Although there are many frameworks for viewing marriage and family, three stand out in their importance. The first is conflict framework. This is important because it explains how although family a unit is; the individual people can have different goals and values. Where there is struggle for power, there is also resolution to conflict. The next framework discussed is social exchange. This is important because it can help individuals as well as families seek the cost or rewards in any situation. Conflict framework also helps individuals generalize indirect reciprocity. The last framework mentioned is the human ecological framework.
This is important because it explains the systems in human development, and how the systems affect individual choices, which essentially affects a group or family. The conflict framework refers to the reorganization that people in a family unit have different views and goals, which sometimes can result in conflict. Conflict framework is based off of the way people within a group or unit struggle for power. Wealth and status often take a role in the base of conflict, and because of this the question we ask when the conflict framework is applied to family is, how does a family deal with changes and differences?
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Conflict can be resolved or it can be managed. Family can be held together by constraint, conflict can strengthen relationships. For example, a stay at home mother and wife who has a husband that works long hours to support the family, may feel lonely and depressed. She approaches her husband about the issue and he does not know what to do about the situation, because he needs to support the family. They both know the marriage is in trouble the fact that intimacy and romance is no more, and the wife expresses that she often feels more like a roommate to her husband than a wife.
They decide to talk and try to come up with solutions for the problem. The wife decides she should get a part time job to help out with finances so her husband does not have to work as much, and they agree to try and look for a babysitter they can afford. Although not all situations are as easy to figure out, this is a solution for this issue or conflict. Conflict framework is best for understanding differences and solutions within a family unit. Social exchange framework can be utilized in explaining individual development within a family or relationship.
Most individuals make choices based on cost and rewards, or pro and cons. An example of this framework is an adolescent couple who has been dating for a few months and decides they want to have sex. The teen girl asks the teen boy if he has any protection, and the boy says no and proceeds to make excuses why he does not want to use protection, although the girl makes it clear she wants to be sure they are safe for the sake of their future. The boy still refuses and the girl chooses to leave and never contact the boy again. There were two benefits from the girl making the choice to leave.
She decided not to risk their future by being unprotected and getting either pregnant, or an STD, and she also found out this boy is not a good mate selection for her. Social exchange framework within a family can explain why we choose to marry, divorce, and have children. We as individuals choose alternatives in which we receive the most profit. Reciprocity is a big factor of social exchange. A parent who is a work and does not have much time to do chores, might call his son or daughter at home to finish the dishes in the sink in exchange he or she is allowed to go out with friends.
Social exchange framework can be helpful to couples who know they are headed towards divorce. The husband and wife as individuals can compare the “cost and rewards” of the marriage to determine whether or not to stay. Human ecological framework explores the interaction of families within their environment. Studies of human interaction, allows us to make predictions for future interaction. Family life is viewed as a system; boundaries between family lives include community life and the economy.
Many ecosystems are made up of three organizations which are humans, environment, and the interactions between them. There are two different environments within the ecosystem, natural and manmade. Humans within the ecosystem can be any group of individuals dependent on their environment. Within the ecological systems, rest other systems. A few of the systems are microsystems, mesosystems, and macrosystems. A microsystem is a system that directly impacts that of a child’s development. This includes family, neighborhoods, and school.
A mesosystem refer to connection between microsystems like the connection between family and school experiences, to that of church and family experiences. A macrosystem describes the culture that a person lives in, such as a developing or industrialized country, as well as wealth or poverty. This theory can best explain the choices we make as adults. In human ecology, humans and their environment are interconnected. In conclusion, the three theories or frameworks explain reasoning for the choices and decisions we make as individuals, and also in a family setting.