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The Role that Family plays in the development, maintenance and treatment of adolescents with eating disorders.

Abstract

This essay aims to assess the role that family members play in the development, maintenance and treatment of an adolescent with an eating disorder. It looks at the effects of family contribution on the behaviour of the adolescent and methods that could be used to improve his/her ailment. Studies indicate that family play a very important role in influencing the eating behaviours of most adolescents.

Introduction

Eating disorders are one of the most common disorders affecting 1 in 4 teenage girls worldwide (Maine, 2001). They are generally characterised by disturbances in eating behaviour. This implies eating too much, not eating enough, or eating in an extremely unhealthy manner (such as bingeing or stuffing oneself repeatedly). The two most common eating disorders include, Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa. According to the DSM-IV, Anorexia Nervosa can be described as “A refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight or becoming fat even though underweight” (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Some signs and symptoms include repeatedly avoiding food, reduction in amount and types of food eaten, feeling extremely restless and guilty after having a meal.

In contrast to Anorexia, Bulimia is characterised as “Eating in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any 2 hour period) and amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances” (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The general symptoms include dramatic fluctuation in weight, low self-esteem, feeling extremely anxious after completing a meal and feeling the need to vomit (French, 1987).

There is no single cause for eating disorders; however concerns about weight and body shape play a role in all eating disorders, the actual cause of these disorders appear to result from many factors, including cultural and family pressures, emotional and personality disorders. Genetic and biologic factors also contribute towards the development of eating disorders. Eating disorders are more prevalent during adolescence. The effects range from growth retardation, lack of bone mass development during adolescence.

The relationships an adolescent has with family and peers have been shown to predict strongly adjustment in later life (Vernberg, 1990). In relation to these findings, researchers have sought to investigate whether family and peers also contribute to either clinical eating disorders or less severe forms of eating problems (Oliver and Thelen, 1996). Much research has been completed on this disorder and results indicate a strong familial involvement. Many individuals with Anorexia come from over controlling families where nurturance is lacking family history of alcoholism, eating disorders or preoccupation with food and appearance (Bulik, 1994). Some studies indicate that fathers played a salient role in the expression of more severe forms of eating products (Vincent, 2000).

In a early study carried out by Johnson & Flach (1983) bulimics perceived their families as low in cohesiveness and high in conflict, yet also very low in independence and highly achievement-oriented (Johnson & Flach, 1983). Mukai (1996) also found that almost 50% of adolescent girls reported being encouraged to lose weight by their mothers. In addition, teasing and criticism about body weight or shape by family members has been found to predict ideal body internalisation, body dissatisfaction and eating problems among girls (Levine, Smolak and Hayden, 1994).

The main treatment for eating disorders include restoring normal weight for Anorexia, reduce and hopefully stop binge eating and purging for Bulimia. The encouragement of proper nutritional habits and how to develop healthy eating patterns and meal plans have been proven to be effective (American Psychiatric Association, 2006). Family-based treatments such as the Maudsley Approach, assist parents in their efforts to help their adolescent in his/her recovery of AN and to return their to their normal eating habits (Eisler et al., 2000). More interventions like this should be encouraged to help adolescents overcome eating disorders.

References

American Psychiatric Association (2006). Treatment of patients with eating disorders, 3rd edition, Am J Psychiatry, 163, 4 – 54.

American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Ed.).USA.

Bulik, C (1994). Eating Disorders: Detection and Treatment.New Zealand. Durmere Press Limited.

Eisler, I., Dare, C., Hodes, M., Russell, G., Dodge, E., and D. Le Grange. (2000). Family therapy for adolescent anorexia nervosa: the results of a controlled comparison of two family interventions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 727-736.

French, B (1987). Coping with Bulimia: The Binge Purge Syndrome.United Kingdom. Thorsons.

Johnson, C and Flach, A (1985). Family characteristics of 105 patients with bulimia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 142 (11), 1321-1324.

Levine, M.P., Smolak, L.,& Hayden, H. (1994). The relation of socio-cultural factors to eating attitudes and behaviours among middle school girls. Journal of Early Adolescence, 14(4), 471-490.

Maine, M (2001). Altering women’s relationship with food: A Relational, Developmental Approach. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 1301-1310.

Mukai, T (1996). Predictors for relapse and chronicity in eating disorders: A review of follow up studies. Japanese Psychological Research, Vol.38, (2), 07-105.

Oliver, K.K and Thelen, M.H (1996). Children’s perceptions of peer influence on eating concerns. Behaviour Therapy, 27, 25-39.

Vernberg, E.M (1990) Psychological adjustment and experiences with peers during early adolescent: Reciprocal, incidemtal or unindirectional. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18, 187-198.

Vincent, M.A and McCabe, M. P (2000) Gender Differences Among Adolescent in Family, and peer Influences on Body Dissatisfaction, Weight Loss, and Binge eating behaviours. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 29.

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Free Essays

On Family Guy: The Narrative and Postmodern

Introduction

In the popular television show, Family Guy, which airs on a variety of different stations, a selection of different communication theories can be easily applied to the overall makeup of the thirty-minute animated episodes. The television show revolves around a similar concept to The Simpsons, albeit one that is highly focused on a very direct satire of contemporary culture and its impact on society, especially in terms of everyday American life. The show features a seemingly standard American family, consisting of Peter Griffin, the father, Lois Griffin, the mother, Chris Griffin, the son, Meg Griffin, the daughter, Stewie Griffin, the baby son, and Brian, the dog. Throughout the many seasons, the show focuses on exposing the ills of society in a funny, yet politically incorrect fashion. Peter Griffin, for example, works for a toy company owned by a tobacco conglomerate; even Brian, the family pet, has commented on society, which is especially apparent in the joint episodes where he becomes addicted to cocaine, spirals out of control, and eventually enters into a rehabilitation paradise in hopes of recovery. Two theories which will be applied to Family Guy are narrative theory and postmodern theory; despite the selection of only two theories, almost all well known theories can be applied as well. However, there are two key aspects that relate best with the show such as more traditional aspects of narrative, including the character development and the plot structures, as well as focusing on driving concept of the show and its embrace of postmodernism in its humor.

As Jakob Lothe of Oxford University believes, “there are narratives not only in literature, but also in other cultural utterances that surround us” (3). In the case of our modern day culture, television is a thriving arena in which we can find solid narrative structures. The first method of analysis will focus on the narrative aspect of Family Guy through the understanding of the structure and usage of narrative elements. To begin with, the overall format of every episode of the show remains largely constant with only a small variation, often in the case of joint episodes or season ending cliffhangers. In each episode, there is a main story which is mixed into a group of smaller stories which will inevitably feed into the main story. In the story itself, the viewer is presented with a new variable being added to the static nature of the family and society in which it lives. For example, Peter happens to find out that the toy company that he works for is being bought out by a huge tobacco conglomerate with the intent of making children aware of smoking and even possibly encouraging them to smoke cigarettes. However, in order to get to this situation, smaller events, like Peter’s rash decision to skip work and go to a baseball game where he happen to see his boss and is told to report to his office in the morning, must occur. As well, events that feed into the larger story include Brian realizing the supposed evils of the tobacco company and attempting to quit, thereby antagonizing the family with his frustration and nicotine addiction. Later in this episode, we find out that because Peter was in the right place at the right time, he has been given a raise and is expected to help lobby for tobacco companies in Congress.

However, the concept of an equilibrium cycle plays a huge part in the end of this — and every other — episode: without this key element, the story would constantly be changing without returning to the status quo, meaning that missing a single show would lead the viewer to be very confused about the situation and how it has changed. This is extremely apparent in a show like Family Guy where its highly illogical nature changes the setting and situation almost constantly. To correct this potential problem, the equilibrium cycle comes to play a huge part of the story, especially in terms of the discourse. The cycle starts, obviously, with the introduction of Peter’s new position, interrupting the supposed equilibrium. Although many other smaller events occur throughout the process of this episode’s plot, they are events which do not affect the return to stasis negatively or contribute positively to the return. In this example episode, Stewie is caught smoking a cigarette, so Lois decides to bring back equilibrium by going to Washington to convince Peter to not lobby for tobacco companies. While he disagrees with Lois and continues his campaign, Peter hears Stewie coughing in the crowd and reconsiders his decision, going against the tobacco companies and therefore returning to the state of equilibrium. In each episode, a closely related, if not exactly the same, structure is followed without any exception except in rare cases.

The physical organization of events in the episodes is also highly formulaic. The story is presented in a strictly beginning to end fashion; that is, the syntagm never has a divergence with actual flashbacks or flashforwards. Although “[many theorists] devise modes of analysis of the time structure of the story (order of events, temporal distortions such as flashbacks or flashforwards…)” (Landa 28), the distortions in Family Guy do not actually change the plot, and therefore do not impact the story in a traditional way. For example, Peter has a flashback to a dancing frog in one episode while he should be recalling important information that his wife told him earlier in the show. Flashbacks and flashforwards merely appear to serve the satirical element of the show, focusing on more postmodern concepts instead of furthering the discourse. No matter what “temporal distortion” appears in the episode, it is restricted to being a nonessential element and acts as an interruption in the actual discourse but still may somewhat contribute to the story as a whole. Despite being distinctly direct in its syntagm, Family Guy exhibits a wide variety of stories based upon popular culture to keep it unique from week to week, whereas flashbacks and flashforwards could be used as divergent plot elements in other television shows.

However, it appears that the major element which keeps the show intact is the large list of static characters. Of course, one of the key elements of a narrative is that “…[it] needs human characters” (Coste 28). Because of this, the characters play an incredibly prominent role in the show. While in most forms of literature at least one character is a dynamic entity, changing from the beginning to end, television largely relies upon static characters which do not change greatly – if at all – between episodes. This concept is put in place for the same reason as that of the equilibrium cycle: a viewer must not be confused about the nature of the overall story from episode to episode (or season to season). While gradual changes are phased in, a large change in one episode will usually not come to pass, unless that episode is the first or last episode of the season. For this reason, the characters play a huge part in the development of the weekly plot.

Peter Griffin is an obese, moderately unintelligent oaf (similar to Homer Simpson); Lois Griffin acts as the voice of reason in keeping the family unit together; Chris Griffin serves to antagonize any conflict or to create one if there is not already a conflict (usually involving Meg as the subject); Meg Griffin acts as an entity which bows down to society in order to attempt (and fail) at fitting in with the social norms of the diegesis; Stewie Griffin is used to reinforce the stupidity of his family and the society in which he lives his life; and Brian is used in a variety of roles, usually to remark on the stupidity of Peter (and not society as a whole). Each of these characters, while acting as a family in the show, exhibits a large selection of different features. Yet, they are designed to fit with each other and take up a niche in the show, such as playing a hero, villain, false hero, donor, reward, and otherwise. Although each character can play a different role in a different discourse, their underlying character traits are made to dictate their actions with little variation (largely in aspects of morality and social conscience). Still, the characters revolve around the tenet of fitting into a special area of expertise. Without Peter, for instance, the show would have no central focus and nothing exceedingly illogical would occur for the other characters to critique. As whole, the family unit acts to preserve the underlying concept of the show: a humorous, yet decisively cynical viewpoint of the contemporary society in which we live in.

All of these elements of the narrative are used in their particular ways for a very specific reason. Largely because of “the fact that most novels and short stories come to us through the voice of a narrator [which] gives authors a greater range and flexibility than filmmakers” (Mitchell 128), television shows such as Family Guy must rely on their consistent conventions to keep an audience understanding and supportive. Without a stable basis, or narration in the case of novels, a narrative would lack enough information to stand on its own. Simply stated, without the flexibility of a narrator in novels, creators of television series must rely on other aspects to convey a subject matter. In the case of Family Guy, this aspect includes the static, if not formulaic, approach to analyzing and critiquing our society. The creators focus on keeping a varied selection of characters to fulfill long term plot goals while still satisfying the simple, more direct plot changes. Although the long term plot goals usually involve pointing out the flaws in everyday American culture, the traditional “narrative aspect is absolutely crucial both for the way the [show] functions and for its effect on the audience” (Lothe 8). Without the narrative base, the long term goals would not be expressed because the narrative is the story in which the problems needed to be addressed are shown to the audience.

Still, this long term goal of the show is best analyzed through a different, if not a more contemporary way: postmodernism. The entire basis of Family Guy is in fact postmodernism. From every attack of our culture in which the show is founded upon, postmodernism is expressed; in fact, from nearly every underlying character design and situation, it can easily be seen as a postmodern school of thought, which both embraces and assaults “pessimism, disenchantment, and melancholy” (Turner 123) in the response to “the lack of stability in ethics and values” (Turner 123). As Turner describes it, the postmodern movement is a rethinking of all modern examples which stems from the dissatisfaction with the modern culture as a whole. Although shows such as The Simpsons attempted to exploit the postmodernist culture in more subtle, strictly plot based coincidences, Family Guy represents a more direct, in-your-face approach to postmodern reflection. Its use of blatant postmodern theory is especially apparent in both the writing and the overall style of the show; it embraces a viewpoint that postmodernism is a way to reflect upon our own mistakes as a united culture. The show plays upon the idea that “[o]ur commercialism… mesmerizes us [and causes us to] lose our historical and social bearings” (O’ Neill 19). Basically, the show attempts to ridicule the past and the present, including ridiculing many postmodern aspects of society by the way of parody, irony, and satire.

To begin with, the entire show as a whole can be viewed as a simulacrum; that is, it is based completely upon the fake real of an American family in seemingly everyday situations. Pastiche is used extensively throughout every episode: from the integration with 1980s music videos to the sudden appearance of, and borrowing of style, from characters in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, the amount of both subtle and direct pastiche is amazingly apparent in the show. Because of the easily mutable nature of animated series, Family Guy is also easily to incorporate a strong sense of hybridity of style. As briefly mentioned, the show mixes a variety of animation styles, such as the generic 1980s music video or throwbacks to “classic” animation; the show has also mixed its animations with actual film footage to create dramatic effects.

To go along with these common postmodern elements, intertextuality invariably follows suit. The creators assume that the viewing audience has a knowledge (or at least a basic, experienced understanding) of the different eras of American culture. While the creators generally relate their shows to contemporary information, there is also a considerable amount of focus placed upon modernist, romanticist, and other eras of thought. The show often addresses one certain era while subtlety exploiting another viewpoint. Still, the main focus has always been on exploiting the wrongs of the more modern and postmodern portions of American culture. It especially likes to critique the strength of big business in everyday life and explore the relationships of consumer culture. Through the use of the narrative portion of each episode, the characters are given the chance to relate their seemingly real life situations to those in other movies, television shows, and other popular media.

However, one incredibly prominent feature of Family Guy is placed upon the combination of metacommunication and reflexivity. In several episodes, the characters in the show directly address the audiences, often in the forms of pseudo moral lessons at the end of the episode’s story. If the episode does not use that technique, there will be an interruption in the story in which the characters will acknowledge they are in a cartoon and being watched by an audience. Even still, in every episode, it is implied that metacommunication is nearly the entire dialogue as postmodern critiques are the focus of the show. Despite the fact that these are designed to be humorous shows, the actual concepts are expressed on a deep level, utilizing most elements in postmodern theory. Still, the largest amount of content comes from the knowledge that the cartoon is not supposed to just be a story but instead it is designed to represent a certain depiction of society and its interactions. Postmodernism also attacks the bearer of culture, the institution, claiming “that institutions define the discourses” (Lash 164). Predictably, Family Guy is seen attacking the institutional forms of power, from the government to the media to the majority at large; of course, this largely depends upon current events and current trends, which happen to influence a significant amount of the show’s content.

The overall goal of this postmodernist approach to a television series, as previously mentioned, is an interesting take on this medium as it opposes itself to some degree. It bases itself on a postmodern interpretation of society while using a postmodern style to create the interpretation of itself. In other words, it is attacking what it is also founded upon, as well as the concepts of modernism and other past theories. A prevalent part of the postmodern culture is the desire to get away from the structure of society, potentially in terms of our dependence on the idea of a consumer-based culture. Yet, in this attempt to escape from the social wrongs of consumerism, it remains abundantly clear that “the postmodern condition is integrally yoked with consumer capitalism” (Lyon 74). The show often strongly embraces consumer capitalism while selectively critiquing other unfavorable aspects of society. For example, the show will go after a range of different topics from abortion to racism, but it will skip topics involving mass consumerism as they have become so ingrained into our culture, they no longer seem abnormal or misplaced. Simply stated that although the show tries to vary itself, it is a postmodern show created from the fruits of the postmodern era; therefore, it has no choice but to succumb, at least in some degree, to the same problems it is intending to critique.

It can be argued that Family Guy is attempting to“[e]scape the shackles of modernist assumptions and expectations” (Lyon 70) by “relaxing in a playground of irony and irreverent pastiche” (Lyon 70). Still, that energy expressed by a postmodernist interpretation is considered to be “frivolous and wasteful” (O’ Neill 16). Regardless, audiences have come to know and even respect the social commentary they receive from Family Guy as a form of higher, intelligent humor, despite its wasteful use of energy. The point of the show is probably not to completely tear down all aspects of our society, but the ones that are popularly discussed or ones that are clear in other media such as other television shows or magazines. In this way, postmodernism is unpredictable in its approach. It takes a casual view on what to select, largely because the structure of modernism is the main target of postmodern schools of thought.

The overall conclusion that comes from this analysis is that Family Guy is definitely at the forefront of postmodern entertainment. Although the narrative exists in every episode, it primarily exists only to serve the purpose of aiding in the establishment of reasons to critique our society’s faults and wrongdoings. It appears that the show is a mixture of elements, but is generally concerned only with attacking the established norms. The established norms that are attacked are varied, but generally fall into a depiction of conglomerates interaction with consumer culture. While this show follows a very formulaic pattern in each episode, its connection to popular culture allows it to survive not only on simple plot twists and basic narrative structure but rather the underlying idea or concept that is behind the episode. Both theories are easily applied to the show but for different reasons: narrative theory is easy because the narrative only serves to establish a reason for the postmodern critique whereas postmodern theory is equally easy to apply because the entire show is distinctively based upon a postmodern approach and inherently draws from a vast assortment of postmodern concepts and ideas. Again, the narrative seems to just be a scaffolding of sorts in which the show is able to launch a series of hard-hitting assaults on our culture’s composition; in this way, it appears to be that the show is definitely a comedy which truly fits into the postmodern category the best, while the other categories would still work due to its encompassing discourse on the nature of our society. Overall, it appears that the “practices of looking” are completely apparent in this show. The show itself is a critique on culture, just as modern communication studies are also a critique on media and, in turn, culture itself. Simply stated, Family Guy is the ultimate definition of postmodern entertainment and a valid critique on today’s society. Works Cited (MLA)

References

Coste, Didier. Narrative as Communication. Minnesota: University of Minnesota, 1989.

Landa, Jose Angel Garcia and Susana Onega. Narratology: An Introduction. New York: Longman Publishing, 1996.

Lash, Scott. Sociology of Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Lothe, Jakob. Narrative in Fiction and Film: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Lyon, David. Postmodernity. Minnesota: University of Minnesota, 1994.

Mitchell, W J T. On Narrative. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

O’ Neill, John. The Poverty of Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Turner, Bryan S. Orientalism, Postmodernism and Globalism. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Clay Chastain

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Free Essays

What role does the family play in the development, maintenance and treatment of eating disorders?

Abstract

This essay aims to clarify the role that the family plays in the development and maintenance of eating disorders among adolescents. It argues for a conceptual shift in treating the family as a dynamic system which can be restructured for successfully treatment of adolescent eating disorders. Supportive family participation should be an integral part of the treatment effort to facilitate the recovery of the identified patients.

Introduction

The role of the family in adolescent eating disorders

For many years, the family has been held responsible for eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia that are rampant among youngsters (10~20 years of age; Kreipe, 2006). Consequently, parents and other family members close to the identified patient are portrayed as negative influencers, and are generally excluded from the therapeutic process of the ‘frightening illness’ (Michel and Willard, 2003a). However, a new line of research stemming from Minuchin and colleagues (1978) has reframed the role of the family in a way that creates a profound impact on the development of effective family therapy. In the light of this conceptual shift, the present essay attempts to provide a renewed perspective into the role that the family system plays in the multifaceted aspects of eating disorders.

The development of disordered eating symptoms appears to be characteristic of dysfunctional parenting and abnormal familial situations. For instance, inappropriate parental pressures and overprotection (Horesh et al., 1996; Shoebridge and Gowers, 2000), critical comments and high expectations on shape and weight (Graber et al., 1994), and elevated negative expressed emotions in the family (Le Grange et al., 1992) all increase an adolescent’s chances of developing an eating disorder. Meanwhile, as the family system evolves and reaches its homeostasis where rigid rules of behaviour are observed, the youngsters may find themselves being hindered from establishing an identity or learning adaptive skills to cope with life stressors (Michel and Willard, 2003a). Consequently, eating disorders are maintained as a safe avenue to expressing their individuation from the family of origin (Michel and Willard, 2003b). In addition, medical research from family, twin, and molecular genetic studies seems to vouch for certain genetic underpinnings in disordered eating (Le Grange et al., 2010), giving rise to the speculation that eating disorders emerge from the complex interaction between a multiplicity of genetic and non-genetic family and sociocultural factors (Bulik, 2005; Striegel-Moore and Bulik, 2007).

While the family system provides a holding environment for an adolescent’s development and maintenance of an eating disorder (Michel and Willard, 2003a), the system can in turn be restructured to cultivate an environment that facilitates eating disorder treatment and recovery. Recent research and clinical experience has established that family therapy, i.e. having family members as part of the treatment team, is an effective modality for treating eating disorders among adolescents, and can even enhance the efficacy of cognitive-behaviour intervention for adolescents with bulimia if the family involvement is active and supportive (Lock and Le Grange, 2005). However, if the family is highly critical and hostile, family involvement should be avoided (Le Grange et al., 1992).

To conclude, by viewing the family as a dynamic system, eating disorders become part of the system and its development and maintenance would be subject to the influence of the interaction between genetic or non-genetic family factors. Meanwhile, the family system can be restructured to enhance the treatment of adolescents’ eating disorders by family participation or exclusion based on the nature of the family system (i.e. critical or supportive).

