Formsof Mate Selection
Icome from a background where mate selection was determined by a lotof factors. First, it was important to consider whether parents wouldagree with the choice. Their approval was based on the potentialpartner’s health status, character, and financial resourcefulnessamong others. Second, an individual`s qualification was determined byresilience. At the same time, ladies played a passive role ininitiating relationships. Societal perceptions placed a greaterresponsibility on males. People made it appear like establishing arelationship was a revered process. Thus, rules and regulationscreated by the parents of the females had to be followed strictly.
However,having a 15-year-old child has taught me that a lot has changed whenit comes to people’s perception of relationships. Today, peoplesearch for soul mates and parents no longer have a say in the choicestheir children make. Their primary responsibility is to offercounsel, especially to adolescents before they make such decisions.Afterward, parents have no choice but to respect their decisions.Currently, the choices people make are based on physical appearance,race, tribe, cultural practices, language, school performance, andcharisma among others. A person may have several potential mates, buthe or she is not sure of the one to pick. As a result, people end upgetting into one relationship after another because they break upwhen things do not go into the plan.
Themost predominant type of conflict in our family arises fromcommunication breakdowns. When it occurs, people begin to throwwords at each other without minding that we have a plan for such achallenge. The occurrence of this conflict is facilitated by theliberal nature of our family, yet we have not learned how to dealwith the negative implications of the approach. The second type ofconflict arises when family resources dwindle and everyone has tomake sacrifices until the issue is resolved.
Inthe past, communication processes among family members werecharacterized by conformity, especially when it was between childrenand parents (Bakir, Rose & Shoham, 2006). In this context,parents were regarded as experts and were perceived to be aware ofeverything. We also thought that they had answers to all thechallenges. On the other hand, the child to child conversationsinvolved discussions, especially when we were alone. Otherwise, noone spoke when parents were around for the fear of revealing all thesecrets. However, children become assertive as they grow up. Theybegin to contribute to conversations more often.
Thetrend today is different (Bakir et al., 2006). Judging from thepatterns displayed by my children, they talk freely about the thingsaffecting their lives. They discuss their fears, activities, theirintentions to have relationships, and feelings. Coming from adifferent background, sometimes I find it difficult to cope with thedemands of my teenage child. However, I realize that I have to adjustso as to avoid conflicts with him. The greatest challenge is lettingeveryone understand that it is important for the parents to makefinal decisions in some cases. My adolescent child has learned tovalue constructive discussions because I often explain my decisionsand how they are consistent with my values as a Christian. I use thisstrategy intentionally to pass my values to my children to avoidconflicts and make them better people in the society.
Asparents, we also tend to teach our kids the value of life-relatedlessons by enhancing positive relationships and interactions withpeople outside our family. We also let them know that disagreementsare part of a communication process and people should not developconflicts because they cannot reach a consensus on important issues.There are always two sides to a situation. Thus it is important forindividuals to consider other people’s perspective. We lay agreater emphasis on communication because it can break or unify ourfamily depending on how the related processes are implemented.
Aftera critical analysis of my family, I have realized that the mostcommon causes of stress emanate from the lack of inadequate financialresources. For instance, my elder child becomes frustrated when thereis no money to meet his needs. My partner also tends to exhibit anelevated level of stress when we have fewer resources. I have alsorealized that sometimes we get stressed at work and transfer them toour family members. Sometimes, arguments erupt, and we forget ourvalues, thus yell at one another instead of sticking to our conflictresolution plan.
Asparents, we disagree regarding how to utilize our resources becausesometimes we have different priorities. We also tend to get stressedwhen children take out their issues on us. On the other hand, myeldest child tends to get stressed when he is fatigued or depressed.He has relationships outside the family. Therefore, sometimes hetends to disagree with his friends and carry the effect home. Thefive-year-old cries when she experiences any form of discomfort. Shealso gets depressed when feeling unwell.
Ourfamily’s greatest strength has always been our obsession withmaking the children better people in the society. We have establishedliberal communication channels to encourage them to speak up theirminds respectfully. We also help them to maintain different opinionsas long as they have practical reasons. We are building a family thatis based on mutual respect on one another rather than conformity.Open discussions are the key to resolving conflicts and facilitatingunity among members. Secondly, the family is active because we havetaught ourselves how to reflect on issues which make us uncomfortableand tend to generate conflict and valuable lessons for the future.
Therefore,we give constructive criticism to facilitate trust and cohesion. Thethird strength arises from our ability to negotiate our position asthe principal source of authority in the family. Our 17-year-oldchild is outspoken, thus would not be easy to hoodwink into anagreement if he does not want. Therefore, we consider being asignificant point of reference an achievement because he often comesto us with issues he would not discuss with other people unless hevalued them. We use the opportunity to negotiate his transition fromchildhood to adulthood by passing our Christian and values to him.
Needsin the Family
Oneof the pressing need in the family is to increase our resource baseto facilitate comfortable living and relationship. We also need theexperience to deal with the issues that sometimes overwhelm ourcontrol capacity as parents. Furthermore, we also need to developskills which we can use to survive when we are out of the influenceof our family circle. Sometimes, we tend to rely on one another, evenon trivial issues.
HowReligion and Spirituality Impact the Family
Ourfamily values are based on extensive Christian teachings. One of ourpractices is attending the Church on Sunday and participating invarious activities. From the moment we established our family, werealized that the realistic way of establishing Christian teachingsas the foundation of the belief system of our children was to attendto Church with them every Sunday. As a result, it has become part ofour most important activities. We use the moment to foster cohesionand trigger communication, especially over issues which may havebrought conflicts in our lives. We use the lessons we pick fromsermons as the point of reflection and a sense of direction regardingour behaviors. This approach has brought out our inherent nature tobe submissive to authority and follow rules. Going to the Church isnot just a formality, but a significant family practice and a mark ofidentification with one another.
Ihave realized that communication challenges pose the greatest threatto our family cooperation. Sometimes we are overcome with emotions ina way that makes it impossible to interact soberly with one another.Therefore, we frustrate our partners and other members of the familyto an extent that they also become infuriated. As parents, we shoulddeal with our issues conclusively to give us the opportunity tounderstand other people and exert control appropriately. We havedecided to go for counseling as a means of getting in touch with ourinner beings and confronting the uncomfortable aspects of our lives.
Bakir,A., Rose, G. M., & Shoham, A. (2006). Family communicationpatterns: mothers` and fathers` communication style and children`sperceived influence in family decision making. Journalof International Consumer Marketing,19(2),75-95.