Sample Essay: “Domestic Relationships”

A domestic relationship normally happens in a domestic setting. It is more than the husband and wife relationship. It rather involves all family relationships that apply to spouse, parents, children, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, in-laws and all the other relatives with blood, marriage, or adoption relation. Family dynamics are the ways in which family members relate or interact among themselves. Each family has got its own systems and dynamics that are distinctive.

However, there are some patterns that are common to all of them. Moreover, family dynamics in early years can influence a young person’s life whether there is minimal contact with the family or not. It has a direct impact on the way a young person sees himself/herself, others, and the world at large at the same time influencing their relationships, behaviors, and wellbeing. A good understanding of family dynamics’ impacts on the way a young person perceives things may help health workers identify and react to the forces driving a young person’s present needs.

In the recent past, there have been major changes connected with the evolution of culture. Scientific and technological advancements have played a major role in both demographic and family changes. The rapid spread of technical innovation such as television, Internet, faster and more affordable travel have greatly contributed to changes in attitude and expectations. For example, contraception use has greatly revolved. It is said that modern contraceptives are the major cause of renewed decline in fertility. This is because modern contraception has helped change attitudes towards decision making process about having children. Therefore, through modern medical technology, many women and men can access various methods of family planning. This is one approach to global population control. Secondly, medical assisted fertility has also been gradually developing with modernization. In all health care facilities, patients can access a broad range of medical techniques. They include ovum donation, donor insemination, zygote intra-fallopian transfer, embryo transplantation, and in-vitro fertilization. In the recent years, medically assisted fertility is more and more gaining popularity over natural contraception. Furthermore, young men and women are raising families without any formal marriage relations at an increasingly early age. This is a result of rising cost of living together with the economic value of the woman. War, rape, family displacement, death, poverty have greatly contributed to the erosion of traditional courtship, marriage, and the erosion of the social fabric as a whole. Besides, in a family, people normally take up different roles and responsibilities. The roles may be determined by the family changes. The way that family members behave and interact while performing their responsibilities may not be as a result of their conscious option. Some of the roles that a family member may take include:

In the family, a young person may unknowingly play the role of a peace-keeper. He/she may be the mediator who helps reduce tension between disagreeing parents. Their behavior may be a reaction to the concern about family breakup. This role may make one live like a child in the family rather that moving towards their age appropriate independence.

When a young person has a problem, for example, drug abuse, his/her drug addiction may play a part in family system hence distracting the family’s attention from other problems that they might be experiencing. A spouse may fail to address their own relationship problems by concentrating on their child weaknesses. This may help to keep the family united.

Normally, family members perceive children with weaknesses as black sheep within a family. The person might be seen as the visible sign of an uneasy family system. Families also have structural issues. Family members normally form close connections and positions of influence which may be beneficial to all the members. For instance, families may form close relationships across gender or one of the parents may have a cordial relationship with his/her child than with the partner. The closeness may lead to sharing secrets about the other parent.Parents should share power and build a strong collaboration that will enable them make appropriate discipline that their children should follow. In some families, children carry the power. Their request is the parents command. However, these unsuitable alignments and hierarchies normally have detrimental effects to the development of a child.The changes in family structures and dynamics in the 20th century have had great impacts on family traditions. The impacts have been greater in Western Europe and North America than in other countries in the world. The changes include a shift from extended to nuclear families, new norms such as cohabitation between unmarried people, living apart together, an increase in separation and divorce, decrease in fertility levels, changing gender and intergenerational norms. These changes have led to the prediction of the disintegration or even the end of family in the near future. Higher rates of divorce cases and out of wedlock childbearing have dramatically altered the family life of children. In the early 1960s, almost 90% of children lived with their both biological parents until they got into adulthood. This trend has dramatically changed today whereby less than half of children normally live with both parents while they are growing up. Almost a third of children belong to single-parent families. A majority of these children don’t live with both of their parents due to divorce or other calamities.