References

Bulik, C.M. (2005) Exploring the gene-environment nexus in eating disorders. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 30 (5), pp. 335-339.

Graber, J.A., Brooks-Gunn, J., Paikoff, R.L., & Warren, M.P. (1994) Prediction of eating problems: An 8-year study of adolescent girls. Dev Psychol 30, pp. 823-834.

Horesh, N., Apter, A., Ishai, J., Danziger, Y., Miculincer, M., Stein, D., et al. (1996) Abnormal psychosocial situations and eating disorders in adolescence. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 35, pp. 921-927.

Le Grange, D., Eisler, I., Dare, C., & Hodes, M. (1992) Family criticism and self-starvation: a study of expressed emotion. J Fam Ther 14, pp. 177-192.

Le Grange, D., Lock, J., Loeb, K., & Nicholl, D. (2010) Academy for eating disorders position paper: The role of the family in eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders 43, pp. 1-5.

Lock, J. & Le Grange, D. (2005) Family-based treatment of eating disorders. Int J Eat Disord 37, pp. S64–S67.

Kreipe, R.E. (November 2006) Eating disorders and adolescents. Retrieved 11 Jun 2011 from http://www.actforyouth.net/resources/rf/rf_eatingdisorders_1106.pdf

Michel, D.M. & Willard, S.G. (2003a) Family treatment of eating disorders. Clinical Focus 10 (6), pp. 59-61.

Michel, D.M. & Willard, S.G. (2003b) When dieting becomes dangerous: a guide to understanding and treating anorexia and bulimia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Shoebridge, P. & Gowers S.G. (2000) Parental high concern and adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa: A case-control study to investigate direction of causality. Br J Psychiatry 176, pp. 132-137.

Striegel-Moore, R.H. & Bulik, C.M. (2007) Risk factors for eating disorders. Am Psychol 62, pp. 181-198.

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Free Essays

How has the structure of the family changed in Britain over the last hundred years? Indicate the implications of the changes for the education system.

Introduction

I am going to start firstly, by looking at how the family was in the years of the industrial revolution and how education was shaped and changed in this period. Secondly, I will look into the post-war immigration and how education was implicated, due to the introduction of new cultures. Citizenship classes have been introduced to cater for the changes and I will explain why some parents disagree to them. Thirdly, I will explain about the different types of families in the modern day society, looking at how education has not only changed in schools but has also been linked to the home and educating parents in some aspects of family life. I will specifically look at single-parent families and how it has been reported that these children already have a disadvantage in education, if they are from this type of family.

In the nineteenth century, the family structure was shaped by the industrial revolution. It spread throughout Britain and there was a massive increase in the number of factories. As the number of factories grew, people moved from the countryside into towns looking for better paid work. The towns were not ready for this great increase of people and housing was very overcrowded. Rooms were rented to whole families. Family size at this time was between six to twelve children and they all slept and fed in a single room. Muncie, et al (1993) cited that Smith (1986:pg 18) showed that in 1860 the average marriage produced seven children. Also part of the family living in one room were the grandparents, this is known as an extended family. Grandparents lived and were looked after by the family because they were a valuable resource, as a childminder. “Kin were an important source of aid in ‘critical life situations’ for example, aging parents, who lived with and were supported by their married children, provided a child-minding service which allowed the mother to work”. (Elliot 1986:p46).

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, schools were not very common and none were provided by the state. Children, in the working-class, were seen as benefits to the family as they were sent to work in the factories to help bring in money for the family. There was no compulsory education but Burnett (1982 ) explains that expansion of the Sunday school movement was of a great importance. It brought education opportunities to those who worked 6 days a week. Burnett (1982) also explains that sometimes even the very poor children could not attend Sunday school as they did not have suitable clothes or shoes, and the rich attended much better Sunday schools. Even before state education was around, the class divide was great, the rich had better education and the poor couldn’t even attend due to being so poor. England was introduced to universal, free education by these Sunday schools and this developed the system of day-schooling.

As the types of work became more diverse, the machinery in the factories became more technical and needed skilled workers to operate them. This meant there was a need for more educated workers and the state accepted that it needed to provide education for the working class. David (1980:pg33) acknowledges this “The arguments for the state to provide education for the working classes only won acceptance as the economy became more diversified, the need for skilled and trained labour became more critical”. Another reason why education was needed for the working class was the change in women’s employment. Children had no care and needed somewhere to go while their parents were at work. From 1893 all working-class children had to attend school for at least six years, from five years old to the age of eleven. After this children were allowed to be exempt from school as long as they had proof they were going into employment. Sunderland (1971) explained that this lead to most children being exempt from school at the age of eleven as the family needed them to work to provide an income. “Only 14% of the children on the registers of inspected schools were aged twelve and over” Sunderland (1971:pg44)

The First World War brought new opportunities for women. The men were sent to war and the women were able to fill many different roles in the workforce. This was quickly withdrawn after the war and women were expected to withdraw from working and return to full-time care of the house and children. Unfortunately due to recession money had been withdrawn from providing school meals and nursery care for their children had been forced to close; this made it near impossible for women with younger children unable to work. “Parents were once more forced to rely on their own resources for the care of their children” David (1980:pg58). Women campaigned for more equal rights and in 1918 women over the age of thirty were able to vote and in 1928 the age was lowered to twenty-one. This gave females more rights and freedom in their choices. Unfortunately there was a great depression and unemployment was high so women were unable to work and therefore stayed at home to look after the family.

After World War Two, education in Britain changed, due to the 1944 Education Act. This act made secondary education compulsory until the age of fifteen. At this time there was a recognition that Britain’s economy needed to be rebuilt and Britain called for immigrant workers. “It attracted for the first time large numbers of workers and families from the Caribbean, Indian and Pakistan” www.nationalarchives.gov.uk (accessed 14/03/11). This meant that Britain’s non-white population rapidly increased. This influx was not very well received by the British people and the government repeatedly discussed how to try and restrict the immigration from these countries. In schools, racism and divide in social class was very high and unless you were white and middle class; your time at school was seen as a time of prejudice, frustration and lost opportunity. Factors that contributed to this exclusion were the different languages and cultures the families had brought with them. This contributed to the immigrants finding it hard to mix with the British society; it was greatly due to the British people being uneducated in their cultures and religions. Sidney Webb (1894) wrote that we need to generate a body of systematic political thought as a prime task of those who hoped to teach others how practically to transform England into a Social Democratic Commonwealth. “In 1976 the Race Relations Act was introduced and it became lawful to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour and nationality (including citizenship)” (Hope 2011). This has led to a change in education which has only recently come into schools; Citizenship classes.

An unawareness of these cultures and languages and the differences between the pupils led to citizenship classes being introduced to the curriculum in September 2002. The national framework introduces citizenship as a subject to develop sound principles of freedom, equality, justice and peace. It allows the students to engage with each other and their community. However, not everyone agreed to the significance of citizenship classes; West (2010) reports in The Telegraph that parents wanted to know why Muslims and Jehovah witnesses were allowed to take their children out of the school prayers and they weren’t allowed, as non-believers, to remove their children from the citizenship classes. On 20th January 2011, there was a major review of the national curriculum by the education secretary Michael Gove and he wanted to “demote citizenship to an optional subject” (Shepherd 2011). Teachers argued that this would work against aims of the ‘big society’ and Chris Waller (Head of the Association of Citizenship Teaching) said it would set England back 15 years to when it was the “least politically literate country in the developed world”. In schools, the difference between the pupils in their abilities is seen as being due to their socioeconomic status and linguistic diversity. Bernstein (1971) suggested that there is a difference between working-class and middle class children due to the working class children being linguistically deprived. Because of the child’s different tone, accents and languages spoken, this is seen as not Standard English therefore they are misunderstood in schools. Whereas, Labov (1977) suggested that there is a difference not a deficit, therefore we should be more accepting and willing to understand these differences. The citizenship classes should help to close this divide and allow not only pupils but teachers to have a greater understanding and allowing them to be educated in the same way, as middle class students. Staying with the present time I’m going to look at the family in modern society.

There has been a disappearance of the traditional ‘nuclear’ family and now there are many different types of the family. The ‘nuclear’ family is defined by having an adult couple, lasting indefinitely, a family property and commitment. The different families include gay and lesbian relationships, adoption and fostering, separation and divorce, re-marriage and single-parents. Many factors have changed in order to create these different types.

“Age at motherhood and first motherhood has risen, family size has fallen and childlessness has increased. Cohabitation has become common, both before marriage and between marriage; rising divorce rates and a near-trebling in the number of lone-parent families”. (Mcrae S, 1999:pg5)

An increase of divorce since the Divorce Law Reform Act 1969 and an increase of births outside of marriage have led to an increase in single-parent families. Usually the single parent in the single-parent families is the mother living on her own with her children; she does the greater share of caring for her children both financially and emotionally. Being able to provide for your family as a lone-parent has become easier with the help of state benefits and social or subsidized housing: but in many cases the mother is usually forced to work in a manual job or be unemployed. There is a concern if children are at an educational disadvantage in these homes. Spencer (2004) of the school of health and social studies reports that lone parenthood is associated with educational problems and that these families are significantly disadvantaged compared with couple families. In the lone-parent homes, it is suggested that there is a material disadvantage and a low maternal education. Maternal education is the inequality in a child’s home, which does not allow a child to learn things from their mother that will help them to be healthy in their future such as learning about immunisations and nutrition. Low maternal education in alone-parent family can be due to many factors such as the mother having to work to provide for the family and cannot spend much time at home with her children.

It has been reported by Carneiro, Meghir & Parey (2007) that educated mothers tend to delay in starting a family and when they do they are more likely to be married and have a very good income. The report also shows that the educated mothers are more likely to invest in their children through books and extra tuition; also providing an availability of a computer. In these families it is reported by Caneiro, Meghir & Parey (2007) that the maternal education persists into adolescence which reduces the number of children born to young adults and the number of criminal convictions. On the other hand reports have proven that children’s education is not affected if they come from a lone-parent family. It just depends on what happens in the home; whether the time and interest is taken in the child’s education. If a single parent sets up good morals and standards and lives by example, then the children will automatically grow up according to the values set before them. Desai, Chase-Landslade & Michael (1989) have researched into lone-parent mothers and believe their attitudes and ambitions can be changed and instead of accepting that their children will live to be un-educated and therefore not work; they have suggested ways to improve this; such as putting a limit on the number of years the mothers are in receipt of benefit and help them get back to work or even back into higher education to study for a profession. Classes at local community centres have also been introduced to educate mothers in health, education and general well-being to allow the mothers to increase their maternal education.

To conclude the family has taken many different forms over the last 100 years, starting with the large families in the industrial revolution where there was not any education and children worked to earn money to support the family. The industrial revolution created a new form of education as factories had more skilled machines and needed experienced workers. Education for working class became universal and allowed every child to be educated and this created an opportunity for women to become more independent and able to work. The post war immigration brought a change to families in the sense of race, culture and language; this created a need for schools to educate children in citizenship. There was a need to understand each other’s cultures and to create a more multicultural society. This brought up disputes between cultures and religions but generally it was seen as a need to make citizenship classes compulsory. This allows not only the children to be educated in the differences in cultures and society but also for the teachers to understand their pupils too; and to make changes to be able to educate their pupils. Another change to the family structure was the changes in the different types of family in today’s modern society. The main one I focused on was lone-parent families. This has seen to affect education in the sense of these children from the lone-parent families tending to be uneducated maternally in morals and standards. This led to show that the children tend to under achieve at school; but there is research and reports in trying to improve ways of educating the parents to help their children in their future and to be able to have a good career. There has been a lot of changes in the family over the last hundred years and this has led to many different implications on education; this no doubt will continue on in the future.

References

Allen, K & Baber, K. (1992) ‘Starting a revolution in family life education: A feminist vision’ Family Relations, 41 pg378-384.

Burnet, J. (1982) Destiny Obscure: autobiographies of childhood, education & family from the1820’s to the 1920’s. London: Routledge.

Carneiro, P, Meghir, C & Parey M. (2007) Maternal education, home environment & the development of children & adolescents. Available at www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp1507.pdf (Accessed: 17th March 2011).

David, M. (1980) The state, the family & education. London: Routledge & Kegan Ltd.

Elliot, F. (1986) The family: Change or continuity. London: Macmillan Education Ltd.

Hampden-Thompson, G & Pong, S. (2005) ‘Does family policy environment moderate the effect of single-parenthood on children’s academic achievement?’ Journal of Comparative Studies, 36 (2) pg 376-394. Available at www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docid=5009876853 (Accessed: 12th March 2011).

Hampshire, J. (2009) Immigration Policy in the United Kingdom. Available at www.migrationeducation.org/49.0.html (Accessed: 12th March 2011).

Hope, J. (2011) Integrating global and anti-racist perspectives, (Lecture to BA Education, Culture & Society, Goldsmiths). 24th November.

Jackson, A, Bentler, P & Franke, T. (2008) Low-wage maternal employment & parenting style. Available at www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi­_hb6467/is_3_53/ai_n39305364/ (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

McRae, S. (ed.) (1999) Changing Britain: Families and households in the 1990’s. Oxford: Oxford Press.

Muncie, J, Wetherell, M, Langan, M, Dallos, R & Cochrane, A. (1993) Understanding the family. 2nd edn. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Sheppherd, J. (2011) ‘Dont scrap citizenship lessons, teachers plead’, The Guardian, 20th January (Online). Available at www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/Jan/20/dont-scrap-citizenship-teachers-plead?INTCMP=SRCH (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

Spencer, N. (2005) ‘Does material disadvantage explain the increased risk of adverse health, educational & behaviourial outcomes among children in lone parent households in Britain?’ J Epidemiol Community Health, 59 pg 152-157 (Online). Available at www.ncbi.nlm.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1733007/pdf/v059p00152.pdf (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

Stubbs, M. (1976) Language, schools & classrooms: contemporary sociology of the school. 2nd edn. London; Methuen & Co Ltd.

Teachers Net (2009) Active Citizenship. Available at www.teachersnet.gov.uk/teachingandlearning/library/activecitizens/ (Accessed: 21st March 2011).

West, E. (2010) ‘Citizenship classes are propaganda. Why can’t parents take their children out of them?’, The Telegraph, 22nd January (Online). Available at www.blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100023344/citizenship-classes-are-propaganda-why-can’t-parents-take-their-children-out-of-them/ (accessed: 17th March 2011).

Categories
Free Essays

Hiv In Children In The Uk: Effects On The Child And Family

Introduction

The overarching theme of this essay is the effect of child health on the child and family. Concepts of health and illness are explored in pursuit of ways in which children’s health can be protected and maintained on different levels.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and its consequent disease state (AIDS) have in recent decades become a notable pandemic affecting the lives and livelihoods of ever increasing numbers of patients and the affected (UNICEF, 2011). HIV is a terminal (lifelong) illness. However, advances in modern medicine, the improved availability and effectiveness of drug regimens means that the disease can now be managed better, enabling enhanced and prolonged lives for the infected (UNAIDS, 2008). It is therefore imperative that knowledge of HIV is improved, as this will help develop effective strategies for the promotion of affected children’s health, particularly in their formative years.

In this regard, the understanding of factors influencing the health of children enables the raising awareness of the opportunities for effective health promotion. It aslo encourages focus on the effects of illness and poor health on the children and their families (Judd, et al., 2007). The effect of HIV in children in the UK and the overall health and well-being of children living with HIV including those exposed through maternal infection; children vulnerable to the impacts of HIV and AIDS such as those who have been orphaned, those living outside parental care, or in poor families; and children who are especially vulnerable to exposure to HIV because of their circumstances, such as those injecting drugs and those who are abused or sexually exploited, is the focus of this essay.

This exploration of child health is conducted with particular focus on HIV in children in the UK. The incidence, prevalence, and changing patterns of disease are discussed backed by statistical evidence which enables the contextualization of the child health issue. The impacts of child health policies and provisions on the well-being of the child and family are also explored.

Trends in child health issues

Often, and to most people, health is considered to be the absence of disease or ill-health. However, advances in research into health have led to the identification of several influences making it essential to enhance this limited definition to encompass these. Health derives from the interaction of complex aspects and factors in a child’s environment such as genetic endowment and behavioural responses, each constantly affecting and influencing the other (Glanz, et al., 2008). In consideration of this, WHO defines health as, “… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, 2005).

Health can therefore be identified as a resource for daily life, a positive concept that emphasizes physical capabilities, as well as personal and social resources which infer the maintenance and optimization of function through time (Hall and Elliman, 2006). Child health, in this regard, is defined as the extent to which an individual child or groups of children are able or enabled to: develop and realize their full potential; satisfy their needs; and, develop capacity allowing their successful interaction with their physical, biological and social environment (Silberfeld, 2007; UNICEF, 2009).

Comprehensive health promotion is based on the recognition that health and well-being are a result of the interaction of various multiple factors such as biological, psychological, social, cultural, and physical (Albon and Mukherji, 2008). In this regard, child health has to be looked at holistically to encompass not only the absence of illness but also other essential development aspects such as a healthy environment in which to grow and develop, play and learn.

Based on this view and crucial to the assessment of child health, three domains are defined: health condition (the illnesses and disorders of body systems such as disease, injury, impairment, or signs and symptoms); functioning (the manifestations of health in daily life reflecting the direct and indirect effects of health); and, health potential (the development of health assets (capacities or reserves) that provide the capacity for response to physical, psychological, and social challenges as well as risk states which lead to vulnerability to poor health) (Green and Tones, 2010). Child health has at its core the growth and development of healthy children with capacity to reach their full potential as citizens of the world.

Effects of poverty and inequality, for instance, may result in other compound factors such as poor nutrition, opportunity for educational development, and violence in the neighbourhood (physical safety), all of which lead to poor child health and/or health potential (Jones, et al., 2007; Wall, 2010). Poverty is often linked to poor health outcomes and significantly impacts children who suffer disproportionately, childhood being the most vulnerable periods in the life course (Wall, 2010). This is especially significant since a child’s quality of life is interwoven with the life and experience of the family in which they live or their carers. Without addressing problems affecting the child at home such as poverty, nutrition, housing, safety, as well as socio-cultural factors, the best quality of life for the child may not be attained (Department of Health, 2009; Shaw, et al., 2005). Such problems have been shown to have effects on health and well-being of individuals, and especially children in their critical and sensitive phases of development.

Child health has gained significance from the realization of critical differences from adult health with consideration of broader aspects of health specific to children being elucidated (National Research Council (US)/ Institute of Medicine (US), 2004; British Medical Association, 1999). Differences with adult health include: dependence on adult carers or family for their raising, determination of diets, and access to services; different manifestations of poor health; developmental differences with more focus on children’s cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth critical in their growth and development; and their demography, with a large proportion of children in the UK living in poverty (Albon and Mukherji, 2008; UNICEF, 2009). Due to these critical issues, children’s health should be given due regard and attention to safeguard their future potential and the sustenance of society. Appropriate approaches should encompass comprehensive and coordinated care to address the needs of both adults and children in a family setting meeting overall health and social care needs (Adams, et al., 2002).

Studies on child health in the UK conducted by the Department of Helath and private agencies have shown that practically all aspects of health fare worse among children from less affluent families and communities creating a link between poverty and poor child health (UNICEF, 2009; Hall and Elliman, 2006). Others studies conducted globally have aslo obtained similar findings, a direct relationship between illness and mortality (morbidity) with manifestations of deprivation whether social or economic such as poverty and unemployment. This shows that health differences are largely the product of the inequality in the distribution of wealth and income ().

Currently, 3.5 million children live in poverty in the UK, almost a third of all the children. Close to half of this population live in conditions of severe poverty with families having as little as ?12 per day per person to cater for every need (food, toys, clothing, electricity and heating, and transport). Additionally, 18% dependent children in the UK live in households where no adults are in employment (UNICEF, 2009). This paints a grim picture for their overall health and well-being. This situation is made dire with regard to chronic illnesses such as HIV and AIDS affecting children directly or indirectly, often altering the capacity and ability of adult caregivers in their role, catering for the affected children. Often the condition also results in loss of parents or caregivers infected with the disease (Judd, et al., 2007).

With poverty, the provision of good nutrition essential particularly for disease management in condition of HIV, quality housing in safe neighbourhoods and overall health promoting lifestyles is challenged. The HIV and AIDS condition is also prone to stigma and social segregation, which significantly enhances inequality over and above that due to poverty (Shaw, et al., 2005). These combined, and in addition to other environmental and social factors such as the relationships in the family and community, may profoundly impact the health of affected children. The nature and strength of such interactions may differ across an individual’s lifespan, and early influences may set in place a series of vulnerabilities and strengths that could significantly affect the fullness of life (Silberfeld, 2007).

The HIV infection and its health consequences are discussed below exploring statistical evidence on incidence, prevalence and changing patterns of disease.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Like all viruses, HIV cannot grow or reproduce independently and needs to infect cells of living organisms in order to replicate (to make new copies of themselves). However, unlike other viruses which are killed and cleared by the human immune system, HIV attacks essential components of the immune system itself, the T-helper cells of the immune system. The destruction of the cells of the immune system weakens the immune system until the body is no longer able to fight off other infections that it would usually be able to prevent, a condition referred to as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). These subsequent infections are what lead to the death of the affected individual. They include conditions such as Tuberculosis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, among many others, often referred to as opportunistic infections (UNAIDS, 2008).

HIV infection in children is often a result of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) with a vast majority occurring due to maternofetal transmission of blood during birth or during postnatal breast-feeding. Other transmission routes such as through the sharing of needles in intravenous drug use or sexual activity/abuse are rare and only rise as children approach puberty (WHO, 2005). Overall, in the UK, over 2000 children aged 14 and under diagnosed with HIV as at end of June 2012 have been infected through MTCT. The population of children infected accounts for approximately 2% of overall HIV infections (Judd, et al., 2007).

