Families as Negotiators
Human Behavior and Development
February 6, 2014
Families as Negotiators
As I read this article the main points the author were trying to make were psychological resilience on both the individual and family level. As a little girl growing up being raised by my grandmother who was a widow with seven children of her own, I can definitely see how my personality was affected by my environment. Resilience is defined as the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens or the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc. ...view middle of the document...
Walsh put forth that family belief systems, organizational patterns with regard to accomplishing everyday tasks and nurturing connections and communication patterns that help solve problems are all common processes among families that cope well. Walsh also has shown that resilience allows distressed families to be viewed not as damaged but rather challenge thereby affirming their ability to repair and grow. Her premise follows that resilience in the family is dependent on that family’s ability to access available resources and to use those resources effectively to sustain each individual family member while sustaining the family unit at the same time. Ungar’s approach to resilience decenters the individual focusing instead on the individual’s interaction with cultural and contextual factor in his understanding of resilience as a social ecological construct. In essence he has expanded on Walsh (1998) (2006) by adding in cultural and economic backgrounds as integral components of the definition of psychological resilience. By bringing in the ecological aspect he also sets up the ability to view the individual and family in light of Systems Theory, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystems (Robbins, Chatterjee, Canda, 2012).
As previously noted, Systems Theory and Ecological Theory, affords us the opportunity to specify which focal system is being viewed and where it fit in the hierarchy of macrosystem/suprasystem and the composition of its subsystems (Hutchinson, 2012). It also helps delineate the boundaries of the system and how permeable the bounds are. In the case study of Richard, a 15 year old African-Canadian youth, the focal system in review is that of his family and its’ functionality in contributing to behavior and resilience. Viewing this in context of Ungar overlaid to systems, the Community is the suprasystem or macrosystem and is reflective of the environment. The family as the focal system constitutes the mezzosystem and Richard found himself immersed did not provide him with: availability of social organizations that provided an array of resources to him; the consistent expression of social norms that constituted desirable behavior were contrary to his cultural an ethnic background and opportunities for him to participate in life of the community as a valued member did not exist (Bernard, 1991). The presence of social organizations that provide healthy human development catered to a sense of community that Richard did not feel that he fit in to. The community services provided were not used since those extra resource did not meet the basic needs of Richard and his family. The focal system of the family while holding high expectations of their children, did not create an environment that fostered resilience due to its lack of structure and active participation especially in Richard’s life. The strong relationship with an adult, in this case a parent, did not exist and this lack of relationship...