Family Development

Sunday, January 7, 2024 @ 11:29 AM

The Concept of Family Development

The concept of family development has been expanded to include: (a) an elaboration on various components of marriage, (b) an evaluation of the dynamics of sibling relationships, (c) an exploration of parenting including the variables influencing decisions whether or not to have children, (d) an examination of some stressors and strains that may contribute conflict in family life, (e) a definition of elements adolescence versus young adulthood and (f) an analysis of special familial issues including intimacy with God. According to McGoldrick, Preto and Carter (2016) marriage has manifold components including economics, emotional connection, power struggles, the establishment of boundaries, sexuality, childrearing, and role definition. At its corpus, marriage entails negotiating many issues that were previously developed from individual worldviews (McGoldrick et al, 2016). Sibling constellations may contribute positively or negatively to the health of marital relationships ((McGoldrick et al, 2016). “Other than the spouse relationship, perhaps no other relationship in life entails the same level of intimacy as that of siblings” (Garland, 2012, p. 180).
Parenting in today’s postmodern culture may also present moral and ethical dilemmas from a biblical perspective regarding “respect for the sanctity of human life” (Kostenberger & Jones, 2010, p. 131). As such, decisions as to whether the use of specific forms of reproductive technology violate God’s Word, should be the bedrock of Christian’s decisions. Regarding a couple’s desire to have children, adoption may represent a viable option (Kostenberger & Jones, 2010). In addition, intentionally developing stress management skills such as coping and problem solving may provide viable familial options geared to achieve effective anger management (Balswick & Balswick, 2014). Balswick and Balswick (2014) recommend “three basic constructive approaches: fair fighting, conflict resolution, and conflict management” (p. 256). The transition from adolescents to adulthood may represent significant challenges for both parents and children. Empowering and engaging adolescents in positive activities, showing them love, understanding, connectedness and support may provide a healthy transition to adulthood (Balswick & Balswick, 2014; McGoldrick et al, 2016). The readings on Contextual Family Therapy and Experiential Family Therapy as models for family development provided many keen insights. I posit that the humanistic underpinnings of Experiential Family Therapy and synonymous with the Gospel. In addition, the nuance of mutual respect rings home profoundly as it relates the pivotal constructs to family development. In conclusion, Yarhouse and Sells (2017) succinctly capture its essence here, “Mutual respect and regard [sic] is essential for the working of a family and essential in the process of therapy” (p. 181).

Balswick J. O. & Balswick J. K. (2014). The family: A Christian perspective of the contemporary home. (4th ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic
Garland, D. R. (2012). Family ministry: A comprehensive guide. (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press
Kostenberger, A. J. & Jones, D. W. (2010). God, marriage, and family: Rebuilding the biblical foundation. (2nd ed.). Wheaton, IL: Crossway
McGoldrick, M., Preto, N. G. & Carter, B. (2016). The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family, and social perspectives. (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson
Yarhouse, M. A. & Sells, J. N. (2017). Family therapies: A comprehensive Christian appraisal. (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press