In 2011, there were 73,659 people in the UK diagnosed with HIV and receiving care. This number has increased every year in the previous decade, a 58% increase from 2002. 1 in every 500 men and 1 in 1000 women live with HIV and 1% of the total number of people receiving care are children under 15. Unfortunately, more people continue to be infected compounding the health problem (UNICEF, 2011). It is noteworthy that a study conducted between 2003 and 2006 did show that 64% of HIV-positive children resident in the UK had been born abroad with the unlinked anonymous surveillance program of 2006 that 1 in every 440 women giving birth in England and Scotland were HIV-positive with a 0.09% prevalence of previously undiagnosed infection. In the decade to 2006, the prevalence of HIV in women born in the UK increased by 66% (Judd et al., 2007).

Children affected by HIV not only suffer from the direct effects of the disease state but also from the fact that their primary caregivers are often also affected, struggling with the effects of the disease, or have died from the disease (UNICEF, 2011). The management of the disease condition also entails long-term complex medication regimes which require readiness and motivation of affected individuals to pursue antiretroviral therapy to slow down its effects. Compliance with treatment regimens and good nutrition enables infected individuals to live long healthy lives enabling the recovery of their immune systems to robust state (Judd et al., 2007).

A significant challenge to HIV’s life-long treatment regime is the problem of compliance, and with regard to children who often are difficult to administer medications to, the unavailability of paediatric formulations due to their relatively low prevalence, as well as the adverse side effects of medication present notable problems with the management of the condition (Judd et al., 2007). Children are also usually dependent on adult caregivers and with them probably also dealing with their own challenges, compliance and proper management of disease may not be achieved (Wall, 2010). It is therefore important to consider supporting the entire family rather than the individual child to achieve their overall well-being and health. This can best be achieved through effective health promotion strategies.

Health promotion strategies associated with HIV in the UK

Health promotion refers to the process in which people are enabled to increase control over their own health and its influences thereby achieving improvement in their health. This occurs primarily through the development of public policies of health addressing the prerequisites such as income, food security, housing, employment, and quality working conditions; as well as preventive and protective mechanisms (Department of Health, 2013).

The UK’s government targets and objectives for the improvement of children’s and young people’s health nationally and locally is outlined in its overarching three year Public Service Agreements (PSA). They include the following: reduction in child poverty; improvement of the health and well-being of children and young people; improvement of child safety; enhancement of numbers of children and young people on the path to success; providing health and better care for all, including the tackling of health inequalities, as well as; enhancing participation in education and sport (Department of Health, 2009).

These targets and objectives govern the development of laws, rules, and regulations developed at various levels of government (national, state or local). They determine the availability of public support services, as well as the regulation of the provision of services administered by private entities. These are integral to how communities in the entire region operate (Green and Tones, 2010). However, despite these endeavours and the Government’s statutory requirement to end child poverty by 2020 (as enshrined in the Child Poverty Act, 2010), it is predicated that by then, unfavourable policies and economic situation/constraints will push another 1 million children into poverty (Shaw, et al., 2005).

Particular focus in HIV in children is the prevention especially of Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) which is the main cause of their HIV infection. Several initiatives are undertaken, in this regard, such as the Unlinked Anonymous Surveillance program and the Voluntary confidential reporting mechanisms enhancing surveillance of this transmission route. These initiatives rely on voluntary confidential reports from paediatricians and obstetricians, as well as the use of prophylaxis (anti-retroviral therapy) to prevent transmission. These surveillance initiatives have had huge success leading to a sharp decrease of infections, with continued application of appropriate interventions having the promise of reduction of transmission rates to less than 1% (Judd et al., 2007).

Children who have a confirmed HIV seroconversion should receive infectious disease management from specialist paediatricians. They should be involved in decisions about their care as much as possible, even when their capacity for independent decision is low (Judd et al., 2007). This is catered for in the long term plans of the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families set out in the NHS Next Stage Review, The Children’s Plan and Healthy Lives, and Brighter Futures: The Strategy for Children and Young People’s Health. These reflect the Government’s ambition of enhancing child health with one of the main running themes being to refocus children’s health services as closer home as possible (Department of Health, 2009). This is achieved through managing children through ambulatory care and community based teams at home, school, and voluntary activity settings as, regarding HIV, longer term care provision continues intermittently throughout the lives of affected children.

Health providers, agencies and voluntary teams have, as a result of changes in approach towards family and community-based care, developed working partnerships to work closely with families and children in treatment-oriented services, health promotion, and community-based care, contributing to better management, knowledge of condition and requirements, as well as strict adherence to regimen and overall well-being (Green and Tones, 2010; Adams, et al., 2002). Tactful communication of information on health to children is required as they try to find logic about illness and its causes developing from incomprehension to concrete and formal logical explanations as they mature(Wall, 2010).

Health beliefs and behaviour

The beliefs that people have about health problems, perception of potential benefits accrued from action, barriers to action, and individual ability and capacity can serve to explain engagement or lack in behaviour that promotes health (Glanz et al., 2008). Several perceptions, individual characteristics, and condition can serve to influence such behaviour and to drive or impede action. These include:

Perceived seriousness or severity of health problem and its potential consequences (beliefs about the disease itself);
Perceived susceptibility or assessment of potential risks of developing health problem (Judd et al., 2007);
Perceived benefits of action or initiative;
Perceived barriers such as inconvenience, expense, adverse effects of treatment, and discomfort preventing engagement;
Individual characteristics including demographic (age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, etc.), psychosocial (personality, social class, and pressure from reference or peer groups, etc.), structural (previous contact with disease or knowledge about it)
Triggers or cues to action which prompt engagement in health-promoting behaviour such as pain and symptoms (internal), and events or information from media, other people, health provides, or the illness of other individuals (external) – the intensity is attached to the perceived threat (Glanz et al., 2008)
Self-efficacy/ability which refers to the confidence in one’s ability to alter outcomes which is often a key component in health behaviour change (Judd et al., 2007; Glanz et al., 2008).

It is noteworthy that the behaviour of children with regard to health influences and is influenced by parents, peers and others (members of the community, health service providers, among others) (Glanz et al., 2008). However, the behaviour of children, just as parenting response and style may directly affect the ability to adhere to treatment regimen affecting compliance and thereby outcome of treatment.

With a lack of understanding and underestimation of the threat of health problem leading to a lack of appreciation of its seriousness, their susceptibility, and the general causes and progress of disease, children affected by HIV may not be keen to adhere to their treatment regimen. This is especially so in HIV infection since, with proper management and care, symptoms exhibit intermittently. Adverse effects of medication which are common, the inconvenience of daily medication, and social issues such as segregation, therefore, act as barriers to their promotion of health-promoting behaviour (Judd et al., 2007).

Family demography is also a significant influence on health behaviour with regard to its composition, financial status and parental education (British Medical Association, 1999). Low-income parents and especially those impacted by chronic illness are often considered to be at greater risk for depression and psychological distress, and consequently low self-worth and control impacting their ability to cope with adverse life experiences. They are therefore often engaged in compensatory poor health habits and detrimental behaviour such as smoking, substance abuse and violence negatively impacting health promotion for them and their dependents and worsening outcomes of illness (UNICEF, 2011).

Poverty and its associated limiting factors also impacts compliance making factors such as costs of medication to be perceived as barriers with the little available resources used up on other essentials such as food and housing ignoring potential adverse consequences to health (Glanz et al., 2008).

Conclusion

As childhood disease burden shifts from acute infectious illnesses to chronic, long-term disease, the care of affected children becomes increasingly important. Early health particularly with regard to child health significantly influences future health and potential of not only the individual but the entire society. Greater focus need be trained on overall health and well-being of children, and particularly those infected and affected with HIV as it is often the case that their families are also adversely affected and likely unable, due to numerous challenges, to guarantee quality and comprehensive care.

References

Adams, L., M., Amos, and J., Munro, 2002. Promoting Health: Politics and Practice. London: Sage

Albon, D., and P., Mukherji, 2008. Food and Health in Early Childhood. London: Sage

Bartley, M., 2004. Health Inequalities. An Introduction to Theories, Concepts and Methods. Cambridge: Polity Press

Blaxter, M., 2010. Health. 2nd Edn Cambridge: Polity Press

British Medical Association, 1999. Growing up in Britain: Ensuring a Healthy Future for our Children. London: BMA Department of Health, 2013. Child Health Profiles, 2013. London: Department of Health Department of Health, 2009. Healthy Lives, Brighter Futures: The Strategy for Children and Young People’s Health. London: Department of HealthGlanz, K., K., Barbara, K., Viswanath, 2008. Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 978-0-7879-9614-7.

Graham, H., (ed.), 2009. Understanding Health Inequalities 3rd Edn. Buckingham: Open University Press

Green, J., and K., Tones, 2010. Health Promotion: Planning and Strategies 2nd ed. London: Sage

Hall, D. and D., Elliman, (eds.), 2006. Health for All Children. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jones, P., D., Moss, P., Tomlinson, and S., Welch, (eds.), 2007. Childhood: Services and provision for Children. Harlow: Pearson

Judd A., K., Doerholt, P., Tookey, et al, 2007. “Morbidity, mortality, and response to treatment by children in the United Kingdom and Ireland with perinatally -acquired HIV infection during 1996-2006: Planning for teenage and adult care.” In: Clinical and Infectious Disease. 2007 Oct 1; 45 (7):918-24; and Epub. 2007 Aug 27.

National Research Council (US); Institute of Medicine (US), 2004. Children’s Health, The Nation’s Wealth: Assessing and Improving Child Health. Washington (DC): National Academies Press

Shaw, M., G., Davey Smith, and D., Dorling, 2005. “Health inequalities and New Labour: how the promises compare with real progress.” In: British Medical Journal, 2005; 330:1016-1021 (30 April)

Silberfeld, C., 2007. “Developing as a strong and healthy child?” In: Wild, M & Mitchell, H (Eds.) Early Childhood Studies: a reflective reader. Exeter: Learning Matters

Peate, I & Whiting, L (Eds.) (2006) Caring for Children and Families Chichester: John Wiley

UNAIDS, 2008. Report on the global AIDS epidemic. UNAIDS

UNICEF, 2011. Taking evidence to impact: making a difference for vulnerable children living in a world with HIV and AIDS. New York: UNICEF

UNICEF, 2009. The State of the World’s Children. New York: UNICEF

Wall, K., 2010. Special Needs and Early Years: A practitioner’s guide. 3rd ed. London: Paul Chapman

World Health Organization, 2005. Global map of prevalence of paediatric HIV/AIDS

Categories
Free Essays

The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Family care givers in a Home Setup

Abstract

Management of a Chronic HIV patient at home involves enormous dedication, effort and is stressful. The psychological, spiritual and financial needs of the caregivers are largely ignored. Reeling under enormous financial strain, compounded by the lack of support network, African women are forced to singlehandedly manage care delivery for the HIV patient and are stretched to breaking points. Stigmatization and social isolation that arise out of HIV care giving make them even more isolated and overwhelmed. The present study clearly highlights these failures. It is very clear that financial woes are among the biggest followed by the lack of support services. The Zimbabwean government is unstable and social welfare programs are hardly functioning. Even for those support services that are maintained and run by the Government, bureaucratic difficulties have made them inaccessible and out of reach of the poor caregiver. There is clear indication that support networks do not exist or atleast they are inaccessible. A collaborative action involving government, NGOs and other health agencies is called for. Home based carers should be trained, supported and counseled and policy level initiatives must be practically implemented. Only then could the quality of life for the patients as well as for the carers improve.

Introduction

HIV/AIDS is one of the most pandemic diseases in the world with an estimated 34 million people infected with the HIV virus. (amfAR, 2012) Zimbabwe, in particular, has been worst hit by the HIV epidemic with more than 27% of the adult population diagnosed with HIV in 1997. Currently though, the prevalence rates have reduced significantly to 14% of the adult population (National AIDS Council, 2012). However, this decline is largely attributed to the significant number of deaths of people with HIV. Persistent political turmoil and the resultant economic decline have further contributed to the literal collapse of the Zimbabwean health care system. The failure of the Public health care system has cast the major burden of health care provision to private agencies, NGOs and Home based care has become the indispensible and only feasible model under the prevailing circumstances. Statistics suggest that of the 35,000 children in the country that needed ‘Antiretroviral Therapy’ (ART) only 17,000 have had access to the drugs (UNICEF, 2009). Though the availability of ART has vastly improved from just 15% in 2007 to around 80% by 2010, (National AIDS Council, 2011) there is still a huge unmet demand. Zimbabwean government’s opposing attitude towards NGOs and its accusations about the NGO funds being used for anti governmental activities has further limited the already strained financial aid flowing into the country for AIDS care. Amidst these tiring circumstances, family based care giving has become the central strategy for the national HIV/AIDS management programs. This paper attempts to study the impact of HIV/AIDS care delivered in the family based setting and how such care provision affects the care giver. In particular, this paper strives to highlight the issues such as the psychosocial impact on caregivers and using the caregiver’s views assesses their coping and support mechanisms.

Home Based Care

A brief outlook into what constitutes home based care is appropriate before we proceed further. The World Health Organization defines home based care as “ a programme that through regular visits, offers health care services to support the care process in the home environment of the person with HIV infection. Home visits may be the only service provided or be part of an integrated programme which offers the patient and his/her family services in the home, hospital and community”. Ministry of Health and Child Welfare,(2004). From the definition it is clear that home based care is considered a holistic care solution that addresses the needs of both the care receiver as well as the care giver. This understanding is crucial for the successful implementation of the home based care delivery model.

Literature Review

Family based care provision is proving to be the important model in the delivery of care to chronic illnesses such as AIDS. Particularly in Zimbabwe, where decades of political and economic turmoil have weakened the health care system, the role of family based care provision could not be more emphasized. The political friction between the West and the Mugabe government, and the accusations about the political motives of the NGO operations in the country, led to a sharp decline in the active healthcare interventions in the country. NGO funding to Zimbabwe for its healthcare programmes reached a record low in 2006. During this year, the average aid money for HIV care per person in Zimbabwe was limited to $ 4 which when compared to the average aid money allotted per person in Zambia ($184) is a meager amount (Matimba, 2010). However, since 2008, the aid to Zimbabwe is again on the rise with the USAID and DFID being the two key contributors. The USAID contributed 26.4 million in 2008 while the DFID pledged in 2010 to contribute $40 million over a five year period. Despite this the total aid money that Zimbabwe received for its HIV healthcare operations during this period is just one tenth of the aid money received by neighboring Zambia and one fourth that of the aid amount received by Namibia in the corresponding periods (AVERT, 2012). These statistics project the grim scenario from the financial standpoint in delivering HIV care in Zimbabwe where HIV has assumed endemic proportions.

HIV being a chronic condition, patients have to undergo continuous care for a protracted period of time and the hospital setting cannot handle the enormous demand. Statistics suggest that in Zimbabwe roughly 70% of all hospital admissions are connected to HIV care. Statistics also suggest that even a 5% increase in the number of HIV patients would result in a 25% increased demand for hospital beds. The figures indicate that hospitals, as care provision centers, for a country such as Zimbabwe where there is a swelling HIV population, is a highly unviable model and therefore community and home based care provision assume great significance. The policy stance of the Zimbabwean government to promote home based care provision could be understood based on these ground realities. The Zimbabwean government has been actively promoting care giver training by employing community nurses as trainers for these family care givers. With funding limitations, even the training and support provided by the community nurses to the family care givers has been affected making them vulnerable to the enormous pressure of managing the care provision all by themselves (Matimba, 2010).

National Community Home-Based Care Standards (2004)

The enormity of the HIV problem and the limited nature of the government health care resources forced the home care system of care delivery in Zimbabwe. However, the quality of life of the HIV infected patient depends a lot on quality of the home care givers. In most cases these home based care providers have absolutely no training at all and even lack the knowledge to protect themselves from accidental exposure to HIV infection. To improve the quality of home based care delivery, support services must also be improved. With this in view the government of Zimbabwe set up the ‘National Community Home-Based Care Standards’ in 2004 that included the following important features

Care and Support for patients and Family
Team Service Provision
Governance and Management
Training , information and Education
Monitoring and evaluation

The main objective of establishing the standards for home based care delivery is to change home care from being perceived as a third rate care provision by improving its overall quality. It should be noted that Home care is not just about the patients but also about the care giver. The national standards for Home care therefore lay this stress on providing holistic care support through an established standard. The process involves training, education, monitoring and continuous evaluation. The National Community Home-Based Care Standards (2004) neatly defines its purpose as “Provision of a support system through the development of strong partnerships with the community, family and patient, home-based caregivers, and the health system, thus assuring patients an acceptable quality of life until death”. (Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 2004). The definition also considers the aspects of support provided for the carer and other family members including ” emotional, spiritual and other psychosocial support, bereavement counseling, and other appropriate assistance that meets their special needs” (Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 2004).

Psychosocial Impact of Caregiving

Literature is abound with studies that analyze the impact of care giving for a HIV patient, on the care-giver. Almost all of these studies indicate that care giving results in enormous psycho social impact on the provider. Typically, the family care giver maybe overcome with emotions ranging from , depression, anxiety, fear, anger , helplessness along with the overwhelming financial burden that is involved with HIV care provision. Lindsey et al., (2003) explored the effects of care giving on older and younger women in Botswana who were caring for family members with chronic HIV. The authors of the study identified that older women, in particular, were overwhelmed with the physical and mental demands of care giving. These women had to manage demanding tasks such as caring for the patient with frequent episodes of vomiting, incontinence and confusion. Care giving family women had to do all this along with their household chores and this creates enormous physical hardships not to mention the emotional drain. Furthermore, in many cases, care providing women are subjected to economic strains when the productive member of their family is affected by HIV (Lindsey et al., 2003).

Another study by Ssengonzi (2007) explored the impact of care giving on Ugandan older women. The results of this study also chimed in with the findings of the previous study with the elderly Ugandan women reporting that care giving left them financially affected due to three main reasons

The ill relatives and the consequent loss of family income
the negative effect of care giving on the employment opportunities of the care provider
Expenses incurred on procuring medicine for the patient under their care

The care giving women also expressed social isolation as a result of their inability to participate in the usual social activities (Ssengonzi,2007).

One study by Thomas F (2006) that assessed the impact of home based care giving for HIV patients in Namibia again reported that financial constraints due to care giving is a serious problem. This study collected information from both the patient as well as the care giver in the form of solicited diaries. The study found that the inability to provide for family created severe emotional strain for the care giver. Significantly, the study also reported that the quality of care provision is affected over time when the worsening financial situation in the household coupled with the lack of recovery of the patient lead to escalating tensions and emotional upheavals in the house (Thomas F (2006).

One urban study conducted in Kinshasa, the capital of the republic of Congo, involved self reported health and emotional status of 80 spouses and caregivers of HIV infected men in the region. What surprised the researchers was that despite this being an urban study with better hospitals and home care support networks, around 94% of the women caregivers expressed that care-giving was very difficult for them and 99% reported that it affected their social lives. Importantly, 90% of these women care givers stated that they were stigmatized by friends and their husband’s employers. This study clearly highlights that the stigma of AIDS care could further contribute to the emotional strain of HIV care. As a revealing study on the psychosocial impact of care giving, this research found that 48% of these care providing women were so unhappy with their circumstances that they lost interest in their life and expressed the lack of interest and energy to continue. Furthermore, 94% of these women had some form of physical ailment including frequent headaches, fatigue, body pain, lack of appetite, anorexia, etc (Kipp et al., 2006).

Studies done elsewhere in the developed countries also reflect similar feelings from the care givers. For instance one earlier study by Flaskerud & Tabora (1998) based on low income female care givers in California who provided care for heterosexual and homosexual HIV patients attested to the findings from the African studies. These women expressed the same concerns as the previously listed studies including depression due to poor functional outcome of the patient, loneliness due to uncooperative and unsupportive friends and relatives, etc. Around 59% of the care giving women also reported that their physical health was affected considerably due to the prolonged period of care giving. Worn out by their care-giving duties these women were moody and even expressed their anger at the patients as their irresponsible behavior put them in this place. Last but not the least, the women subjects of this study welcomed being interviewed for the study as it provided an emotional vent for them to lay out their feelings which they could not so far share with anyone due to the absence of an appropriate support network. (Flaskerud & Tabora, 1998).

One recent South African study by Hlabyago et al. (2009) focused on one of the important problems faced by care givers of terminally ill HIV/AIDS patients. This problem is the caring for the orphaned children of the parents who succumbed to HIV. As per 2010 data, more than a third of the 50 million or more orphaned children in Sub Saharan Africa lost either one or both their parents to HIV. Given the huge scale of the problem, this study by Hlabyago assumes great significance in terms of policy formulations and also with respect to assessing the impact on family caregivers. The researchers of this study employed one on one interview technique which sought answers to the following important question from the care givers – “Would you please tell me your experiences as a family caregiver concerning your care of the orphans?” (Hlabyago et al., 2009). The Interviews were conducted for nine subjects who were home caregivers recruited from the Hoekfontein Clinic in South Africa. The demographic details of the subjects were noted down. Six out of the 9 (63%) care givers were grand mothers, 2 of them were aunties and one of them sister to the orphaned children. Thematic analysis of the data resulted in the observations that are listed in the following table.

As could be inferred from the above results table, financial constrain is a major problem for care givers affecting 77% (7 out of 9) of the study subjects. However, one concern that is uniformly expressed by all the care givers involved in the study was that of the existence of Bureaucratic difficulties and the lack of social support services. Though the government has programs to support orphans in the form of orphan grants, accessibility problems and processing delays and the lack of proactive approach within the social works departments hinder the outreach of such programs to the people. For instance, one of the caregiver, who was the grand mother of the orphaned child, expressed her helplessness stating, “I got the heart to help this child by applying for this orphan grant. I am still waiting for the money because it is not yet released. I sent the documents a long time ago. The social worker has since told me that they will send someone at home and I am still waiting. I wish that money can come so that I can save some for him (the orphan) because I am old – anytime I can die, you see”. (Hlabyago et al., 2009).