Obviously, the erosion of the family fabric has created tremendous uncertainties in the lives of children. Consequences of father absence have led to speculations among policy makers and the public at large. Some experts have argued that growing up with a single parent, who in most cases is the mother, is the main course of the societies social problems. The problems they experience include poverty, high school dropout, and teen pregnancy among others. What is more, children who grow up without a father perform poorly in school compared to those staying with both biological parents. In addition, these children are less likely to finish school and attend college, less likely to find and keep a steady job, and are more likely to become teen mothers or fathers. Above all, families where fathers are not in constant contact with their children normally experience a substantial decline in standards of living that in-turn reduces the child’s chances of success.

Increasing prevalence of single parenthood is undermining kinship-based family structures particularly among young urban females. For example, many African cities that have an over-representation of female headed households are among the poor. With the increasing unemployment rate and dwindling resources, men cannot play their traditional role as the sole breadwinners. As a result, men have felt powerless and unable to provide for their families. They have now resorted to rape, alcoholism, brutality, and extramarital sex. On the other hand, women have been able to deliver their main roles as household and farm managers. Their roles remain in close conformity with the traditional expectations hence making them better placed to achieve the social values embedded in their gender roles. In many parts of Africa, internal migration has been the norm rather than the exception in many parts. For many years, people move to urban areas in pursuit of better opportunities to earn more income to support themselves and their families residing in rural areas. However, labor migration has had corrosive effects on the family kinship ties. The outmigration of men in search for jobs has forced women to undertake the role of rearing children alone. This has caused many households to lack the stabilizing influence of a father. This happens because fathers are the ones who provide support network for stability of their families. In Lesotho, a recent household study found out that virtually every household depends on migrant financial remittances from South Africa. In 1990, migrant remittances contributed 43.7% of Lesotho’s GDP. Inspite of this positive aspect, the development of the family system has had far-reaching implications. The migration has led to the decline in agricultural production as wives of migrants have resorted to subsistence farming activities. Most men in Lesotho have migrated to perform low skilled jobs in South Africa. This has brought change into the educational profile since the females left behind have resorted to education hence making them more educated than their male counterparts. As a result, most of the educated women are now not ready to get married particularly to distant men in the South African mines.

HIV/AIDS affect men and women differently. The socioeconomic impacts of the epidemic on the rural families have different repercussions depending on whether it is the father or mother who dies. Women who lose their husbands through the HIV epidemic are the most affected. Those women who depended on their men for income and livelihood end up living at extreme levels of poverty These and find it very difficult to thrive in society. Thereby, the future of these families is completely blurred. Besides, women normally have fewer legal rights than men and also have less access to support services, credit, and input. This normally results in a marked increase in poverty among AIDS widows. There is also a great increase in the number of orphans who lose one or both of their caregivers to HIV/AIDS. Losing parents or guardians to HIV/AIDS forces children to assume new roles and responsibilities within the nuclear as well as the extended family. These additional economic responsibilities make it hard to fulfill traditional roles, duties, and responsibilities. Children whose parents lived in towns before death are normally forced to go back to their rural homes. Due to the loss of the parent/parents, children are forced to adapt to living without parents and rural life. Their social security together with their family life is normally disrupted, and there is no social safety net to help them go through the transition period. As a result, in most cases, children quit studying. This increases the level of risky lifestyles among the older orphans, especially the girls. At times, if all parents have died, the children are normally dispersed to relatives meaning they may grow up not in a family and also may not receive attention and guidance from relatives. When they are left with the grandparents, the task is normally heavy since they might find it difficult to discipline and control young adults. Sometimes, orphans may run away from their extended family homes to escape poverty. Sometimes, the older children might be sent to town to help make up for the loss of income and support the younger siblings. The level of school dropouts increases because most of them cannot afford to pay their school fees, uniform, books. Some children also drop out because of the stigma. Absenteeism is also high as most of them are normally required to attend to household chores before they go to school. Therefore, for the reasons mentioned above, it is clear that lack of parental guidance normally make children troublesome in the future.

The growth of children without one or both parents affects their life style and development. A family that is disrupted usually has fewer financial resources to devote to the children’s upbringing and education, less time to supervise and nurture them, and reduced community resources that can in return help parents in supplementing their efforts. Thus, protecting children from economic insecurity requires support from both the private and public sector.