When children are from school, they go to all rooms of the house eager to see everybody. When a parent is back from out he asks ‘where is so and so’ .such families meet their objectives and goals because there is room for effective communication and consultation. A case was witnessed where a father rejected a very great paying job offer due to need to stay with his family. Also a young boy rejected a scholarship to overseas arguing that he couldn’t adopt the new environment without his family. Rarely such families divorce. The bible says two are better than one.
Whenever a conflict emerged in the family, the extreme family could not be able to negotiate for a solution in regard to the conflict. The family could be very tense- no party is ready to reason with any other. The conflicts become serious. The conflict separates the family easily. Some members feel they better go and stay alone. In some families whenever there is a conflict the family meets and shares ideas and approaches on solving the problem. As Byan strong in his book the marriage and family experience conflict can be used to deepen and build a relationship. Presence of conflict does not mean love is going or gone.Robert loins said marriage is a long conversion checked by disputes.
Leadership in the family is the most equally crucial aspect. It is the role of the senior members of a family depending on the nature of the family; single parent family, both parent family or extended family to provide leadership to the family system. The prosperity of the family depends on the nature of leadership practiced in the family. Some parents don’t share leadership roles with other members of the family. Some over exercise their powers by practicing dictatorial leadership. Their decision is what prevails whether right or wrong. Therefore children who are old enough follow instructions. They have no say even in issues affecting them. They normally carry out duties as ordered not because they understand the essence of carrying the duties. The mother should follow instructions –no major difference between women and children. It is punishable for them to oppose what the father has said. such families ends up bringing up children who are not independent- unable to make decisions alone and this leads to the family not meeting its objectives. Other families leadership is shared responsibly -the parents consult between themselves in regard to how to meet the family demands. Also they consult their children on matters affecting them. Children are free to inquire from their seniors on any matter of concern. They make decisions and carries out duties independently. When the parent feel not satisfied with decisions and life steps made by family members, the accounts as to why they should not do it and normally other members understand. As Jonathan swift,-arguments are worst sort of conversations. Where this kind ofleadership is practised, much is achieved in regard –to family goals.
Discipline in the family must be –observed .parents from extreme systems does not understand the term discipline. They think discipline simply means canning. It entails correcting the child using the best method possible. Denying children meals and using excess physical pressure does not help. The use of canes should be used well. Also it should not be spared. According to Christian bible,’ spare the rod spoil the child’ parents should be role models-meaning they should do what is right for the children to follow .a case where a father smokes in presence of children and keeps on advising them not to shows failure in parents in regard to discipline.chilldren founds them selves in a state of confusion. On the other hand, some parents spoil their children by not correcting them whenever they mess. They show much affection at the expense of discipline.
Roles in the family system as pertains to the culture should be done to the expected standard. Motivation should be provided for each member to carry out his roles well .some members do not carry pout their roles instead, they assume them. Parents are the provider, the protector and role models, children should show respect consistence and open communication. Also parents should provide basic and essential goods to their children, mothers should carry on their roles ranging from children rare rig to financial support depending on the culture and religion, of that society, she is expected to assist the husband to bring up the family, children have to follow rules. Rule is there for their good. They should know that those people they admire and sometimes take as role models are what they are because they followed the rules, girls should not feel inferior nor should boys perceive them as a weaker sex.
In a family system change cannot be wished away it normally comes due to interaction which leads to adoption of a new culture, also change in family income can lead to a change in family lifestyle in regard to social roles, change in family structure and change in technology, some family members are adamant to accept this change- they Are conservatives who regard every change as bad in such families change brings about conflict. some members welcome the change and they take it as a challenge in regard to meeting their roles, parents ensure their children are not left behind in regard to the changing world, change in regard to dressing has brought a lot of conflict, parents in rural settings rarely entertain their daughters to wear trousers they take it as a taboo and uses the Christian bible to argue it out. There is nowhere in the bible where girls featured wearing trousers, in the urban setting girls wearing trouser has nothing to do with their behavior as claimed by those from rural setting. families should be flexible in regard to these changes, or else they will have an endless conflicts which can tear a family apart .in case of a change due Tao change in family income parents should discuss with their children in regard too the family budget this is because each member has got different preferences and tests, those needs which are basic should come first –in order of priority.
Communication is the primary aspect in family functioning, excelling in other suspects without effective communication leads the family nowhere .misunderstandings and prejudgments leads to family problems. It has been observed that most families that separate, not that member is unable o stay with each other but because they have failed to express their feels through effective communication. in some families parents assume that children know what is good and bad for them instead of parents telling their children the consequences of bad behaviors such as immorality they only get bitter after realizing their child is either pregnant or has been infected with hiv.parents should communicate to their children in regard to the expectation of the family as pertains to their roles. Ideal communication should be used depending on the family structure talking boosts the relationship amongst the family members. Everybody’s view must be taken into considerations. Some people often agree to other’s view simply because they do not want to annoy them. One should not do that. When one has been sent, a feedback should be communicated. Communication is incomplete without the feed back. Psychologists argue that keeping quiet is a form of communication. Normally it shows that one is angry, annoyed or sad.
Within a family there are relationship patterns, interpersonal skills and competence. These aspects family to develop sense of positive family identityy.this termed as family strengths. Both forms of family systems have different family strengths. The goals of all family are similar. Such goals normally include; gaining family respect and achieving family responsibilities. Above all, crisis management is of great focus in regard to families goals.
In conclusion, circumplex model of family functioning is reliable in assessing how the family progresses as asocial unit. The family regardless of its cultural set up must show sense of flexibility, coherence and communication. Every member has areole to play towards a achieving the objectives and goals of the family. Communication which has been I praised in the model, must be adjusted. For instance, let parents talk with their children on matters affecting them-never should they create barriers between them in the name of culture. The cost is too expensive and normally regrets follow when it too late to save the situation .change must be accompanied by adaptability.
Strong,Bryan.The marriage and familyexperience;intimaterelationship in a changing society/Bryan story Christine De vault,BARBARA w. Sayad.colen.Ted-8th edition.
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