The study also revealed that lack of support from family members is a pressing issue. One of the care giver subjects who were interviewed for the study reported that she received little support from her husband in taking care of the orphaned Children. “The day Johanna died he came and found me struggling with her, he came into the room and walked out, and when he came back again the child was already dead” (Hlabyago et al., 2009). Some of the care givers expressed concern about the rebellious attitude of the orphaned kids while some of them expressed concerns about the growing family conflicts due to the care giving. “I decided to take him in and care for him. I think that she (the orphan’s biological grandmother) is thinking that because I am receiving this child’s orphan grant, she is not sending anything for this child who is basically her responsibility” (Hlabyago et al., 2009). The literature reviewed so far clearly highlighted that caregiving for HIV patients could be a stressful event and debilitate the care giver in the absence of suitable support mechanisms.

Methodology

The following sections will revolve around a questionnaire based primary study in which 15 subjects who were care providers for HIV patients in Zimbabwe were provided with 6 questions with various choices and their answers analyzed for themes. The choice of questionnaire was due to its informal nature and usefulness in gaining valuable data. The use of open ended questions helps in ascertaining more information from the subject whenever appropriate. Though initially I had sent my questionnaires to 15 recipients only 10 of them returned the completed information. All the 10 subjects were properly apprised of the nature of the study. Though the respondents knew that the study was purely for academic purposes they were delighted in providing the valuable information for the study. All the subjects were assured of the confidentiality of their responses and that their responses would be used purely for academic knowledge improvement purposes. Thematic analysis was employed to discern useful themes and patterns about the various aspects of caregiving.

Results

The data from the questionnaires answered by the 10 subjects who participated in the study were analyzed to identify the emergent themes. In all, six questions with varied responses to each question were provided to the subjects. These questions were particularly relevant to understanding the wide impact that care giving has on the home based care providers. The results revealed some of the important psychosocial aspects of caregiving. The repetitive themes that were identified from the data attested to the key findings reported in the literature review early in this paper. These common themes suggest the need for urgent action.

Care giving challenges

The data from the questionnaires revealed some demographic profile about the subjects. Most of the carergivers in the study were relatives of the HIV Patient and on an average care provision period lasted between 2 and 3 years. 80% of the caregivers were elderly females. Economic difficulties dominated the challenges that were reported by the caregivers with almost 90% of the subjects reporting financial constrains as a serious issue involved in prolonged caregiving for the HIV patient. As discussed earlier in the paper this may stem from loss of income if the patient was a productive member of the family. Caregivers are also constrained by the fact that they could not be gainfully employed when they are tied down with caring for the patient.

One other important aspect pertaining to caregiving at home was the lack of adequate transport services. 80% of the caregivers opined that they find transporting the patient to the hospital during times of emergency a huge problem as the Ambulance services are not prompt. Subjects also complained that the ambulance services charge them for the fuel costs.Most of the subjects stated that they took the responsibility of caregiving out of love and compassion to the patients. When asked about the support services that could have helped them a lot with their care giving almost all the subjects mentioned transportation as an important feature. 30% of the subjects felt that providing food care for the patients and opportunities for part time employment for themselves would have been greatly helpful. 40% of the caregivers also expressed their concern that the scarcity of water in rural Zimbabwe added more problems to them as they could not walk several kilometers to fetch water leaving their sick patients at home. This is a very relevant issue as Zimbabwe is one of the African countries that is hard hit by water crisis, and more often than not, functional borewells that are the only nearby sources of water would be several kilometers away. There were also concerns about the medication supply with 40% of the caregivers complaining about shortage and availability of ‘Anti retroviral Drugs’ at the local dispensary. The continuous availability of ART is critical for HIV patients in order to prolong their life.

It was also interesting and informative to note down that 7 out of the 10 subjects felt that this small questionnaire project, though it was done for educational purposes, provided them with an opportunity to discuss the problems involved in care giving. The seven care providers felt that the questionnaire provided them an emotional purge as they hsd not had a chance to discuss their difficulties with anyone else. They all felt that there was a complete lack of support mechanisms available for carers and that this made them feel helpless and emotionally dissipated time to time.

Conclusion

Caregivers undergo enormous stress during the protracted period of care giving that is involved in managing a chronic HIV patient. Just as care givers provide so much of love, effort and care to the patients they look after, their needs should also be looked after. The psychological, spiritual and financial support that caregivers require are however largely unfulfilled. Especially when there is political and economical turmoil in a country, such as that seen in Zimbabwe, the needs of the home based care provider is more likely to be ignored.

As the numerous studies that were discussed in the paper reported care givers are mostly women and predominantly elderly women. Reeling under enormous financial strain, compounded by the lack of support network, African women are forced to singlehandedly manage care delivery for the HIV patient and are stretched to breaking points. Stigmatization and social isolation that arise out of HIV care giving make them even more isolated and overwhelmed.

The present study based on the information gathered from caregivers in Zimbabwe clearly highlights the plight of the caregivers. It is very clear that financial woes are among the most important to the caregiver, followed by the lack of support services. Zimbabwean government is unstable and social welfare programs are hardly functioning. Even for those support services that are maintained and run by the Government, bureaucratic difficulties have made them inaccessible and out of reach of the poor caregiver. Counseling support services for caregivers are distinctly lacking. Based on the opinion gathered from the study and other relevant literature, it is clear that holistic care as advocated in the National Community Home-Based Care Standards (2004) is still far from reality. There is clear indication that support networks do not exist or are inaccessible. Based on these findings this paper concludes that family based care givers are struggling without access to support services. A collaborative action involving government, NGOs and other health agencies is required to correct the defects. Home based carers should be trained, supported and counseled, and policy level initiative must be practically implemented. Only then could the quality of life for the patients as well as for the carers improve.

Bibliography

AVERT, (2012), HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe, viewed Jan 1st 2012,

< http://www.avert.org/aids-zimbabwe.htm#contentTable5>

amfAR, (2012), Statistics Worldwide, viewed January 1st 2012

Hlabyago KE & Ogunbanjo GA (2009), The experiences of family care givers concerning their care of HIV/AIDS Orphans, SA FAM PRACT Vol 51, no 6 pg 506-511.

Kipp W, Matakula Nkosi T, Laing L, Jhangri GS, (2006), Care burden and self-reported health status of informal women caregivers of HIV/AIDS patients in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. AIDS Care, Oct; 18(7):694-7

Lindsey E, Hirschfelf M, Tlou S, Ncube E. (2003), Home based care in Botswana: experiences of older women and young girls. Health Care for Women International; 24: 486-501

Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, (2004), National Community Home based Care Standards, viewed Jan 1st 2012,

< http://www.jsieurope.org/docs/national_community_hbc_standard.pdf>

Natsayi Matinba, (2010), The Psycho Social impact of Care-Giving on the Family Care-Givers of Chronically ill AIDS/HIV Patients in Home based Care. Research Report, University of Witwatersrand, SA.

National AIDS Council, (2011), UNAIDS highlights Zimbabwes progress in response to AIDS, viewed January 1st 2012,

< http://www.nac.org.zw/news/unaids-highlights-zimbabwe%E2%80%99s-progress-responding-aids-0>

Ssengonzi R. J. (2007), The plight of older persons as caregivers to people infected/affected by HIV/AIDS: evidence from Uganda. J Cross Cult Gerontol; 22: 339-353

Thomas F. (2006), Stigma, fatigue and social breakdown: Exploring the impacts of HIV/AIDS on patient and carer well-being in the Caprivi Region, Namibia. Social Science and Medicine 63: 3174-3187

UNICEF, (2009), HIV and AIDS Issues, viewed January 1st 2012,

< http://www.unicef.org/zimbabwe/hiv_aids.html>

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Evaluating the ethos and challenges facing family business organizations: The case of Cengiz Holding

Company overview

Cengiz Holding is a family owned, leading multinational company with its headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey. Ever since its inception in 1980, the company has operated under the chairmanship of Mr. Mehmet Cengiz (Cengiz, 2012). Since its incorporation, the company has grown to become one of the leading investment companies in Turkey. Its main investments are in finance tourism, mining and energy sectors and are spread over twelve organizations. The company’s largest investment is in the construction industry. Most of its construction projects include airports, subways, motorways, dams, pipelines, bridges, railways, tunnels and telecommunication infrastructures alongside tourism abodes and amenities (Cengiz, 2012). In ddition to these, Cengiz Holding has recently diversified into insurance and aviation, yielding an effectual success within a very short time.

Abstract

The following paper seeks to evaluate the ethos and challenges facing family business organisations with Cengiz Holding as the company of study. The study critically analyses the scope and significance of family owned businesses highlighting both the advantages and disadvantages related to it. Further, the study presents the challenges faced by Cengiz Holdings in relation to family business organisations. In conclusion, recommendations are provided as to what Cengiz Holdings needs to do to help curb the escalating problems associated with family owned businesses.

The scope and significance of family business

In most companies, (Cengiz Holdings for example), family owned businesses are born out of the desire and autonomy for a family’s financial independence. For the last two decades, the aspect of family businesses has being subject of research and development with continued support from countries governments. The current developments can be attributed to an increased research and study on the subject, changes in policies and developments in cooperation networks (Kelin et al, 1997). The scope of family business has recently gained a lot of attention not only in the European Union but globally.

Family business account for over 70% of all business in the European Union Block creating an employment level of over 40% of the population leading to an increase on its benefits in the social economic development of countries economies. This has led the countries governments to form policies to foster the growth of family run business. An example of these policies includes the implementation of the 2008 European Council’s Small Business Act (kosgeb, 2012). This act was meant for European nations to help create viable environments for the development of family owned businesses (Quentin, 2010). The Competition and Innovation framework Programme (CIP) for 2007-2013 recognizes Cengiz Holding as a key example of successful family owned business despite its relenting woes and associated lawsuits.

Advantages of family businesses

Currently, it is estimate that family owned businesses contribute up to 70% of the every county’s Gross Domestic Product. These constitute a basis for significant advantage in terms of growth and development of the host country. These advantages include:

Common values among family members: Just like in most family run businesses, the Cengiz’s seem to possess similar ethos and beliefs on how the business should be conducted. This has helped in the solidification in the relationship among the family members creating strong business acumen amongst them.

Strong business commitment: The Cengiz’s Family members are known to commit a lot of time and resources for the development of the business than non-family members.

A sense of loyalty: It is evident that the Cengiz’s Family members are loyal to their own business. This loyalty has created a bond between them and the business fostering continued loyalty to the business and on to one another, creating a technique for endurance and determination for success at all costs. This can be proven at the 2009 Nokia and Motorola Lawsuits at which both family members boycotted the hearing process. This signified unity among family members.

Decreased operational costs: This is mainly realized through reduced labor requirements as Cengiz’s Family members constitute the largest number of employees of this business empire. The Cengiz’s Family members are also known to have made huge financial sacrifices towards the development of the company, reducing the cost of acquiring funds from elsewhere. i.e. loan costs and interests.

Creation of independence: being in a family business means that decisions are made by family members at their own interests. This limits external pressure in the business and all the profits realized are streamed to the business owners (Quentin, 2010).

Disadvantages of family businesses

There are certain disadvantages associated with family owned businesses. They include but are not limited to:

Lack of interest: Not all members of the family are born with a strong business sense. Sluggish family members might lead to the demise of the business.

Unfair rewarding system; Family members are likely to accept lower wages than non family members. This can limit financial incomes for the family members.

Lack of professionalism: Family owned businesses are unlikely to attract unprofessionalism from the family members as they are reluctant to employ professionals from the outside. This is the case in most of the major investments of Cengiz Holdings as the top management is mostly constituted of family members.

Financial constraints: Mostly, family businesses are faced with financial constraints in the case where family members are not in a position to raise the desired amount of cash for the development of the business.

Challenges faced by Cengiz Holding as a family business

Emotions from family members: Emotional outbursts from family members are known to affect non-family members who are employees of the institution. In return, this may lead to the formation of warring camps in the institution just like the case in the Cengiz holdings Business or family; which is which?: This is a major problem realized in Cengiz Holding just like any other family owned business entity. This can be affiliated to emotional attachment among family members in managerial positions. Business scholars and researchers have being engaged in debates to consider the involvement of women in the management of family owned business citing their leniency towards family than business which is likely to ruin their concentration in the affairs of the business (Kosgeb, 2012).

Succession planning: This is another key challenge realized in family businesses. As generations pass on, different family members have different opinions as to who should the management of the business be left to.

Unprofessionalism amongst family members: Family run businesses are usually faced by the dilemma in retaining unprofessional members of the family in the business. The Cengiz holdings family business has been faced with a range of law suits most of which are attributed to various members of the family. The company has faced cases of fraud, libel and even racketeering both termed to have been steered by members of the family. Also, the chairman, Mr. Mehmet Cengiz has being blamed for using his strong business empire to bolster his political activities (Hurriyet Daily News, 2012).

Organization structure: The lack of a well defined organizational culture has depleted the Human Resources department in the institution of most of its functions i.e. Despite various misdeeds, lawsuits and criticisms on the company’s chairman, he still retains the top seat. The 2009 Nokia and Motorola lawsuit against the company cost the company an enormous amount of money raising issues of management competence (Quentin, 2010).

Huge compensation plans for family members: Family members affiliated to the company are known to receive larger wages and salaries compared with other management professionals in the company. The company also suffers from financial constraints brought about by the misdeeds from its chairman and family members. During the 2009 Nokia and Motorola lawsuit, family members were issued with an arrest warrant should they set their foot in US soil. The chairman uses allowances from the company to cover his political asylums like the 2008 France asylum.

Conclusions and recommendations

The case of Cengiz Holding is one among many cases relating to family owned business. Having a business being operated by family member can either break or make the business. Cengiz Holding has been faced with various criticisms from the public and government citing misconducts among family members. According to the above findings, it is true to state that the unrelenting woes at Cengiz Holding can only come to an end if only the company could be left to operate without the participation of family members in its activities (Kosgeb, 2012). However, it is important to consider the fact that the business is highly advantaged in having a hand in knowledge on what is best for the company, a feature that is mostly missing in partnership and corporation businesses. Another dimension of a demeaning factor affecting the business is in social issues.

References

Cengiz Holding. 2012. Available on-line from

Cuhadar, T. and Ibrahim, H. (2010). Mission statement in institutional family business: Istanbul:

Balikesir University UP

Hurriyet Daily News. 2012. Forbes announces 100 richest Turks. Available online from <

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/finance/11117628.asp>. {Retrieved on 23rd November, 2012}

Kosgeb.(2012). Family Business: Approaches in European Union. Available

on-line from < http://www.kosgeb.gov.tr/pages/ui/Baskanligimiz.aspx?ref=78> {retrieved on 23rd November, 2012}

Kelin, E. G. etal. 1997.Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business

London: Harvard Business Review Press

Randel, S. and Craig, E. 2001. Strategic Planning for the Family Business: Parallel Planning to

Unite the Family and Business Family Business Publication. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Quentin, J. 2010. Keep the Family Baggage Out of the Family Business: Avoiding the Seven

Deadly Sins That Destroy Family Businesses. London: Touchstone Publishers

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Free Essays

The impact of family and neighbourhood on the academic achievement among African American teenagers

1.0 Introduction

Performance in school has for many years been closely attributed to an individual’s life chances. As the need for an individual to undergo advanced level of training to be able to sustain basic living become a necessity, the consequence of difficulty in schooling have become imperative (Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000). However, individuals do not attend schools in a vacuum as they come from families, neighbourhoods, and various life events that generally impact on their performance in one way, or another.

Currently, almost half of the school going teenagers are coloured. Over 70 percent of residents in large cities in the United States are also coloured (Williams et al., 2002). Based on this statistics it is important to understand the specific aspects of academic development of coloured people in the United States.According to ecological theory, the environment has a great influence on the development of adolescents (Steinberg, 2001; Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002). As much as the adolescents make their own behavioural choices, societal structures and interpersonal relationships are viewed as imperative aspects that shape the adolescent choices (Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000). Adolescents growing up in the 21st century look beyond their parents and siblings for developmental support. Therefore, the concept of neighbourhood comes in when analysing the development of adolescents. The neighbourhood concept in this context refers to both home and school neighbourhood and how it interacts with the teenager.

2.0 Problem Definition

The issue of educational achievement gap has been documented by various studies (Gutman et al., 2002; Rankin & Quane, 2002). Unfortunately, most of these studies indicate that African American learners have the lowest educational standards in the United States (Moore & Chase?Lansdale, 2001). Empirical evidences indicate that in comparison to their white counterparts, the performance of African American children is below the normal standards (Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000). Many African American learners come from families that are not only economically unstable but also socially underserved. Several reasons have been linked to the poor academic performance of African American teenagers which eventually results to high rates of school dropout. Common issues that these teenagers face include racism, poverty, and violence (Brody et al., 2001). These issues affect their emotional and academic performance. Due to their poverty ridden home settings and surrounding, African American teenagers fail to establish a link between academic excellence and better adult life (Moore & Chase?Lansdale, 2001). The teenagers are also aware of the stereotypic approach linked to their race which affects their self-concept and ultimately educational performance (Gutman et al., 2002).

Consequently, it is important to establish family and neighbourhood factors and how they impact on the academic performance of African American teenagers. This position is vital in the context that the current understanding on the issue is limited and does not consider the modern-day neighbourhood concept, where the United States has embraced mixed racial neighbourhood settings in most places where African Americans reside. More so, most African Americans live in big cities, which expose them to multiracial settings that may affect academic performance of the teenagers. Specifically, it is important to analyse how parents, peers, close friends, classmates, and teachers influence the performance of the African American teenagers.

3.0 Research Aim and Objectives

To fully explore this research issue, the following objectives will guide this study:

To investigate the links between family settings and academic achievement of the African American teenagers
To examine how school and home neighbourhoods influences academic achievement among African American adolescents
To devise a way forward regarding family and neighbourhood in managing the poor academic performance among African American teenagers
4.0 Literature Review

Various factors have been linked to poor academic performance among students. A study by Leventhal and Brooks-Gunn, (2000) identified variables within a culture, a family, and the environment to greatly influence the academic achievement of learners as compared to the type of an educational program. The roles of social and individual support in education are influential in the academic achievement outcomes. The school environment communicates to the learners on how the school perceives them (Brody et al., 2001). A school that is known to promote collegiality, respect and values has students that are positively inclined to better performance (Gutman et al., 2002). African American learners record high levels of school drop-outs due to the possibility that the school environment does not support their needs. Consequently, the school setting as a learner’s neighbourhood influences the academic achievement of the learners (Rankin & Quane, 2002).

Studies have also suggested the existence of other various factors that influence the academic achievement of the learners other than the school curriculum (Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002). It is essential to understand how these other factors affect the African American adolescent especially those that are facing academic hurdles. Peers have been identified to determine the teenagers’ deposition towards their learning institutions (Brody et al., 2001). The fact that African Americans generally have a problem with academic performance the role of peers may in most cases be negative as far as academic performance is concerned. For instance, studies have shown that the mere lack of approval from peers is substantive enough to negatively influence the academic achievement of the adolescents (Williams et al., 2002).

Furthermore, numerous studies identify parenting as a central player in academic performance of teenagers (Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000; Gutman et al., 2002). Parents that have supportive association with their teenagers tend to promote a sense of autonomy among the teenagers which allows the teenagers to not only explore their environment but also seek parental emotional support (Steinberg, 2001). Studies have also shown that the role of parent in defining the emotional and academic performance of the teenagers is greater among the minorities in the United States (Moore & Chase?Lansdale, 2001).

Another issue that was identified in the literature review as an influential factor for academic permanence among teenagers was the social support. Specifically, social support was closely linked to school retention levels for adolescents (Brody et al., 2001). Specifically four social factors are known to influence the academic performance of African American teenagers, namely neighbourhood, peers, parents, and the school (Williams et al., 2002).

This clearly indicates that there is a link between the research issues and the academic performance of African American teenagers. This study will try to provide an in-depth analysis of existing information on the research issue in an attempt to establish a gap of knowledge that the study will attempt to seek. Specifically current literature links family and neighbourhood to performance, but it does not provide the exact family and neighbourhood factors that have resulted to poor academic achievement among African American this will be the area of interest for this study. To be able to establish a comprehensive investigation into the research issue, it will be important to provide an overview of the general research plan that will be adopted

5.0 Research Plan
6.0 General methodology

To conduct the research successfully, it is vital to develop and abide by a working methodology to ensure the outcomes are worthwhile (Creswell, 2003). This research is an analytic in nature as it will involve the analysis of the existing situation of academic performance of African American teenagers relative to their homes as well as neighbourhoods. This will ultimately allow the investigator to draw conclusions based on these analyses pertaining to how much homes and neighbourhoods influence the academic performance of teenage African Americans. The research methodology that will be used will blend quantitative and qualitative research methods as summarized below:

Literature Review

The literature review will offer an overview of the research topic at hand using data collected from articles, journals and books. A literature review will be important in the comprehension of the background of the topic (Creswell, 2003). It will also serve as a base in aiding the methods employed in the research. Specifically, this will involve examining articles, books and any other literature that has already been published on the research issue

Surveys

Since the research issue involves analysing the public opinions, which is vast, survey is an appropriate method for collecting quantitative data (Creswell, 2003). This will be done through creating questionnaires. The questionnaires will then be used for collecting numerical data from the participants. The questionnaire will also contain a section that will be used for the collection of demographic data from the participants.

Interviews

To further enhance the effectiveness of the analysis, interviews of a selected few people will be conducted in order to provide qualitative data for analysis. Interviews, unlike surveys require a lot of time but provide more in depth data founded on opinions and hence assist in uncovering specific information relevant to the research issue (Creswell, 2003). Semi structured interviews will be conducted to collective subjective views of the study participants on the research issue.

A combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods will be necessary to provide enough data needed for the analysis to ensure the study arrives at a well informed conclusion. Consequently, combining all the data uncovered through the above methods, a data analysis will follow. This will be implemented through vigilant assessment of qualitative and quantitative data in order to reach an acceptable conclusion. Specifically, the findings from the qualitative part of the study will be used to enrich the quantitative findings (Creswell, 2003)

6.1 Research Questions

The above research methodology will be used in providing responses to the following research questions:

What are the links between family settings and academic achievement of the African American teenagers
How does school and home neighbourhoods influences academic achievement among African American adolescents
What is the way forward regarding family and neighbourhood in managing the poor academic performance among African American teenagers
7.0 Research Study Stages and Time Lines
References

Brody, G. H., Conger, R., Gibbons, F. X., Ge, X., McBride Murry, V., Gerrard, M., & Simons, R. L. (2001). The influence of neighbourhood disadvantage, collective socialization, and parenting on African American children’s affiliation with deviant peers. Child development, 72(4), 1231-1246.

