Week 1


Weekone’s discussion centered on the family as a unit. The goals wereto explore the “dynamics of family relationships” andspecifically the family image, the behavior of the family identifiedthrough interactions, and the family regime identified by how thefamily functions as a system. All these three areas determine how afamily functions. A good functioning family is considered enabled orfunctional while non functioning one is considered disabled ordysfunctional. Each group member was required to introducehim/herself to the group and provide a brief overview of their familyin the three areas. The instructor provided a brief overview of herfamily indicating how the family unit and its functioning havechanged. Furthermore, she emphasizes on the fact that families keepchanging through one’s lifetime with new members coming in andother leaving. By exploring their own families, students could betterunderstand these changes better.

Onemain issue that stands out in the discussions is that whatconstitutes family varies. This can vary largely depending onculture/nationality. Asian and African cultures have tended to betterembrace extended families unlike the American culture gives weight tothe nucleus family. Nonetheless, the constant are the immediatefamily members including parents and siblings. For some students,inclusion into family depends not only on blood relationships butalso on the degree of support to one another and friendship withfriends with no blood relations. For instance, one student notes thathe considers the larger community from where he lives and was broughtup as family based on the supports and closeness to one another. Thisshows that neighborhood and local factors such as population sizeaffect the perceived image of a family. Another student has adifferent perception of what family is. She indicates that “I’mnot that close with my family except for my mother, sister andbrothers” (Branndais Agee 2014) implying that to her family islarger than just the immediate family and possibly includes theextended family.

Aninteresting addition to immediate family identity is pets. Modern dayfamilies, though growing increasingly smaller with usually one to twokids, have added pets such as dogs, cats, and hamsters among othersto the family unit. One of the reason why the pets are included aspart of the family is because they live together with the rest of thefamily. One student explains “I just included my pets in my familyas well because when my brother and I are back home at the same time,my &quotwhole&quot family is living there, which includes my dogsand cats” (Alex David).

Fromtheir varying views, people have different views of family. It isalso interesting to note that most families for the members have bothparents. This in spite of the fact the traditional view of family ascomprising of mother father and children is slowly changing. Todaythere are same sex couples who have families of their own or wherefamilies have a single parent. The relationship and behaviors evidentin a family are likely to be determined by its composition andperhaps the age of the members or nature in cases where pets areincluded.

Thereasons why group members are taking the unit vary from student tostudent. One of the main reasons cited is the need to learn moreabout family relations and dynamics. Another reason cited is for thesimple reason that it is “easier” compared to other electiveunits. For others, the course is just an academic requirement toscore highly in pursuit of their majors.