Whatever form they take, family relationships are a central feature of most of our lives (Wyse and Hawtin, 2000). The family is the basic social unity of a society. A family is made up of members and there exists a relationship between members of a family. A family plays a very important role in the life of an individual. It is for this reason that it becomes very important for people to enhance good relations with members of their family. Depending on the type of family, people in a family are related either by blood or marriage.
One thing that cannot be disputed however is the fact that although family members are related family relations sometimes can be challenging as members of a family attempt to get along with each other. The following paper takes an in-depth look at the changing nature of family life and the roles and responsibilities of people within the family.
As already mentioned although a family is made up of people who are close sometimes handling relationships in a family can be challenging. The saying that ‘it takes two to tango’ is very relevant in a family relationship. A single individual does not have control of family relationship solely. Every member of the family plays a role either in building or destroying family relationships.
Many a times family members experience internal wrangles majorly caused by different interests by the members. During such times the best way forward is to attempt to understand one another and change is key to ensure that such wrangles are solved. Sometimes family members try to change others so that they can get along. But this is not always easy and when you realize that you cannot change the personality of another member of the family then it is always best to understand them. Yet another alterative would be to change and adjust yourself in a manner that will help you get along with other members of the family (Pryor, 2001).
Family life is dynamic. This means that it keeps changing with time and the kind of change that takes place are dependent on the circumstances that surround an individual family member as years pass by. For instance the relationship that a person has with his or her parents while growing up is not the same as one grows older. During the adolescent stage there are many changes that take place both physical and emotional.
It is during the adolescent age for instance that a person begins to appreciate more those outside the family especially those of the opposite sex. This is one factor that contributes to the dynaminism in nature of family relationships. Eventually a person finds that they are spending more time away from home than they used to.
Relationships with one’s parents become more difficult as one keeps growing and becomes more independent than before. It is during this time that when a young person is asked something which they consider personal they get irritated and they feel that the parents are intruding on their privacy.
The other factor that changes family relationships as children grow is that at some stage during growth especially during adolescence children discover some things that they didn’t know previously especially matters related to sexuality and they are not as comfortable to discuss with their parents as they would with their peers. So they prefer spending much of their time with their peers discussing the “new discoveries” and thus the close relationship with their parents is gradually and slowly eroded (Wyse and Hawtin, 2000).
The expectations that parents have on their children as they grow up also contribute to dynamism in family relationships. Although parents will always have good will on their children they may unknowingly put undue pressure by demanding that they must behave in a certain manner or that they must conduct things in a particular manner which is opposed to what they (children) would want. A young person may more often than not tend to disagree with some of the beliefs, practices or the general way of doing things by their parents. This mainly happens due to generational gap. This usually leads to conflicts and changes the nature of the family life.
For parents and children to have good and successful relationship respect is of utmost importance. As much as the children will want their parents to respect their freedom and independence they must also respect their parents’ views and opinions (Pryor, 2001).
Having looked at some of the factors that bring about change or dynamism within the family life let us now shift or focus on the roes and responsibilities of family members. Although these two terns are used interchangeably in the practical sense they are actually different. The roles of a person basically emanates from the dictation of the society by virtues of the person being a man, a woman or a child (Morrow, 1998). For instance in many societies, the roles of a man include providing to the family and offering protection to his family while his responsibilities many include among others helping out on the difficult tasks around the homestead like fixing the fence or the bulb.
For a family to exist in harmony and to strengthen their relationship the roles and responsibilities of each ember of the family must be well spelt out. This helps to ensure that no member of the family feels oppresses with work around the house while the rest are left with nothing to do. However one important thing to note is that the responsibilities should be not fixed in form of timetable. It is enough to notify family members their roles and responsibilities. This gives room for flexibility so that family members can also get to experience what other family members do.
In any given family parents are always in charge and it is of paramount important that children understand this. However the best approach in parenting as recommended by psychiatrists is the one where parents do not act as dictators (Morrow, 1998). Decision making ought to be shared among all members of the family. Whenever all members re involved in decision making they feel that they are part of the family and it becomes easier to implement that decision.
In conclusion, a family though made of people who are close can be difficult to manage. It is therefore of paramount importance that family members respect each other’s views and opinions in order to relate harmoniously.
Morrow, V (1998). Understanding Families. Children’s Perspectives. London: NCB
Wyse, D. & Hawtin, A. (2000). Children a Multi-Professional Perspective, London: Arnold.
Pryor, J. & Rodgers, B. (2001). Children in Changing Families. Oxford: Blackwell.