Creswell, J. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications

Gutman, L. M., Sameroff, A. J., & Eccles, J. S. (2002). The academic achievement of African American students during early adolescence: An examination of multiple risk, promotive, and protective factors. American journal of community psychology, 30(3), 367-399.

Ingoldsby, E. M., & Shaw, D. S. (2002). Neighborhood contextual factors and early-starting antisocial pathways. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 5(1), 21-55.

Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2000). The neighbourhoods they live in: the effects of neighbourhood residence on child and adolescent outcomes. Psychological bulletin, 126(2), 309.

Moore, M. R., & Chase?Lansdale, P. L. (2001). Sexual intercourse and pregnancy among African American girls in high?poverty neighbourhoods: The role of family and perceived community environment. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63(4), 1146-1157.

Rankin, B. H., & Quane, J. M. (2002). Social contexts and urban adolescent outcomes: The interrelated effects of neighbourhoods, families, and peers on African-American youth. Social Problems, 49(1), 79-100.

Steinberg, L. (2001). We know some things: Parent–adolescent relationships in retrospect and prospect. Journal of research on adolescence, 11(1), 1-19.

Williams, T. R., Davis, L. E., Saunders, J., & Williams, J. H. (2002). Friends, family, and neighbourhood understanding academic outcomes of African American youth. Urban Education, 37(3), 408-431.

Categories
Free Essays

Give a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies.

Abstract

Attempts to rebalance the gender inequality that exists in society have been made for many years, yet the extent to which these have worked is unclear. Various social policies have been implemented by welfare state to protect women against inequality, though different ideas generally exist as to what is acceptable within society. Such ideas have changed considerably over time and women are no longer being discriminated against as they once were, yet gender bias is still prevalent. It remains to be seen whether this will ever be completely eradicated as different countries will continue to perceive gender inequality in a different manner. The social policies, relating to gender equality, of two countries will be examined in this study to in order to consider the extent to which these have proven effective in combating discrimination.

Introduction

An ideology is a set of ideas as to how society should behave and generally forms the basis of economic and political theory. Ideologies have usually been created by those who dominant society and are usually formed as a result of common interests. It cannot be said that ideology is reflective of the whole of society and instead there exists differing views and opinions as to what an ‘ideal’ world is (Eagleton, 1991: 3). However, as expressed by Kania (1988: 1) a large amount of the existing literature in this area that is devoted to Marxist thought highlights the “diversity of opinion, values and policy advocated by persons associated with that label”. Despite these differences, ideology has been considered discriminatory in nature as those who dominate it are often biased. This was recognised by Curra who pointed out that ideology only “serves the interests of one segment of a society more than all other segments” (2000: 6). It therefore seems likely in light of this assertion that one segment of society will benefit from ideology, whilst other segments will not. This is largely reflected in gender equality and family policies as many still consider the so-called nuclear family to be the norm in contemporary society (Sudha, 2000: 184). However, it cannot be said that the nuclear family does actually reflect the majority in society and so the associated ideology could be seen as outmoded (Saggers and Sims, 2009: 173). This study will compare the social policies of France and Germany in the field of gender equality and family policies in order to demonstrate the extent to which gender equality is being attained. The applicability gender equality and family policy has in France and Germany to functionalism and path dependency will also be considered.

Gender Equality and Family Policy

Gender inequality was first brought to the public’s attention in 1970 when the feminist movement highlighted the struggles women were being subjected to as a natural part of their everyday life (Meer 2013: 4). This was followed by the suffrage movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, whereby suffragettes pioneered for the right for women to vote (Foghlam Alba, 2012: 1). During this period, certain groups of society viewed males as being the breadwinners, whilst women were considered the homemakers. Because of this conception, a lack of financial support was provided to women by the welfare state as it was believed that women could rely on the income of their husbands (Herring: 2007; p. 262). Women were far less likely to leave their husbands as a result of this, which could be one of the main reasons why there has been a huge increase in the divorce in recent years (Benson, 2013: 1). It was apparent by many that social policy changes were needed to rectify this imbalance and thus provide women with better protection against inequality (United Nations, 2013: 1). Some feminists believed that ideology was the cause of such inequality and that unless all nation states adopt effective gender equality social policies, women will continue to be treated unfavourably in society (George and Wilding: 1985; p. 122). Some feminists argue that unless equality within family structures is addressed, women will never be completely free regardless as to what social policies’ have been implemented by the welfare state (Craven, 2005: 3). This was recognised by Fraser who was of the view that the policies of existing welfare states are based on assumptions about gender that are “increasingly out of phase with many people’s lives and self-understandings” (1994: 591).

It cannot be said that women are being provided with sufficient protection within society, yet gender inequality is still one of the most important principles that is contained in the human rights law of the European Union (EU). The EU continues to make progress in the tackling of gender discrimination, as exemplified by Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights, though it cannot be said that all nation states adopt the same approach as the EU. Consequently, unless gender equality is being instilled into the frameworks of all welfare states, gender discrimination will be likely to remain. Regardless of the EU’s gender equality policies, nonetheless, women continue to be treated less favourably than men and as it has been recognised by Radacic; that despite the pronouncements of gender discrimination, inequality of still persists (2008: 841). It cannot be said that EU policy has had much of an effect in establishing complete equality between the genders, though it is questionable whether it ever will (Mill and Okin, 1988: 1). Hence, it has been pointed out that although the EU has paved the way for more equal gender rights in areas such as marriage and employment, inequality persists when it comes to domestic violence, pay and the division of labour (Pascall, 2000: 240). It seems as though the EU has made great attempts towards the attainment of gender equality, yet these have not proven sufficient. Further changes therefore need to be made to ensure that women are not being treated unfavourably to men.

Gender Equality and family policies in West Germany

Social policy in Germany appears largely to reflect ideological principles, in that males are considered breadwinners, whilst females are considered homemakers. The German people are generally of the view that women should not go out to work and that they should instead stay at home to look after the childrenHence, as illustrated by Peters; “Men’s stereotypical role in Germany is one of the income – earning breadwinner, who leaves the house for work in the morning and comes back in the evening” (2001: 93). Although this may be a common belief throughout Germany, it does not provide a true reflection of the gender roles. Women are frequently choosing to work as opposed to staying at home, yet the gender pay gap is also increasing. Germany’s pay gap has thus been widely criticised for being one of the largest in the EU and the EU Commission suggest that this is getting worse (European Commission, 2012: 1). Davis and Robinson believe that much of this gender bias is caused by the policies that are being held by families and societal ideals. does seem to have some validity, and social policies still need to be reformed in Germany so that gender equality is being addressed appropriately. Arguably, if effective policies are implemented in Germany, it is likely that this will cause the policies held by families to also change (Seeleib-Kaiser, 2007: 2).

This alone will not be sufficient to bring about gender equality, and attitudes will also need to change. It has been suggested by Davis and Robinson that women with employed husbands are less likely to be supported than women with unemployed husbands. This is because, husbands in employment are unlikely to be supportive of efforts to reduce gender inequality (1991: 72). This suggests that women are less likely to advance in society if they receive a lack of support from their husbands. This shows how men can impact the achievement of gender equality. The social policies that exist in Germany should therefore be amended so that gender equality can be improved. At present, women do not receive adequate support from the government (Gelb and Palley, 2009: 368), though as noted by the OECD some are of the view that if greater support is provided to women, they will be less likely to have children which will have an overall impact upon the German population (OECD, 2008: 15). Conversely, it was in fact found by the OECD that countries with policies that facilitate female employment are those with the highest fertility rates” (2008: 15). Instead of reducing the population, further support would in fact increase it which is considered integral to economic growth (OECD, 2007: 7). Arguably, the limited support for working mothers in Germany has resulted in women postponing childbearing so that they can instead enter the workforce in order to financially support themselves. This has an effect upon economic growth (WILPF International, 2013: 1), though it has been said that social policy in Germany is a work in progress and that attempts to reinforce childcare is being made (Spiegel, 2012: 1).

Gender Equality and family policies in France

In comparison with Germany, social policy in France does actually appear to reflect the ideas of contemporary society, and is thus more favourable to women. This was identified by Rodgers when it was noted that; “France has a more conscious, clearly defined concept of family policy, which finds expression in statutory and voluntary institutions whose primary or even sole purpose is to promote the welfare of the family” (2009: 113). Statutory benefits in France are also provided, as of right, to both parents. This demonstrates how gender equality is more adequate in France than it is in Germany (Rogers, 2009: 113). This is due to the support women receive in France by the French government and the favourable family policies that exist. Significant support for childcare is also being provided by France and their allowance system is particularly generous (European Union, 2014: 1). The support that is provided to women is thus intended to allow a work-life balance to be achieved. This approach does appear to be working given the high fertility and employments rates of women with children (European Commission, 2014: 1). Hence, it has been argued that the high fertility rates in France is due to France’s consistent family policy and the excellent employment prospects women are said to have (Del Boca, 2008: 2).

Monetary benefits are a key feature of France’s family policy (Cleiss, 2013: 1). This generosity has been considered necessary in supporting women and removing gender inequality in France. Yet not all agree with this approach and it has instead been argued that whilst women in France receive a number of different benefits such as; paid, four-month maternity leaves; tax breaks for having more children; and other family-friendly government subsidies, “their country lags behind many other nations in gender equality” (MNT, 2010: 1). This suggests that although a number of social policies have been established in France that intend to provide greater support to women, not all believe that gender inequality is eradicated and instead argued that outdated societal attitudes regarding women are still prevalent (Girling, 2002: 126). Nevertheless, France’s benefit system does appear to be a lot more generous than Germany’s, which might be suggested leads to greater equality between the sexes. However, it seems as though complete equality is still not being attained. There still appears to be a gender pay gap between men and women in France, and women continue to be treated differently in general (European Commission, 2013: 10). Arguably, it is clear from these findings that social policies may not actually remove the gender inequalities that persist within society and that the attitudes of individuals also need to be changed.

Functionalist and path dependency to gender equality and family policies

Functionalism has been described as a philosophy of mind in that a particular mental state will be dependent on the role it plays on the cognitive system in which it is a part of. In effect, functionalists view the identity of mental states as being determined by its casual relations to sensory stimulations, behaviour and other mental states (Stanford, 2004: 1). Functionalism is clearly prevalent within the approaches that are being employed in both Germany and France since functionalists view gender inequality as a product of traditional ideology within society (Isajiw, 2013: 129). Given that gender inequality is still prevalent within both Germany and France it might be though that social policies cannot change traditional ideology. Pre-existing notions of the ideal family will be likely to remain and individuals will thus conform to the roles that have been provided to them by society. Whilst gender roles have changed substantially in contemporary societies, functionalists believe that traditional arrangements remain in force (Giddens and Griffiths, 2006: 467). This is what appears to be happening in France because although social policy has been advanced, gender inequality still exists as a result of traditional arrangements. Furthermore, whilst social policy in Germany is not as supportive of women as it is in France, the same applies here and traditional arrangements continue to prevail.

Path dependency is a term that is used to describe the idea that history matters and that we are today a product of what has happened in the past (Margolis, 1996: 1). Path dependency is also reflective of gender equality in Germany and France in that past decisions influence future decisions. This is so regardless of whether the circumstances are still relevant (Arthur, 1994: 33). Historical viewpoints are therefore being maintained despite the fact that this no longer provides a true reflection of reality and as put by Skocpol; “the development trends of social modernization may face legacies of path dependent cultural and institutional organisation” (1992: 8). Gender equality is affected by this and improvements to the lives and wellbeing of women is stifled. Alexander and Welzel argue that; “path dependent processes with respect to women’s suffrage policy may affect the potential to increase gender equality in particular societies” (2014: 9). Again, this demonstrates why women continue to be paid less than men in both Germany and France. This results from the historical gender inequality practices because as stated by Bjornskov et al; “because of the path dependence of the unfolding human life, gender inequality in the early eighties might equally affect today’s opportunities, choices and aspiration levels” (2007: 2). This will continue to affect the way women are treated in the future and it is arguable whether discrimination against women will ever be eradicated.

Conclusion

Overall, it has been argued that ideological beliefs will continue to influence the ways women are treated in society, and regardless of the social policies that are implemented by welfare states, gender inequality will continue to persist. This is because the traditional roles of males and females will continue to be prevalent within all aspects of life as women will continue to take on the role of a homemaker, whilst men will continue to take on the role of a breadwinner in certain groups of society. Ideology is largely responsible for these inequalities and women will continue to be treated differently to men as a result. This is evidenced in both Germany and France regardless of the fact that their social policy strategies are different and demonstrates how ideology will continue to dominate contemporary society. Thus, women in Germany are treated far less favourably than the women in France, yet both countries are similar when it comes to gender inequality. An example of this can be seen in relation to the gender pay gaps which are widespread amongst both nation states. Nevertheless, despite the fact that gender inequality is likely to persist regardless of what policies are implemented, it is manifest that improvements can certainly be made. Further support should be provided to women in Germany, whilst the gender pay gap should be reduced in France. This is unlikely to provide complete equality because, as recognised by the functionalist and path dependency models, the traditional arrangement of gender roles will continue influence society.

References

Alexander, A. C. and Welzel, C. (2014) ‘Four Theories Tested on Four Different Aspects of Gender Equality’ Empowering Women, [Online] Available: http://www.democracy.uci.edu/files/democracy/docs/conferences/grad/alexander.pdf [02 April 2014].

Benson, H. (2013) ‘What is the Divorce Rate’, The Marriage Foundation, [Online] Available: http://www.marriagefoundation.org.uk/Shared/Uploads/Products/5357_MF%20-%20What%20is%20the%20divorce%20rate%20-%20060213.pdf [02 April 2014].

Bjornskov, C. Dreher, A. Justina, A. V. and Fischer, A. V. (2007) ‘SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance’ No 657.

Brown, S. E., Esbensen, F., and Geis, G., (2010). Criminology: Explaining Crime in Context. 7th Edition, London: Elsevier.

Cleiss. (2013) ‘Family Benefits’ The French Social Security System, [Online] Available: http://www.cleiss.fr/docs/regimes/regime_france/an_4.html [02 April 2014].

Craven, Z, Clearinghouse, ‘Human Rights and Domestic Violence’ Australian Domestic & Family Violence, [Online] Available: http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/human_rights.pdf [02 April 2014].

Curra, J., (2000). The Relativity of Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage.

Davis, N. J. and Robinson, V. R. (1991) ‘Men’s and Women’s Consciousness of Gender Inequality: Austria, West Germany, Great Britain and the United States’ American Sociological Review, Volume 56, No. 1.

Del Boca, D. Pasqua, S. and Pronzato, C. (2008) ‘Market Work and Motherhood Decisions in Contexts’ Discussion Paper Series, IZA DP No 3303, [Online], Available: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3303.pdf [02 April 2014].

Eagleton, T. (1991) Ideology: An Introduction, London: Verso.

European Commission. (2012) ‘Women on Boards: Commission Proposes 40% Objective’ [Online] Available: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/gender-equality/news/121114_en.htm [02 April 2014].

Giddens, A. and Griffiths, S. (2006) Sociology, Social Science, Polity.

Girling, J. (2002) France: Political and Social Change, Routledge, Political Science.

European Commission. (2012) ‘Statistics’ European Union, [Online], Available: http://europa.eu/epic/statistics/index_en.htm [02 April 2014].

European Commission. (2013) ‘Tackling the Gender Pay Gap in the European Union’ Justice, [Online] Available: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/gender_pay_gap/gpg_brochure_2013_final_en.pdf [02 April 2014].

European Union. (2014) France: Significant Support for Women and High Monetary Benefits, [Online], Available: [03 April 2014].

Fraser, N. (1994) ‘After the Family Wage’ Political Theory, Volume 22, No. 4.

Foghlam Alba. (2012) ‘Womens Rights and Suffragettes’ [Online] Available: [05 April 2014].

George, V., and Wilding, P., (1985). Ideology and Social Welfare. Routledge, 2nd Edition.

Herring, J., (2007). Family Law, Pearson Education, 3rd Edition.

Kania, R. E, (1988). Conservative Ideology in Criminology and Criminal Justice. American Journal of Criminal Justice. Volume 13, Number 1.

Margolis, S. E. (1996) ‘Path Dependence’ [Online] Available: http://wwwpub.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/palgrave/palpd.html [07 April 2014].

Meer, S. (2013) ‘Struggles for Gender Equality: Reflections on the place of men and men’s organisations’, Open Debate, Online] Available: http://www.osisa.org/sites/default/files/sup_files/open_debate_2_-_reflections_on_the_place_of_men_and_mens_organisations_in_the_struggle_for_gender_equality.pdf [02 April 2014].

Mill, J. S. and Okin, S. M. (1988) The Subjection of Women, Hackett Publishing Co.

MNT. (2010) ‘Gender Inequality Persists in France Despite Family-Focused Benefits’ [Online] Available: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/204545.php [03 April 2014].

OECD. (2007) ‘Babies and Bosses – Reconciling Work and Family Life’ A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries.

OECD. (2008) ‘Gender and Sustainable Development’ Maximising the Economic, Social and Environmental Role of Women.

Pascall, G. (2000) Gender and Social Policy: Comparing Welfare States in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Societ Union’ Journal of European Social Policy, Volume 10, Number 3.

Peters, D. (2001) ‘Breadwinners, Homemakers and Beasts of Burden: A Gender Perspective on Transport and Mobility’ Institute for City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Development International, 93-100.

Radacic, I. (2008) ‘Critical Review of Jurisprudence: An Occasional Series: Gender Equality Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights’, European Journal of International Law, Issue 4, EJIL 2008 19 (841).

Rodgers, B. N. (2009) ‘Family Policy in France’ Journal of Social Policy, Volume 4, Issue 2.

Saggers, S. Dodd, J. and Wildy, H. (2009) ‘Constructing the ‘ideal’ family for family-centred practice: challenges for delivery’ Disability and Society, Volume 24, Issue 2.

Seeleib, M. K. (2007) ‘Innovative ways of coping with old and new challenges: Enterprises as actors of family policy’, Family Policies in Britain and Germany, [Online] Available: http://www.socialpolicy.ed.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/10108/Family_Policy_in_Britain_and_Germany_Midpoint_Conference171107.pdf [02 April 2014].

Skocpol, T. (1992) Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins in Social Policy in the United States, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stanford. (2004) ‘Functionalism’ [Online] Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/functionalism/ [07 April 2014].

Sudha, D. K. (2000) Gender Roles, New Delhi: APH Publishing.

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Categories
Free Essays

Give a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies.

Introduction

Social policy is the term that is used to describe the various principles, guidelines, legislative provisions and activities that impact human welfare. Social policy has thus been defined as an analysis of societies responses to social need (Lewis, 2013: 1) and has been said to focus on certain aspects of the economy that are concerned with basic human needs. Nevertheless, different societies have developed different ways to meet social policy needs. Whilst some rely primarily upon ideological beliefs within family institutions, others rely on the actions of individuals and governmental activities (Lewis, 2013: 1). Ideology plays an important part in social policy as it is the belief that individuals should behave in a way that is consistent with the goals and expectations of the most dominant in society. There are many different views and opinions that exist in respect of ideology (Kania, 1988: 1), yet it has been considered extremely discriminatory as it only “serves the interests of one segment of a society more than all other segments” (Curra, 2000: 6). One particular group of people therefore benefit more than other groups, which is the case when it comes to gender equality and family policies. (Brown et al; 2010: 9). The nuclear family, which is the traditional family structure that consists of two parents and children, is still being considered the ideal in many cultural, family and social settings. This is so despite the fact that “contemporary families now comprise a diverse range of different family and so-called non family types” (Saggers and Sims, 2009: 173). Although ideals are necessary in helping people to identify right from wrong, too much reliance should not be placed on ideology as this will otherwise result in inequality. A significant amount of the gender bias that currently exists has stemmed from ideology (Bjornskov et al, 2007). This is extremely dangerous and demonstrates how important gender regimes (as policy logics) in welfare states are in integral to equality. For example, in domestic violence cases, women are treated unfavourably on the basis that it was previously deemed acceptable for a man to beat his wife (Brown et al, 2010). This has produced many problems over the years and is still an on-going concern for many countries, which will be identified in this study (Cleiss, 2013). Thus, a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies will be considered. This will be done by comparing social policy in Germany and France and demonstrating whether gender equality is attainable.

Gender Equality and Family Policy in Germany and France

The 1970’s new social feminist movement was the first time gender inequality was brought to the public’s attention as domestic violence was previously considered “part of the rough and tumble of marital life” (Herring: 2007; p. 262). This gender bias not only happened in the context of domestic violence but it was also becoming a natural part of everyday life. Males were considered to be breadwinners, whilst females were the homemakers. Because females were considered totally dependent on the male breadwinner, a lack of financial and support existed for women and there was a dire need for social policy changes to be implemented in order to reduce the gender inequality women were being subjected to (Curra, 2000). Feminists believed that this gender inequality was the result of ideology and that gender equality should become a vital part of social policy across all nation states (George and Wilding: 1985; p. 122). Feminism is prevalent within different jurisdictions and has been considered a “diverse collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies and aims to understand the nature of gender inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations and sexuality” (EKU, 2012: 1). Feminists’ believe that individuals cannot achieve complete freedom so long as inequality continues to persist and that humanity is therefore unattainable. Regardless of this, the gender inequality that exists within family structures is still being recognised as a global issue and is prevalent both in Germany and France. This is partly due to the cultural practices of these societies as cultural relativism is still being used to condone such inequality (Craven, 2005: 3). In addition, as put by Fraser; “existing welfare states are premised on assumptions about gender that increasingly out of phase with many people’s lives and self-understandings” (1994: 591).

