Friday, July 10, 2015

Understanding Family Dynamics and Theories

Something that I really love about the world that we live in today is the fact that every single person, and thing is different from all of the others. We are all unique and beautiful individuals. I think that in the past sometimes people had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that we are all different and would want every person to look and act the same. There was little tolerance to thinking outside the box or doing things in less traditional ways. I think that our world has become a bit more advanced in the fact that we now are a lot more accepting of the individual and of unique qualities. I love that about us. We have come to terms, in a sense, with the fact that there is not a cookie cutter solution to the world's every problem. I think that this becomes extremely important in regard to the family. Every single family is different and unique and unidentical to every other one out there. Each family has different children with different needs, wants, and struggles. Every family has a different set of parents with their own unique relationship. This is the first important thing to remember about family dynamics and theories. We are all different. And that's okay. However, although we are all different, there are a few different kinds of family dynamic theories that can better help us understand our own families and the families around us. If we can understand these things better, then we can better fix the problems that we see in our lives, and help others with the problems that they face.

Family Dynamic Theories:

1. Exchange Theory: Exchange theory can be seen when one tries to keep their costs lower than their reward in their interactions with other people. If a relationship is always taking more than it is giving to an individual, than that individual is likely to cut off the relationship altogether. Exchange theory can be seen in families when it comes to decision making, child rearing, and the division of labor in the home.

2. Symbolic Interaction Theory: According to my textbook Marriage & Family: The Quest For Intimacy written by Robert H, Lauer and Jeanette C. Lauer, it states that, "Symbolic Interaction Theory views humans primarily as cognitive creatures who are influenced and shaped by their interaction experiences. That is, what happens in interaction is a result not merely of what individuals bring to it but also of the interaction itself... Symbolic interactionists believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." They used the example that perhaps a man who is negative about parenthood might then become excited about it as he interacts with his own child.

3. Conflict Theory: "Conflict theory asserts that all societies are characterized by inequality, conflict, and change as groups within the society struggle over scarce resources. These groups have differing and even contradictory interests, needs, and goals." The book explains that because of these differences within a family unit, and because the people within it may strive for these things but there is not a sufficient amount or number for all, that not everybody can be satisfied. These things are very prominent amongst social class and gender.

Once we come to better understand these theories, it is easier for us to recognize why our families may be struggling in certain areas, or why our families are doing well in certain areas. It allows us to focus in on the good and change the bad. It also allows us to better understand our own family dynamic, and the importance of a good and functioning family unit.

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