It seems as though inadequate social protection is being provided to women in both countries, although France’s social policy regime does appear more favourable to women than Germany’s. This is evidenced by the fact that Germany holds a strong preference for the typical nuclear family ideal and continues to view males as breadwinners and females as homemakers. It is a common belief throughout Germany that women should not work and that they should instead be stay at home mums. This was identified by Peters when he pointed out that; “Men’s stereotypical role in Germany is one of the income – earning breadwinner, who leaves the house for work in the morning and comes back in the evening” (2001: 93). Because of the stereotypical role that is still being employed in Germany, women end up performing two roles. This is because contemporary women no longer stay at home to look after children and instead choose to become income earners. Furthermore, the pay gap between men and women in Germany continues to widen and has been criticised for being much wider than other EU states, including France. The European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding presented the results from the Eurobarometer on Gender Equality in 2010 and concluded that Germany’s figures were getting much worse: “In 2007, the gap was 23 percent; in 2006, 22.7 percent” (European Commission, 2012: 1). In a study conducted by Davis and Robinson, however, it was evidenced that much of the gender bias stems from family policies and the ideals that have been created by society. Hence, it was demonstrated that well-educated males are less supportive of reducing gender inequality: “women with employed husbands are less supportive of efforts to reduce gender inequality than women without a male wage earner” (1991: 72). This prevents women from advancing within society and demonstrates how men are capable of stifling the attainment of gender equality in Germany.

In contrast to the male dominated ideologies that exist Germany, social policies in France do actually appear to be more akin to contemporary society. This has been illustrated by Rodgers who noted that; “France has a more conscious, clearly defined concept of family policy, which finds expression in statutory and voluntary institutions whose primary or even sole purpose is to promote the welfare of the family” (2009: 113). Both parents of the nuclear family are also entitled to various statutory benefits as of right, which signifies how gender equality is better attained in France than it is in Germany (Rogers, 2009: 113). France has a significant amount of support for women and has had an extensive policy in favour of families for a very long time. A wide range of childcare services are provided in France as well as an allowance system that is deemed extremely generous (European Union, 2014: 1). Such support is intended to encourage and assist parents in finding a work life balance and is clearly working given that France has higher fertility and employments rates of women with children compared to the rest of the EU’s member states (European Commission, 2014: 1). It has been said that the high fertility rates in France largely result from the consistent family policy in France as well as the good employment prospects provided to women (Del Boca, 2008: 2). One of the key characteristics of France’s family policy is the monetary benefits, also known as family allowance. The monetary benefits that are provided to families under this system include child benefit, flat-rate allowance, family income supplement, family support allowance, birth/adoption grant, basic allowance, supplement for free choice of working time and free choice of childcare, education allowance, back-to-school allowance, daily parental attendance allowance, family housing allowance and moving allowance (Cleiss, 2013: 1).

In view of the support women are provided with in France, it seems as though Germany’s social policies on gender equality should be strengthened. This is especially so in the labour market where this appears to be amongst the worst of all EU member states. Therefore, not only do women in Germany receive significantly lower pay packets to men but they also receive a lack of support from the government (Curra, 2000). There a widespread misconception in Germany that if family friendly policies are implemented to assist working women, this will lead to them having fewer children, which will decrease the population overall (Giddins and Griffiths, 2006). However, it has been evidenced that “countries with policies that facilitate female employment are those with the highest fertility rates” (OECD, 2008: 15). This resultantly increases the future supply of workers, which inevitably leads to sustained growth (OECD, 2007: 7). Furthermore, the practices being employed in France appear to discredit the view that the population will be decreased if further support is provided to women, as this has not happened here and the fertility rates in Germany are low as a result of the lack of support for working mothers. This is due to the fact that women in Germany are more likely to postpone childbearing in order to enter the workforce, which stifles economic growth in the long term (Hering, 2007). Women are thus said to be “facing difficulties to reconcile family, domestic workload and paid work” (WILPF International, 2013: 1). It has been said that the German government is working on this issue at present and has made great attempts to reinforce child daily care (Fraser, 1994), yet it is arguable whether this is proving effective given the cultural relativism that Germany is submersed with. The generosity of France is illustrative of the support that is given to contemporary families and demonstrates how France’s social family policies are workable in attaining gender equality. Not all agree with this, however, and it has instead been argued that; “although French women receive paid, four-month maternity leaves; tax breaks for having more children; and other family-friendly government subsidies, their country lags behind many other nations in gender equality” (MNT, 2010: 1). This, it has been said, is largely because of outmoded attitudes about the role of women in society (Girling, 2002: 126). Women continue to earn less than men; they are still being viewed as homemakers and also hold few positions of power European Commission, 2013: 10). This is also the case for those women that remain childless (Milj and Okin, 1988), which suggests that although France provides better support to women, gender inequality still persists. Accordingly, women continue to be treated differently to men regardless of what policies are put into practice. It is questionable whether gender equality can ever be fully attained given the attempts that have been made to do so over the years. EU law has made significant attempts to ensure men and women receive equal pay for equal work, though it has been difficult for this to be accomplished. Article 141 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (which amended Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome), obliges member states to ensure that men and women always receive equal pay for equal work, yet it is often difficult to demonstrate that this is not being achieved. This is because the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that, on the balance of probabilities, their comparator is doing work of equal value to theirs or like work, which is considerably difficult (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010, p. 1). It is therefore clear from these findings that whilst France does provide greater support to women than Germany does, gender inequalities still exist. France’s social policies thereby need to be rectified so that better equality is being attained. The first step would be to close the gender pay gap, yet it remains to be seen whether this would achieve complete equality as the traditional family model will remain prevalent.

Functionalism and path dependency to gender equality and family policies

Functionalist’s are of the view that an individuals’ mental state is determined by the role in which they have been provided with in society. Functionalist’s therefore view gender inequality as being a product of traditional societal ideologies (Saggers et al, 2009). This is reflected by the inequality that currently exists within Germany and France. Hence, the traditional nuclear family is still being given due consideration despite the fact that modern family structures are widely diverse. Because individuals have always been taught what the traditional roles of men and women are, individuals tend to conform to such requirements. This is still happening today, whether consciously or not, and is one of the main reasons why gender equality is difficult to attain. Consequently, whilst women are provided with better support in France than they are in Germany, many of the underlying inequalities women are subjected to remain. This is because societal attitudes towards men and women have remained the same, regardless as to what social policies have been implemented, as is also the case in Germany. Hence, it is apparent that whilst gender roles in both societies have changed substantially, traditional arrangement remains in force (Giddens and Griffiths, 2006: 467). Social policy in France has advanced significantly over the years and is very supportive of women, yet gender inequality is still prevalent because of the traditional arrangement that remains in force. This is also the case in Germany despite the fact that less support is provided to women as some attempts to close the pay gap have been made, yet it seems impossible for gender equality to be obtained.

Path dependency theoretically explains how past decisions influence future ones, regardless as to whether the circumstances are still relevant. It is therefore clear from this theory that history is an important part of the future and shapes the way individuals behave. This theory is reflective of the gender equality and family policy approach that is being adopted in Germany and France. This is because historical viewpoints are being maintained regardless of the fact that the nuclear family is no longer considered the ‘norm’ in contemporary society. As identified by Skocpol; “the development trends of social modernization may face legacies of path dependent cultural and institutional organisation” (1992: 8). This affects the advancement of gender equality and restricts the ability to improve the lives of women. Because the emergence of social policy is determined by past influences, the typical family ideal is likely to remain instilled in society. This prevents the modernisation of social policy, which explains why the traditional family model continues to subsist within social and family policy. Furthermore, as noted by Alexander and Welzel; “path dependent processes with respect to women’s suffrage policy may affect the potential to increase gender equality in particular societies” (2014: 9). This is why women continue to be paid lower than men in Germany and France regardless of the current changes that are being made to achieve equality. This occurs because of the historical gender inequality practices that were being employed because as was pointed out; “because of the path dependence of the unfolding human life, gender inequality in the early eighties might equally affect today’s opportunities, choices and aspiration levels” (Bjornskov et al; 2007: 2). Past discrimination thereby affects the way women are viewed in society today and will continue to have an impact in the future.

Gender equality is still one of the main fundamental principles the EU continually strives for (Article 14 of the European Union’s Convention on Human Rights), yet despite the various policies that have been adopted women are still being treated unfavourably to men. This was recognised by Radacic who argued that; “notwithstanding these pronouncements, inequality of women in the member states of the Council of Europe persists” (Radacic, 2008: 841). The EU has therefore been largely impotent in challenging gender discrimination and achieving gender equality and although women and men are becoming more equal over the years, “a principle of perfect equality” (Mill and Okin, 1988: 1) is still not being established in countries such as Germany and France. Adequate family and childcare policies that allow for gender equality therefore need to be implemented, which could be achieved by employing strategies that; encourage female labour market participation, remove the gender bias ideologies, provide adequate childcare, promote children’s education and well being and allow for flexible labour. It is unlikely that much of the gender bias that is currently in place will be removed, though there will certainly be some improvements. Germany should be more supportive of women and France should make further attempts to close the pay gap.

Conclusion

Overall, traditional ideological practices continue to be adopted in Germany and France when it comes to gender equality and family policy. Because of this, women continue to be treated differently to men. It is questionable whether this can ever be rectified given that gender inequality is viewed as a product of traditional societal ideologies. In Germany, women are given less support than they are in France whose social policies appear to be more akin to contemporary society. In spite of this, however, gender inequality is still prevalent throughout France. This is evidenced by the large gender pay gap and the fact that traditional ideologies are still prevalent across all social policy methods. This illustrates that regardless of what social policies welfare states implement, gender inequality will still persist. Improvements to social policy would still benefit the economy, nonetheless, and would develop gender equality further. In Germany, there is a pressing need for greater support to be provided to women as well as reducing the gender pay gap, whereas in France the main focus is on the latter. It is doubtful that complete equality would be achieved in light of the fact that the traditional family model remains intact, yet vast improvements could certainly be made. This is supported by the views of functionalists who believe that the traditional arrangement of gender roles remain intact despite the fact that these roles have significantly changed in modern societies. Furthermore, because past decisions influence future decisions, as recognised by the path dependency model, the nuclear family structure will always have a place in contemporary society.

References

Alexander, A. C. and Welzel, C. (2014) ‘Four Theories Tested on Four Different Aspects of Gender Equality’ Empowering Women, [29 March 2014].

Bjornskov, C. Dreher, A. Justina, A. V. and Fischer, A. V. (2007) ‘SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance’ No 657.

Brown, S. E., Esbensen, F., and Geis, G., (2010). Criminology: Explaining Crime in Context. Elsevier, 7th Edition.

Cleiss. (2013) ‘Family Benefits’ The French Social Security System, [Online] Available: http://www.cleiss.fr/docs/regimes/regime_france/an_4.html [29 March 2014].

Craven, Z, Clearinghouse, ‘Human Rights and Domestic Violence’ Australian Domestic & Family Violence, Available: http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/human_rights.pdf

Curra, J., (2000). The Relativity of Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage.

Davis, N. J. and Robinson, V. R. (1991) ‘Men’s and Women’s Consciousness of Gender Inequality: Austria, West Germany, Great Britain and the United States’ American Sociological Review, Volume 56, No. 1.

Del Boca, D. Pasqua, S. and Pronzato, C. (2008) ‘Market Work and Motherhood Decisions in Contexts’ Discussion Paper Series, IZA DP No 3303, [Online], Available: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3303.pdf [29 March 2014].

European Commission. (2012) ‘Women on Boards: Commission Proposes 40% Objective’ [Online] Available: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/gender-equality/news/121114_en.htm [29 March 2014].

Giddens, A. and Griffiths, S. (2006) Sociology, Social Science, Polity.

Girling, J. (2002) France: Political and Social Change, Routledge, Political Science.

EKU Women Studies., Feminism What is it?, [29 March 2014].

European Commission. (2012) ‘Statistics’ European Union, [Online], Available: http://europa.eu/epic/statistics/index_en.htm [28 March 2014].

European Commission. (2013) ‘Tackling the Gender Pay Gap in the European Union’ Justice, [Online] Available: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/gender_pay_gap/gpg_brochure_2013_final_en.pdf [29 March 2014].

European Union. (2014) France: Significant Support for Women and High Monetary Benefits, [Online], Available: http://europa.eu/epic/countries/france/index_en.htm [28 March 2014].

Fraser, N. (1994) ‘After the Family Wage’ Political Theory, Volume 22, No. 4.

George, V., and Wilding, P., (1985). Ideology and Social Welfare. Routledge, 2nd Edition.

Herring, J., (2007). Family Law, Pearson Education, 3rd Edition.

Kania, R. E, (1988). Conservative Ideology in Criminology and Criminal Justice. American Journal of Criminal Justice. Volume 13, Number 1.

Lewis, D. (2013) ‘Welcome to the Department’ LSE Social Policy, [Online] Available: www.lse.ac.uk/socialPolicy/aboutUs/introduction.aspx [06 April 2014].

Mill, J. S. and Okin, S. M. (1988) The Subjection of Women, Hackett Publishing Co.

MNT. (2010) ‘Gender Inequality Persists in France Despite Family-Focused Benefits’ [Online] Available: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/204545.php [29 March 2014].

OECD. (2007) ‘Babies and Bosses – Reconciling Work and Family Life’ A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries.

OECD. (2008) ‘Gender and Sustainable Development’ Maximising the Economic, Social and Environmental Role of Women.

Peters, D. (2001) ‘Breadwinners, Homemakers and Beasts of Burden: A Gender Perspective on Transport and Mobility’ Institute for City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Development International, 93-100.

Radacic, I. (2008) ‘Critical Review of Jurisprudence: An Occasional Series: Gender Equality Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights’, European Journal of International Law, Issue 4, EJIL 2008 19 (841).

Rodgers, B. N. (2009) ‘Family Policy in France’ Journal of Social Policy, Volume 4, Issue 2.

Skocpol, T. (1992) Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins in Social Policy in the United States, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saggers, S. Dodd, J. and Wildy, H. (2009) ‘Constructing the ‘ideal’ family for family-centred practice: challenges for delivery’ Disability and Society, Volume 24, Issue 2.

WILPF International. (2014) ‘Racism and Gender Inequality in Germany’ Peace & Freedom, [Online] Available: http://www.wilpfinternational.org/racism-and-gender-inequality-in-germany/ [29 March 2014].

Cases

Abdulaziz, Cabales and Balkandali v. UK (1985) Series A, No. 94 at para 78

Leyla Sahin v. Turkey [GC] Reports 2005 – at para. 115

Categories
Free Essays

With reference to the Gamor Serious Case Review (Hackney LSCB 2008) and in the context of current legislation, policy and multi-agency guidance, discuss what social work interventions might have been in place to protect the children, Antoine and Keneice, and to respond to the needs of the adults in the family

Introduction

This essay centres on the tragic killing of Antoine, aged 10, and Keneice, aged 3 by their mentally ill mother. The Gamor Serious Case Review (Hackney LSCB 2008) states that no further action on the part of the social workers could have prevented the killings and this essay will examine whether other social work interventions could have made a difference to the terrible outcome of this case. exists plenty of policy and multi-agency guidance which seek to provide direction to social workers in their duties and to what extent they can intervene in cases which they consider to be a real and significant risk to children. This essay will also consider what interventions should be allowed to respond to the needs of the adults of the family. When examining vulnerable individuals, it is easy to immediately think of children, but adults with learning and mental difficulties are pose a risk to others and themselves (Scrag, 2011: 6).

The Gamor Serious Case Review

The Gamor Serious Case Review (Hackney LSCB, 2008) centres on Vivian Gamor, who was the mother of both Antoine and Keneice. She had been looked after by social services since the age of 14 and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. During an unsupervised visit in January 2007, she killed her children by use of a claw hammer and suffocation. In August 2007, she was convicted of manslaughter by way of diminished responsibility and was sent to prison for an indefinite period. The fact that Ms Gamor was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia ensured that she should have been the subject of a risk assessment by the social workers prior to any visits by her children according to policy guidance. This is only one power of intervention available to social workers, as it will be shown.
There was an Inquest into the death of both children and a verdict of unlawful killing was delivered by the Coroner. The Coroner was heavily critical of the role that social services had played in this case and criticised Hackney LSCB for its, “serious and cumulative failures” in allowing the unsupervised visits (Taylor, 10 December 2012). Therefore it is somewhat surprising that the Gamor Serious Case Review (Hackney LSCB, 2008) declares that no single action could have prevented the deaths. The Coroner went on to say that the social services board had suffered from, “a catalogue of failures on the part of several incidents in mental health and social services” (Taylor, 10 December 2012). One of the main reasons for this criticism was that social workers had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment on Ms Gamor before allowing her overnight visits with the children. Also, it was upsetting for the children’s father to hear that the social workers had made the decision to close the case days before the death. Social workers are under a statutory duty to undertake risk assessments, both for the safety of the children and the vulnerable adults. They are pivotal in ensuring the welfare of the children is put above any other considerations.

The Gamor Serious Case Review (Hackney LSCB, 2008) stated that following a thorough and efficient investigation of the case, it was decided that the father’s considerations should have been taken into consideration. For example, Ms Gamor had completed successful contact visits with the social workers and voiced her proposals to live with the children and the father should have been asked for his attitudes towards further contact. According to Judge Peter Rook QC, “This terrible tragedy could have been avoided if Gamor had not been allowed unsupervised access and the children’s father’s grave concerns had been given weight.” (BBC, ‘Failures allowed mother to kill). The main failure of the social workers was not adequately assessing the risk posed by Ms Gamor. The City and Hackney Local Safeguarding Children Board said that the underlying reason for the failure by the services was a “mismanagement issue” which allowed the overnight visit (Gamor Serious Case Review, Hackney LSCB 2008). Furthermore, interventions should have been made such as supervised visits and ensuring that Ms Gamor’s psychology treatment was kept under control.

The Children Act 1989

The Children Act 1989 is the main piece of legislation in this area. Section 47 of the Act imposes a statutory duty upon professionals who are working with children to take the necessary steps to preventing children from harm. This also encompasses the responsibility to ensuring their welfare. This was a requirement not fulfilled by those social workers looking after Ms Gamor, and often this section will be used as a basis for justifying any intervention by social services. In addition, section 17 of the Act provides that a similar statutory duty is placed upon every local authority in the country to safeguard and promote a child’s welfare. This is often known as the preventive action when a child is thought to have been at risk. What remains the most important factor in the Act is section 1, which outlines that the child’s welfare is paramount and this overrides any other consideration. Whenever social services are intervening to protect a child, this is the section that often all protective orders are based upon. A protective order should have been obtained in this case which would never have allowed Ms Gamor the opportunity to look after the children overnight in an unsupervised environment.

The Statutory Guidance outlines the threshold for intervention by social workers which is,
“that everybody who works with or comes into contact with children should be able to recognise and know how to act on evidence that a child’s health or development is, or may be, being impaired and especially when they are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.” (Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2006).

By reaching this threshold, social workers can then make referrals for a section 47 child protection investigation and also important for the Gamor case, section 47 encompasses an investigation on ‘Persons who pose a risk to children.’ This should ensure an adequate risk assessment is taken of the child and the parents, which was clearly not done in this case as Ms Gamor’s case was closed prior to the killings (Hackney LSCB, 2008). Upon completion of the investigation, if the risk to the child is deemed high enough, then with parental consent, a section 20 order can be applied for to accommodate the child. However, if the risk to the child is thought to be of immediate and high risk then police protection can be applied for, along with an application for a section 44 (Emergency Protection Order) or a section 38 (Interim Care Order). As the guidance says, “Assessment is a key role in social work” (Birmingham City Council, ‘Children’s Social Care: A Guide for Family Support Workers in Children’s Centres’) and this lies at the root cause of the Gamor case. It can be argued that the children’s father would have consented to intervention by the social workers, and this should have prompted the social workers into action by ordering a section 47 or 44 order.
However, evidence is required in order to apply for a protective order described above and the Serious Case Review argues that the Hackney Children and Young People’s Service did not have any such evidence for an intervention. Instead, the Review pointed to positive contact meetings and that it is why the decision to close the case was made. Instead, the report emphasises the responsibility the East London & the City Mental Health Trust should bear in this case (Gamor Serious Case Review, Hackney LSCB 2008). This highlights how important it is to undertake risk assessment on adults, especially those with mental illnesses. The Report argues that the signs were there that Ms Gamor suffered from a mental illness by saying that her children had been still born and these children were not hers. Such behaviour is arguably concerning at the least, and these delusions should have ensured the social workers assessed her psychological state. This is part of the risk assessment that the social workers can do to protect children and ensure they are in safe hands.

Conclusion

This essay has examined in detail the Gamor Serious Case Review (Hackney LSCB, 2008) and looked at the main piece of legislation in this area, namely the Children Act 1989 to discuss what social work interventions might have been in place to protect the children and Ms Gamor herself. As it was shown, risk assessments did take place for the family but a combination of mismanagement and disorganisation ensured that this was not adequate. Furthermore, the decision to close the case days before the killings shows that more action was required and that the interventions open to the social workers were not taken. In this tragic case, it is hoped that the Hackney Children’s and Young People’s Service can listen to the recommendations of the Report and take immediate action to ensure a similar devastation does not happen again (Ofsted, 2010 ‘The voice of the child: Learning the lessons from serious case review’).

Bibliography

BBC, (17 July 2008) ‘Failures allowed mother to kill’ Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7510930.stm
Children Act 1989
Birmingham City Council, ‘Children’s Social Care: A Guide for Family Support Workers in Children’s Centres’ (March 2011) Available at: http://ebriefing.bgfl.org/bcc_ebrief/content/resources/resource.cfm?id=8248&key=&zz=20110430110200930&zs=n
Department for Education, (2006) ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’
Gamor Serious Case Review (Hackney LSCB 2008)
Ofsted (2010) ‘The voice of the child: Learning the lessons from serious case review’
Scrag, T. (2011) Safeguarding Adults in Social Work (Transforming Social Work Practice) Exeter: Learning Matters
Taylor, D. (10 December 2012) ‘Hackney social services condemned over failures after mother kills children’ (The Guardian) Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/dec/10/mother-kills-children-social-services-failure

Categories
Free Essays

The Twilight Saga 5: Midnight Sun 17. Family

When Bella first fell asleep, she was quiet. I held her in my arms and kept my face close to her neck. I continued to breathe deeply while I hummed her lullaby very quietly in her ear. Even in her sleep, she trembled at my touch. This moment is what I had always wished for when I was the peeping tom, and now, after everything I’ve done; spying on her, being rude to her, ignoring her, she invites me in and still wants to be with me. The thought sent pleasure through me. A feeling I couldn’t get used to, yet I craved it more.

While I was laying there with an angel in my arms I was thinking about the past day’s events. I couldn’t think of my life before her, because that was no life at all. I was so joyous, euphoric. Every time I felt her warmth, hear her pulse speed up, watch her face flush I fell deeper and deeper into love.

After fifteen minutes of silence, Bella began to mumble. I couldn’t understand what she was saying for the most part. She shivered then, and I realized that I was probably making her cold. Though it pained me to do it, I removed her from my arms and pulled the blanket around her firmly. Bella turned over when I let go of her, and I thought she woke up when she mumbled, “I love you, Edward.” She sighed then, and smiled. Bursts of pleasure and exultation flowed swiftly through my body at the thought of her love for me. I was rejoicing, my skin literally singing. The onslaught of euphoric feelings was almost overwhelming.

A light snore followed and then she turned again, moving her left hand around like she was looking for something…this distracted me. I didn’t know what she could possibly be feeling for. An idea sparked in my head then. I grabbed another blanket and wrapped it securely around her. She mumbled, sighed, and said my name. Her hand never stopped searching. I finally laid down next to her, holding her while she was bundled in her quilt and another blanket.

Like her hand found what it was looking for, she grabbed my neck and pulled her face into the hollow below my ear. She breathed deep heavy breaths onto my neck. The warmth made me tremble. I pulled her in closer to me. The sensations of her breath were almost maddening. She reached up with her right hand and then it limply fell onto my chest. I held her even closer then. She was quiet.

After several immeasurable moments, she turned over and sighed. Her hand came around her back and pulled me close again. I gently caressed her face. Even in her sleep she flushed red. I wonder what she is dreaming about. She sighed my name once more, lightly snored again and didn’t move for over an hour.

It was becoming late in the evening and Charlie decided he was going to bed. Before he went to bed though, he went outside, opened the hood of Bella’s truck, felt to see if it was warm…just in case she had snuck out and back without his knowledge, and then swiftly unplugged the battery cables. Did he seriously think that is all it would take to stop Bella from leaving? Charlie went to bed then, and he was snoring in a matter of minutes.

Bella moved once more, bringing her head to my chest, over my still heart. I moved the hair from her face and watched as she slept peacefully. I caressed her face, her hair, her lips over and over again. Every time I pressed my fingers to her skin I was stung by the electricity. It was an astonishing feeling.

When I could see the sky turning a deep dark blue, I left to take a shower and change my clothes. Removing my arms from Bella was torture. But I had to. I jumped out of Bella’s window and raced to my house. It isn’t home without Bella, she was my home now.

Alice, oh Alice…she was waiting for me, just like always, at the bottom of the stairs outside.

“Thanks,” I mumbled under my breath, I was still grateful for her presence this evening.

“So, Jasper lost the bet ?C he should know better than to bet against me.” Alice laughed.

We heard Emmett’s chuckling from inside the house, immediately after we heard a loud thud and a, “I’ll get you for that!”

Shortly after we heard Esme, “Boy’s, cut it out!” followed by “I’m Sorry,” from Jasper and Emmett both.

Alice and I just grinned widely at each other.

“So, are the boys ready to meet Bella?” I asked Alice.

Her face went blank as I watched her go through her most recent visions. She was seeing Jasper staying far from Bella, Emmett enjoying Bella’s presence immensely until Rosalie show’s up and Bella and I laughing exuberantly.

“Thanks again,” I said.

I heard a chuckle from inside the house again, “Hey Edward, is meeting Bella going to be as fun as messing with that kid in Spanish class?” Emmett mused.

I heard a light slap from inside the house, “Emmett, you will be good to Bella, she is going to be a part of this family!” Esme reprimanded him.

“Alice, can I ask you a question?” I wondered.

Oh, of course you would be wondering about that. I am surprised it took you this long to notice, Alice thought.

“Please, Alice,” I pleaded, “Show me the vision again.”

Bella and Alice were in a room together, Bella’s room, I noticed. Alice was taking measurements of her body and Bella was blushing scarlet with a frown prominent on her face. Immediately I noticed the ring on her left hand.

“Stop,” I begged.

What is it Edward, I don’t understand, Alice asked, concerned.

“This isn’t the same vision, is this newer?” I asked

Alice tried to hide her thoughts. It was a new vision, but I was noticing how she was getting measured for a wedding gown and how her face was still flushing a deep red, which meant that she was human. How was that possible? Was it when Bella asked me about marriage? I must admit, the thought did run through my mind, but for only a fraction of a second. Did we both want it at the same time? It seemed a dream come true ?C but how could this be possible. I was completely miffed! How could I let myself get so deeply into this? Because you love her, you idiot, I yelled internally.

She was my life now, and there was no taking it back. I could not leave her, and I knew she felt the same way. I frowned at Alice. It wasn’t her fault, but she was the one who was showing me what I could possibly be doing to Bella. I was coveting her.

I went inside the house. Carlisle was talking with Jasper intently about a new medical study going on at the hospital. When I walked in the room, they stopped immediately. Jasper could feel the mix of emotions coming off of me.

What is going on with you Edward? I have never felt so many emotions radiating off one person, love, self hatred, anger, happiness… there are so many feelings, get a grip, Edward! Jasper scolded.

“I’m sorry,” I muttered to Jasper.

I put my feelings in check then, deciding to focus on today’s events.

“Carlisle, I am going to invite Bella over to meet the family, is that okay?” I asked

Absolutely, that would be delightful, Carlisle thought.

Esme came into the room then, interested in our conversation. I had not talked that much about Bella in the past, but they all knew how my mood has changed since I met her. She has altered me in ways I didn’t know were possible.

“You know my thoughts on that Edward. I’ve wanted to meet her for some time now. She is your partner, which means she is family. I am ready to meet my new daughter,” Esme beamed.

“Thank you,” I said to both of them with a grin on my face.

“No need to thank us Edward, we want to thank Bella!” Carlisle exclaimed.

“No doubt,” I mumbled, distracted now.

My family could tell I was distracted, and they scattered, while their mental humming starting thinking about the days events, which would include a human.

I went to my bedroom and quickly showered and changed. I was in a hurry and I was finished in just two minutes. I was out the door in the next second.

Can’t wait to see Bella, Alice thought as I flew by.

I was back at Bella’s before Charlie left. Charlie was humming under his breath while gathering his fishing supplies. He checked on Bella, went downstairs, and pulled something out of the fridge. I was standing in the shade of the trees. My arms were feeling cold, something they have never felt before, but I knew it was because Bella’s warmth was absent and I was becoming impatient with Charlie’s human slowness.

He finally exited the house and I was already in Bella’s room. When I jumped in the window, wind blew inward and then back out the window throwing Bella’s scent into my face, instantly assaulting my throat. Hot flames burst down my throat licking at my aching wounds from my already dry thirsty throat. I whirled around to look at Bella. She was sleeping soundly, her hair all around her, where it had dried in the shape of her pillow. A little laugh escaped my lips and the monster was instantly caged, even though the dull ache in my throat continued to burn.

Charlie reconnected Bella’s battery cables and left to meet Harry Clearwater at the lake in that moment. I was busy watching over Bella, though. I didn’t have time to deal with anyone else’s thoughts. My arms were still feeling cold from Bella’s absence, but my heart had warmed since I reentered her bedroom. I continually breathed in several large generous gulps of air, letting her scent burn my throat, sending painful pleasure through my body.

I sat in the rocking chair, afraid pulling her into my arms would wake her now. An hour passed, and she still hadn’t moved. I would have thought her dead if it weren’t for her regular pulse and light snoring.

Suddenly Bella moaned, putting her arm over her face and then she rolled over. She was still for a moment. Her heart started pounding, and her pulse began racing. I was worried but then, instantly, she was sitting up, “Oh!” she breathed.

She met my gaze and I smiled, “Your hair looks like a haystack…but I like it,” I teased.

Her hair was splayed across her face…she was adorable. In a fluid movement, by her standards, she was out of the bed and into my arms, clutching herself to me, “Edward! You stayed!” she exulted. My arms instantly engulfed her and brought her to my chest.

She became stone under my arms and her gaze met mine, worry in her expression. She must be worried she went too far but when she threw herself into my arms, I was instantly satisfied, my arms simultaneously warming. I laughed, joyous, “Of course,” I told her.

My hands were at her back and began moving up and down gently, caressing her. She shivered in pleasure. I breathed in her delicious scent. Her head met my shoulder, and I brought my arms around her again, securing her to my chest.

“I was sure it was a dream,” she mused.

“You’re not that creative,” I teased.

“Charlie,” she exclaimed, leaving my arms quickly to go to the door.

My arms stung without her presence, like they were turning to ice.

“He left an hour ago ?C after reattaching your battery cables, I might add. I have to admit I was disappointed. Is that really all it would take to stop you, if you were determined to go?” I asked, curious.

She stood in the middle of her room, with a confused expression on her face, unresponsive to my question, “You’re not usually this confused in the morning,” I noted.

My arms were still stinging unbearably now. I held my arms out, welcoming her back into my embrace. She stared at me, wavered, and then spoke, “I need another human minute,” she explained.

“I’ll wait.”

Bella literally skipped to the bathroom. I had never seen her do that, and it sent a new sensation spiraling down my spine. I still didn’t know Bella, there were so many things I didn’t understand and I wanted to know everything about it. Her expressions, her thoughts and feelings. I gritted my teeth, and tightened my eyes shut trying to read her thoughts once more. Nothing, not even a hum, murmur, or buzz. Absolutely…frustrating, there was no other word for it. I heard the water running in the bathroom again and I was extremely happy that she wasn’t taking another warm shower. The memory of the scent left painful scorch marks in my throat.

I heard the water turn off. She ran back into the room and I immediately held out my arms, pleading obvious on my face. For her to be in my arms was a necessity at this moment. I couldn’t remain in this chair for long if she wasn’t locked in my arms.

“Welcome back,” I murmured.

Her heart began beating rapidly and she embraced me back. I held her to my chest, rocking her lightly back and forth while lightly tracing her bodies every line. A rush of sensations was rippling through my body, at each electric jolt; jubilance, happiness, triumph…the uplifting joy I was feeling was indescribable.

Bella grabbed the collar of my shirt, “You left?” she accused.

I felt so light-hearted at this moment, “I could hardly leave in the clothes I came in ?C what would the neighbors think?” I teased, not like the neighbors would see me.

Her bottom lip was suddenly protruding from her face. My new desires and the passion I was always feeling for her flared up and I wanted to bring my mouth to hers to nibble on her lower lip. No mistakes, I told myself. If I were to slip, I might break the skin. I decided to distract myself, “You were very deeply asleep; I didn’t miss anything,” I stared at her, “The talking came earlier.”

She groaned loudly and I automatically brought my arms around her to comfort her.

“What did you hear?” she moaned.

“You said you loved me.” I explained with adoration in my joyous expression.

“You knew that already,” she noted, bringing her head to my chest again.

Her warmth was insatiable and I brought her scent into my lungs again and again, relishing in the burning desires.

“It was nice to hear, just the same,” I explained.

She didn’t even hesitate, “I love you,” she whispered softly.

My heart, unbeating, felt like it grew to ten times its normal size, a walking stereo type for the Grinch. I wrapped my arms around her in this moment, holding her closely while inhaling the delicate scent that I would on no account be able to acquire enough of.

I was holding Bella in my arms as she was confessing her love to me. I had to affirm my affections for her, and love wasn’t an effective enough declaration, “You are my life now.” I replied with an understated fervor.

Not one word escaped her mouth, but she drew me closer to her warm body. Her reaction was all the confirmation I needed. She understood. It would be foolish for me to deny myself the warmth of this soul. After several moments of pure bliss, I recalled her human weakness, “Breakfast time,” I said, letting her know that I didn’t forget all her human frailties.

She glanced at me and in an abrupt action she grasped her neck with both hands. Her eyes widened in terror. I was instantly distressed, terrified that she thought I was going to drink from her. She comprehended my reaction. It must be apparent on my face.

“Kidding!” she giggled, “And you said I couldn’t act!” she pointed out.

I felt a moment of unease. Unbelievable! How could she possibly think of her life as a joke? Did she think so little of me, too? I was offended and a little out-raged, “That wasn’t funny.” I stated with vexation clear on my face.

“It was very funny, and you know it,” she responded, laugh lines still present on her cheeks.

Nothing could smoother her uplifted mood or mine. She continued to examine my face. The anger I was feeling fled from my body as quickly as it came, “Shall I rephrase?” I inspected her face, “Breakfast time for the human.”

“Oh, okay,” she answered with a smirk.

I felt suddenly playful. I grabbed her up, and in the gentlest of ways, tossed her over my shoulder. She caught her breath and her pulse raced. The warmth emitted from her like the sun. Her scent was assaulting my nose, and entering my lungs in waves. I reveled in it because I knew the cold would return as soon as I placed her back on her feet. I disappeared down the stairs and in a seconds time I was in the kitchen. With my new discipline of my easy touch coming more naturally, I placed Bella carefully on a chair.

“What’s for breakfast?” she asked with smile lines still prominent on her face.

Crap, I groaned internally. I remembered that she needed food, but I didn’t think to learn to make food. I still hadn’t found out all her little secrets like all the things she liked and disliked, including foods.

“Er, I’m not sure,” I answered honestly, “What would you like?”

I was hoping she wouldn’t ask for anything difficult. A pop tart maybe? Disgusting! I could see my reflection in her bright brown eyes and I watched as my brow furrowed at the complexity that was food. I was stumped on what to do.

She could read the apprehension on my face. She grinned her magnificent smile, bounded toward the cabinets and began searching.

“That’s all right,” she giggled, “I fend for myself pretty well. Watch me hunt.”

My gaze followed her every move. I saw how she bounced on each of her steps. How every time she found something distasteful she would slightly shake her head, and when she was considering her options she would purse her lips. When she found something to her liking, she pulled it out of the cabinet and placed it on the table returning to the fridge to grab something else, and then added the two together. I could smell the sourness of the milk and the wheat from the cereal. It was repulsive. How could she eat something like that? No wonder she was so frail.

She froze, “Can I get you something?” she asked.

If she was meaning to offer me some of her food the answer was undeniably, ‘no thanks’! I just rolled my eyes at the thought, “Just eat Bella.” I commanded.

She sat at the table and never moved her gaze from my expressions. I continued to watch myself mirrored in her eyes. I saw how she placed the food in her mouth and watched as her communicative eyes delighted in each bite. She made a light coughing nose, pulling me from my distraction, “What’s on the agenda for today?” she wondered.

“Hmmm…” I thought carefully on how I would tell her about meeting my family.

It is still her decision, I reminded myself.

“What would you say to meeting my family?” I framed the answer as a question, giving her options.

I heard the loud swallow of her food. Was she anxious?

“Are you afraid now?” I asked, afraid myself, though I formed the question as sounding hopeful so she wouldn’t notice my panic that was bringing a light haze to my brain.

“Yes,” she admitted.

There was an automatic tightening of my muscles. I wanted to reassure her, “Don’t worry,” I grinned playfully, hoping this would ease her mind. “I’ll protect you,” I added.

It was an understatement. No one would ever lay one finger on her.

“I’m not afraid of them,” she explained, “I’m afraid they won’t…like me. Won’t they be, well, surprised that you would bring someone…like me…home to meet them? Do they know that I know about them?” She asked nervously.

“Oh, they already know everything. They’d taken bets yesterday, you know” I smiled at her, trying to show her how little stock I put in their games, but she could read the revulsion on my face, “on whether I’d bring you back, though why anyone would bet against Alice, I can’t imagine. At any rate, we don’t have secrets in the family. It’s not really feasible, what with my mind reading and Alice seeing the future and all that.”

“And Jasper making you feel all warm and fuzzy about spilling your guts, don’t forget that.”

“You paid attention,” I smiled.

Of course she paid attention, she was always absorbing more information than I was releasing.

“I’ve been known to do that every now and then,” she frowned. “So did Alice see me coming?” she asked.

A memory came floating to the forefront of my mind; Bella as a vampire. Suddenly the onslaught of memories of Alice’s visions overpowered me. I was temporarily still, “Something like that,” I murmured.

I saw how my face looked in her eyes and turned my head swiftly, unable to hide my expressions of pain, horror and…happiness. A distraction, that is what I need right now.

“Is that any good?” I asked.

I was actually kind of curious now, “Honestly, it doesn’t look very appetizing.”

“Well, it’s no irritable grizzly…”

I growled under my breath at her causal talk of our hunting. She ignored me. She continued to eat her food. Sometimes a crease would appear between her eyes and the curiosity would flare inside me. Unknowingly, I began probing her mind. It was something I did naturally, without effort. Once again I reached an invisible barrier that let me no farther than the deepest depths of her eyes. I turned towards the window to hide my facial expressions.

Another distraction, that is what I needed, “And you should introduce me to your father, too, I think.”

“He already knows you,” she exclaimed, horror in her voice.

It worked, I was distracted. Did she not want me to meet him… maybe I should explain, “As your boyfriend, I mean.”

She glared at me apprehensively, “Why?”

I was confused, “Isn’t that customary?” I wondered.

“I don’t know,” she admitted.

She hesitated for a minute before continuing, “That’s not necessary, you know. I don’t expect you to…I mean, you don’t have to pretend for me.”

Pretend? She was my life now, didn’t she remember our conversation from only a few moments ago. There was nothing about my affections for her that were in any way false.

“I’m not pretending,” I smiled to let her know that this was not a lie.

She didn’t say anything, the quiet of the room biting at my uneasy thoughts. I watched as she moved her food around her bowl. She bit her lower lip. Would she break the skin? I was worried about her and my words came out sharper then I intended, “Are you going to tell Charlie I’m your boyfriend or not?”

“Is that what you are?”

Wasn’t it? Maybe we hadn’t declared our status, but I thought it was obvious. I decided that I was her…boyfriend, “It’s a loose interpretation of the word ‘boy,’ I’ll admit.”

“I was under the impression that you were something more, actually,” she admitted while she turned her gaze to the table.

A joyous feeling suddenly broke free and through my body. My frozen veins full of venom, of death, were instantly pulsing with a jubilant sensation, reveling in the life and soul of her, of Bella.

“Well, I don’t know if we need to give him all the gory details,” I mused.

Her gaze had not returned to me, and I took decisive action so I could read her conversational eyes. I lightly brought my finger to her chin, using the lightest of pressure, and brought her gaze to mine, “But he will need some explanation for why I’m around here so much. I don’t want Chief Swan getting a restraining order put on me.”

“Will you be? Will you really be here?”

She sounded anxious, worried.

“As long as you want me,” I assured her, quickly.

“I’ll always want you. Forever.” She sounded like she was warning me.

I walked around the table so I could be closer to her. I paused, leaving a small distance between us. I brought my hand to her face, and gently, I touched her cheek with my finger tips. A red hot desire washed over me as her warmth engulfed me. I had barely touched her, yet I felt her heat flowing up my arm and filling my body with a need, my need for her.

“Does that make you sad?” she asked.

I didn’t want Bella, I needed her. I needed her like she needs air. Couldn’t she tell it wasn’t sadness on my face, that is was something else? Bliss, ecstasy, pure joy was radiating off me like a nuclear explosion had imploded inside me, sending waves of happiness to all those who surrounded me. Couldn’t she feel it?

“Are you finished?”

She hoped up out of her seat, eager, “Yes.”

“Get dressed ?C I’ll wait here.” I commanded.

She bounded up the stairs, skipping two at a time. I waited for her at the foot of the stairs. When she was out of sight, my imagination got the better of me. The thought of her exposed body while she tried on clothes sent new desires rippling through me. I immediately reprimanded myself. I had to remember that she was fragile and innocent. I couldn’t fathom how I would feel if I were to harm a single hair on her body, or worse, if I were to become so physical with her that my need and my desire became thirst and hunger. I shuddered and pushed the thoughts away.

My husband’s not going to be home for a while; maybe I should call him…

She is so sexy; I wonder what it would feel like to…

The pink top or the white top

Several thoughts from the surrounding neighborhood intruded on my mind. Human’s minds were always unoriginal and sometimes completely disgusting. How they thought of each other as interchangeable made me sick.

I heard Bella’s door open, “Okay,” she called while running down the stairs, “I’m decent.”

I watched her as if she were in slow motion. She over stepped and in a fluid movement she ran right into me. I held her to steady her. And to feel her warmth, I added. I have to admit, I could have stopped her before she fell into me, but I didn’t want to.

She was wearing a skirt and the dark blue blouse she wore when I rescued her in Port Angeles. The way her blouse hugged her body caused a hollow yearning in my stomach and the excess of venom flowed freely in my mouth at her delicious aroma. I brought my lips to her neck, and I resisted.

“Wrong again,” I whispered in her ear, “You are utterly indecent ?C no one should look so tempting, it’s not fair.”

She trembled under my breath.

“Tempting how? I can change…” Bella asked, worried. Or was it fear in her voice now? Was she finally coming to her senses? Of course not, that would never happen.

“You as so absurd,” I told her.

I brought my lips to her forehead, letting the dry ache have its way with me.

“Shall I explain how you are tempting me?”

I brought myself ever closer to her, taking her into my embrace. Gentle, I reminded myself. I slowly stroked my fingertips down her spine. She trembled and her pulse speed up. My wanting; longing was taking a grasp on my senses. I felt the new creature, desire, rejoice as I brought my lips closer to hers. My craving was over powering. I could feel her cheeks warming from the rise of emotions. Passion flowed freely in my veins. I was taking in the air around us. Every particle of air in the room was saturated with Bella’s fragrance. The temptation to bring her neck to my teeth was strong. Her hands were on my chest, warming my dead heart. I brought my face closer to hers, bringing our lips inches apart. I took in another generous gulp of her fragrance and brought my lips to hers. I parted her slips slightly as euphoria fell over me and my body was screaming in exultation.

I was holding Bella tightly against my chest when suddenly she went limp in my arms. I was alarmed. Did I squeeze her too tight? Had I hurt her? I was panicking. I checked my hold on her, making sure my arms were gentle. I wasn’t exerting any more pressure then I had all night when I was holding her.

“Bella?” I whispered in fear.

Her eyes fluttered and met mine. She was breathless, “You…made…me…faint,” she said.

I rejoiced at her voice. I couldn’t read her eyes, they were unfocused.

“What am I going to do with you?” I groaned in exasperation. “Yesterday I kiss you, and you attack me! Today you pass out on me!”

She was still limp in my arms, but a small laugh came out of her lips, “That’s the problem. You’re too good. Far, far too good.”

She was still unmoving in my arms. I was holding her up. She looked dizzy, “Do you feel sick?”

“No ?C that wasn’t the same kind of fainting at all. I don’t know what happened.” She shook her head, “I think I forgot to breath.”

She hadn’t taken a breath, I remembered. What would Esme and Alice think if I brought her over there like this?

“I can’t take you anywhere like this.”

“I’m fine,” she insisted, “Your family is going to think I’m insane anyway, what’s the difference?”

I suppressed a sigh, deciding another distraction was needed. I looked down at her clothes.

“I’m very partial to that color with your skin,” I told her.

The flood of blood to her cheeks made her glow. She was glorious.

“Look, I’m trying really hard not to think about what I’m about to do, so can we go already?” she said impatiently.

“And you’re worried, not because you’re headed to meet a houseful of vampires, but because you think those vampires won’t approve of you, correct?”

“That’s right,” she answered quickly…and maybe a hint of surprise in her voice.

I moved my head back and forth, “You’re incredible.”

As my house became visible Bella’s eyes widened in surprise. I watched her eyes dart from the trees, the lawn, and finally to the house.

“Wow.” She exclaimed.

I smiled, “You like it?”

“It…has a certain charm.” She replied.

Bella’s here! Alice bellowed from her mind. I ignored her.

I reached out and pulled the end of her ponytail lightly. What a human gesture, I mused to myself. I chuckled lightly. I parked her truck and was out of the driver’s side door and outside her door opening it before she realized I was gone. She didn’t even blink at the fast movement, she expected it.

“Ready?” I asked her.

“Not even a little bit ?C let’s go” she attempted a laugh. It sounded more like choking. She was patting her hair, a nervous gesture.

“You look lovely,” I reassured her.

I took her hand in mine, leading her up the porch. She was tense. I began caressing her hand with my thumb, trying to soothe her.

“Carlisle, they are on the porch,” Esme called.

I opened the door to the house for Bella; she stepped in, still tense. I found it odd that Alice wasn’t waiting at the door. I watched as Bella’s eyes searched the house, looking for something suspect, I assumed. Her eyes darted from the far wall, which was made of only glass, to the piano and then to the staircase where Esme and Carlisle were waiting for us. They were grinning at her, but didn’t approach.

She is lovely! Esme thought.

Then the scent hit her, I can see her initial appeal, she does smell wonderful…don’t worry Edward, I’d never hurt her. Esme’s thoughts continued.

Welcome home, Edward. Carlisle thought.

“Carlisle, Esme, this is Bella.” I introduced them.

“You’re very welcome, Bella,” Carlisle stepped closer.

She isn’t…scared is she? Carlisle wondered.

I shook my head in a motion that Bella wouldn’t have noticed. Each step Carlisle took was slow, careful, and cautious. He raised his hand to shake Bella’s. She stepped forward without hesitating and shook his hand, “It’s nice to see you again, Dr. Cullen.”

“Please, call me Carlisle.”

“Carlisle,” Bella grinned.

I was relieved that this initial meeting was over with, and I was sure Bella could read my body language.

Is she even nervous? Esme wondered, looking in my direction. I shook my head behind Bella.

Oh…I knew she was meant for you, and so maybe she is meant for our life too, Edward. Esme thought.

I banished the idea from my head immediately. I couldn’t let myself…hope…to take her life.

Esme stepped forward, feeling elated about this meeting, and reached her hand to shake Bella’s also. Bella took her hand like she was meeting a normal human.

“It’s very nice to know you,” Esme said sincerely.

“Thank you. I’m glad to meet you, too.” Bella truly looked happy.

During these first meetings with my vampire parents Bella’s pulse didn’t speed up once. She was brave. Alice was still a no show. I searched for her thoughts and found them.

No, that color doesn’t look right…yes, blue, Edward loves it when Bella wears blue. That’s it, this dress will look spectacular on her!

“Where is Alice and Jasper?” I called out to them.

They both appeared at the top of the stairs in that second.

“Hey, Edward!” Alice called enthusiastically.

This is what I’ve been waiting for. Alice dived down the stairs and was abruptly in front of Bella.

I wanted to shout at her for doing this, but I decided that saying something in front of Bella was not a wise idea. She was taking everything so well, no need to scare her now. I knew Alice wouldn’t hurt Bella, she loved her, too. Esme and Carlisle were giving her a reproving look.

“Hi, Bella!” Alice literally bounced forward and kissed her cheek.

I saw Esme grab Carlisle by the arm, like she was holding herself back.

Oh my! Esme thought.

I felt the temptation of Bella’s seductive scent through Alice’s thoughts. I was immediately tense.

Pipe down! She hissed in her head at me.

“You do smell nice, I never noticed before,” Alice mused.

Blood began flooding up Bella’s face as she blushed a light pink. I was anxious again when I realized the scent had finally reached Jasper.

Jasper quickly stopped the flow of air going into his lungs, refusing to take in anymore of her scent. The twin thirsts I felt whenever I was around Jasper were quieted. I felt relieved. He could still taste the curiosity and flavor of Bella from everyone’s emotions.

I still don’t see why you have such a fixation. Jasper thought.

He automatically emitted a flood of peace and calm. It swirled around her and she mirrored his emotions back. My eyebrow raised on its own. What was he doing?

“Hello Bella,” Jasper said, using part of his air supply left in his lungs.

He kept his distance, heeding my previous warnings. Or, maybe, just maybe, he really was trying to not have the overwhelming need to feed. He was too busy concentrating for there to be any coherent thoughts.

“Hello, Jasper.” Bella smiled at him, a light pink tinge still present on her cheeks. “It’s nice to meet you all ?C you have a very beautiful home.” Bella’s eyes searched the room again.

She’s sweet, too! Esme thought.

“Thank you, we’re so glad that you came.” Esme replied.

Me too! Alice thought.

She is so brave… Esme’s thoughts continued.

She was quickly becoming absorbed with Bella, too. She was trying desperately to hide her other thoughts from me. I’d heard the thoughts before, but she was probably oblivious about thinking it. She had always thought there was something defective with me. Now, she was jubilant, joyous, that I had finally found someone.

Edward, Carlisle called out to me in his mind.

His eyes met mine; Alice has seen a coven, three of them, that will be very close to Forks. I didn’t want to say anything in front of Bella. I wasn’t sure how she would take the news. They know we are here, which means that they might make an appearance. Alice said they were curious.

Alice knew we were having a conversation. She was well practiced with our silent ones. She knew what we were communicating about and wanted to tack on any information she felt might be left out, or to just bug me, knowing her it could be either one.

I don’t think they will be coming close to home, but it is a possibility. I knew that the news of a coven feeding in the area would be important to you considering you love a human. Alice added. And I love her too.

I nodded once to acknowledge their thoughts. I would tell Bella though. The word secret had a different meaning to me now, because I knew from now on I would tell her all of them. They would be our secrets.

I tried to not listen to my family’s thoughts, but they were always as clear as if they were talking directly to me. I watched a vision along with Alice as it played out in her head; I was playing the piano, Bella in awe. The vision shifted and we were talking about the cross in the hall.

So far, the day looks uneventful, Alice mused. She was wrong about the day being uneventful. Every brief moment of time was tremendously significant to me, and very much so…eventful.

And Emmett wanted me to tell you sorry for not being here… Rosalie has become…irritated at the fascination Emmett has on humans now. She remembered a conversation about the Ben kid from Spanish class.

Of course, I thought. I returned my gaze to Bella. We were so close I could still feel the warmth flowing through my body from hers. I inhaled her scent while my wild desires and new found sensations went through my body. Jasper gave me a look. I knew he could feel everything I was feeling. Esme’s thoughts brought me back to the room.

She keeps staring at the piano, Esme pondered.

“Do you play?” Esme asked Bella, leaning her head to suggest the piano.

Bella shook her head, “Not at all. But it’s so beautiful. Is it yours?” she wondered.

I added this news to the list of things I knew about Bella, which was growing at a massive rate. She doesn’t play the piano, but liked the piano…she was classy.

Why haven’t you told her? Esme scolded me.

“No,” Esme laughed, a sign of ease, “Edward didn’t tell you he was musical?”

“No,” Bella glared in my direction, indignation on her face. I formed an innocent expression, anticipating her reaction. “I should have known, I guess.” she added.

I don’t understand, Esme lifted her eyebrows at her words.

“Edward can do everything, right?” she explained.

Did she really believe that? She was so absurd.

What have you been telling her? Whatever it is, I want to know…I mean seriously, you have got to be kidding me, Jasper thought and then snickered aloud.

Tisk, tisk, Esme criticized.

“I hope you haven’t been showing off ?C it’s rude,” Esme reprimanded me.

“Just a bit,” I laughed.

Please keep her around…please please please. I have never seen you so light hearted. Esme thought.

Bella distracted me from Esme, “He’s been too modest, actually.” she corrected.

“Well, play for her,” Esme encouraged me. You can play her the song that she inspired, sheadded mentally.

“You just said showing off was rude,” I objected feebly.

She smiled, “There are exceptions to every rule.”

I turned my gaze to Bella, “I’d like to hear you play,” Bella insisted.

“It’s settled then,” Esme pushed me to the piano.

At the look on Bella’s eager face it was inconceivable to think to say no to her. I conceded. I reached for Bella, bringing her into my side and taking her to the piano. I breathed in her heady scent while the electric pulse that always came from our touch surged through my body.

He just casually touches her…how fantastic. Esme thought.

We sat at the bench, her warmth warming my cold skin from the inside out. I turned my gaze to her, gauging her reaction. I didn’t know what to play.

Her song Edward, her song…Esme encouraged.

I was still looking at Bella and she could sense the exasperation in my face. I placed my hands on the keys then, and settled on playing Esme’s favorite. I was measuring Bella’s expression. After a few seconds I watched her face go from peaceful to shocked instantly. Her mouth opened in astonishment. I heard my family members chuckling behind me at Bella’s reaction. I was probing their minds to see all the different views of Bella at once. What was she thinking? Was it good or was it bad?

“Do you like it?” I inquired.

“You wrote this?” she inhaled quickly, realization in her eyes.

I nodded, “It’s Esme’s favorite.” I noted.

We are just going to leave you two alone. Esme nodded to the others to leave, she is wonderful… no wonder he is so protective of her.

I ignored the crowd leaving the room because I was so absorbed by Bella’s every reaction. I watched as she lightly closed her eyes in exasperation and shook her head back and forth. Did I do something?

“What’s wrong?”

She looked saddened, or upset. “I’m feeling extremely insignificant.” she explained.

I decided to take Esme’s advice and play her song. The music slowed, and I began playing the beautiful song that I had composed and changed many times since I had met her until it became the sweetest of notes blending together to make magic.

“You inspired this one,” I whispered, making sure she understood that she was the most significant thing in my world. She was speechless. The silence of her thoughts was just as frustrating as ever. I breathed her in, letting the flames rip down my throat. Desire was constantly raging a war inside me. She was still silent.

“They like you, you know.” I admitted, “Esme especially.”

Her eyes darted over her shoulder and then around the room. “Where did they go?”

“Very subtly giving us some privacy, I suppose,” though I knew they could hear everything that was going on in the room.

Bella sighed and I turned to look at her again.

“They like me. But Rosalie and Emmett…” she trailed off but I understood where her thoughts were going, for once, I added.

Of course she would notice that they weren’t here. I didn’t want to talk about Rosalie. My lips turned down, “Don’t worry about Rosalie, she’ll come around.” I lied smoothly, though I hoped one day she would.

She looked unconvinced, “Emmet?” she wondered.

“Well, he thinks I’m a lunatic, it’s true, but he doesn’t have a problem with you. He’s trying to reason with Rosalie,” I tried to explain.

I looked into her wide eyes, trying to read her thoughts. I saw the line between her eyes crease at the complexity of her mind, “What is it that upsets her?” she finally asked. She looked anxious, waiting for my explanation.

I didn’t want to tell her something that would possibly upset her. The thought of causing her any type of pain sent an overwhelming feeling of remorse through my body. I took in a deep breath, a sigh really. The burning temptation was still present. I distracted myself, no more secrets, “Rosalie struggles the most with…with what we are. It’s hard for her to have someone on the outside know the truth. And she’s a little jealous.” I explained, the words coming quickly.

Her eyes grew wide during my explanation, “Rosalie is jealous of me?”

“You’re human,” I shrugged. I thought it was obvious why she would be jealous of something as magnificent as her, “She wishes that she were, too.” I continued to explain after seeing her question my first statement.

“Oh,” she looked upset by this, but shock was still present on her delicate face. Her facial expressions changed to contemplation. I wanted to groan in exasperation from her quiet mind. What was she thinking? Her short pauses were the loudest silence I have ever heard.

“Even Jasper, though…” she left the sentence hanging, realizing I would understand her thoughts. She didn’t know how much I didn’t comprehend them, though. I sighed.

“That’s really my fault,” I explained, “I told you he was the most recent to try our way of life. I warned him to keep his distance.”

I watched while a shiver ran down her spine. Was she finally scared or was she cold?

“Esme and Carlisle…?” she added quickly.

“Are happy to see me happy. Actually, Esme wouldn’t care if you had a third eye and webbed feet. All this time she’s been worried about me, afraid that there was something missing from my essential make up, that I was too young when Carlisle change me…She’s ecstatic. Every time I touch you, she just about chokes with satisfaction.” I finished her sentence.

“Alice seems very…enthusiastic.” Bella noted.

Of course she noticed.

“Alice has her own way of looking at things,” my lips grew tight at the many visions I had seen in her head since I meet Bella.

She must have read the hesitation in my voice, “And you’re not going to explain that, are you?”

I saw myself mirrored in her eyes, watching as each of our expressions changed in unison. She knew I was keeping Alice’s visions from her. There were several good reasons why I was keeping these from her. One, I didn’t want to scare her, and two, I didn’t want her to get any ideas. No, I would still not confess what I have seen through the eyes of a psychic.

“So what was Carlisle telling you before?” she asked, bringing me from my distraction.

She was incredible. She picked up on all the signs that I thought were subtle. Was she really that perceptive or was my fa?ade waning? I could see the wrinkle appear between my brows through the reflection of her deep brown eyes.

“You noticed that, did you?” it wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

She shrugged, like there was nothing unusual about the whole situation, “Of course,” she murmured.

Better tell her now, I suppose. I monitored her face, I continued to play her song. She seemed complacent enough so I answered, “He wanted to tell me some news ?C he didn’t know if it was something I would share with you.”

“Will you?” she responded quickly, eagerly.

“I have to, because I’m going to be a little…over-bearingly protective over the next few days ?C or weeks ?C and I wouldn’t want you to think I’m naturally a tyrant.” I said.

“What’s wrong?” she gasped in horror. Her blood started warming and moving at a quicker pace. The monster inside me clawed at my bones, wanting to embrace the temptation. I took in her fragrance, letting it fill my lungs. I easily over-rode any enticement this caused me.

“Nothing’s wrong, exactly. Alice just sees some visitors coming soon. They know we’re here, and they’re curious,” I explained quickly, trying to calm her now rampant pulse.

“Visitors?” she questioned.

“Yes…well, they aren’t like us, of course ?C in their hunting habits, I mean. They probably won’t come into town at all, but I’m certainly not going to let you out of my sight till they’re gone.” I watched her face apprehensively.

Her body trembled under stress.

“Finally, a rational response!” I exclaimed, “I was beginning to think you had no sense of self-preservation at all.”

She didn’t contest my observation and I was shocked that she would have this reaction to anything dangerous at all. Her blood slowed in her veins bringing her pulse back to its normal speed. She turned her face from mine, her eyes flowing from one end of the house to the other, distracted. I followed her gaze. Was she still looking for something suspect? “Not what you expected is it?” I asked.

“No,” she admitted, returning her gaze to me briefly before continuing to soak up the rooms setting.

“No coffins, no piled skills in the corners; I don’t even think we have cobwebs…what a disappointment this must be for you,” I teased.

She remained serious, “It’s so light…so open,” she said.

“It’s the one place we never have to hide,” I explained to her. I also wanted to admit that she was included in this place… I would never have to hide from her.

My fingers were on the piano, automatically playing. The song was finally coming to a close. When it was finished Bella looked at me, “Thank you,” she murmured.

I turned in my seat; bringing my whole attention back to her. There was moisture prominent in her eyes. The tears flowed over her eye lids. The aroma emitting from her tears was something I had never smelt before. She wiped the tears from her eyes. I noticed she had missed one. I brought my hand to her face, trapping a tear on my finger. I studied it. As a vampire, we could not produce tears. This was something entirely new. I brought it nonchalantly to my lips, seeing how it would taste. I was curious. It didn’t taste disgusting, but it held no significance for me. She was staring at me with curiosity flaming in her eyes.

“Do you want to see the rest of the house?” I asked, distracting her.

“No coffins?” she verified.

“No coffins,” I promised, a smile forming on my face.

We walked up the staircase that led to the upstairs where my room was. I watched her carefully as she made her way to the top. She was lightly caressing the stair rail as she went. I was jealous… I wanted it to be me. When we reached the top of the stairs I pointed out rooms as we walked, “Rosalie and Emmett’s room…Carlisle’s office…Alice’s room…”

She froze, turning into a statue. Her eyes grew wide. I followed her gaze until I realized she was staring at the wooden cross at the end of the hallway. I remembered Alice’s vision.

“You can laugh,” I told her, “It is sort of ironic.” I took a deep breath, bringing her fragrance into my lungs again. I was used to the dull ache.

She brought her hand out to touch the cross, but she did not proceed, “It must be very old,” she guessed.

I shrugged, “Early sixteen-thirties, more or less.” I mused.

She turned to face me, “Why do you keep this here?”

“Nostalgia. It belonged to Carlisle’s father.” I explained. I knew I was giving more information away then I had ever told a single soul before.

“He collected antiques?” she suggested doubtfully.

“No. He carved it his himself. It hung on the wall above the pulpit in the vicarage where he preached.” I said.

She looked shocked.

“Are you all right?” I asked, worried about her expressions and silence.

“How old is Carlisle?” she wondered, trying to do the mental math in her head. I watched as her eyes looked fully in thought. I could almost see here calculating the numbers mentally.

“He just celebrated his three hundred and sixty-second birthday,” I admitted.

She looked at me, questions burning in her eyes. I knew I would answer them all, if she were to ask. I took in another deep breath while I let her scent assault me.

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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon Chapter 14 FAMILY

I COWERED INTO JACOB’S SIDE, MY EYES SCANNING the forest for the other werewolves. When they appeared, striding out from between the trees, they weren’t what I was expecting. I’d gotten the image of the wolves stuck in my head. These were just four really big half-naked boys.

Again, they reminded me of brothers, quadruplets. Something about the way they moved almost in synchronization to stand across the road from us, the way they all had the same long, round muscles under the same red-brown skin, the same cropped black hair, and the way their expressions altered at exactly the same moment.

They started out curious and cautious. When they saw me there, half-hidden beside Jacob, they all became furious in the same second.

Sam was still the biggest, though Jacob was getting close to catching up with him. Sam didn’t really count as a boy. His face was older??not in the sense of lines or signs of aging, but in the matunry, the patience of his expression.

“What have you done, Jacob?” he demanded.

One of the others, one I didn’t recognize??Jared or Paul??thrust past Sam and spoke before Jacob could defend himself.

“Why can’t you just follow the rules, Jacob?” he yelled, throwing his arms in the air. “What the hell are you thinking? Is she more important than everything??than the whole tribe? Than the people getting killed?”

“She can help,” Jacob said quietly.

“Help!” the angry boy shouted. His arms begin to quiver. “Oh, that’s likely! I’m sure the leech-lover is just dying to help us out!”

“Don’t talk about her like that!” Jacob shouted back, stung by the boy’s criticism.

A shudder rippled through the other boy, along his shoulders and down his spine.

“Paul! Relax!” Sam commanded.

Paul shook his head back and forth, not in defiance, but as though he were trying to concentrate.

“Jeez, Paul,” one of the other boys??probably Jared??muttered. “Get a grip.”

Paul twisted his head toward Jared, his lips curling back in irritation. Then he shifted his glare in my direction. Jacob took a step to put himself in front of me.

That did it.

“Right, protect her!” Paul roared in outrage. Another shudder, a convulsion, heaved through his body. He threw his head back, a real growl tearing from between his teeth.

“Paul!” Sam and Jacob shouted together.

Paul seemed to fall forward, vibrating violently. Halfway to the ground, there was a loud ripping noise, and the boy exploded.

Dark silver fur blew out from the boy, coalescing into a shape more than five-times his size??a massive, crouched shape, ready to spring.

The wolf’s muzzle wrinkled back over his teeth, and another growl rolled through his colossal chest. His dark, enraged eyes focused on me.

In the same second, Jacob was running across the road straight for the monster.

“Jacob!” I screamed.

Mid-stride, a long tremor shivered down Jacob’s spine. He leaped forward, diving headfirst into the empty air.

With another sharp tearing sound, Jacob exploded, too. He burst out of his skin??shreds of black and white cloth blasted up into the air. It happened so quickly that if I’d blinked, I’d have missed the entire transformation. One second it was Jacob diving into the air, and then it was the gigantic, russet brown wolf??so enormous that I couldn’t make sense of its mass somehow fitting inside Jacob??charging the crouched silver beast.

Jacob met the other werewolf’s attack head-on. Their angry snarls echoed like thunder off the trees.

The black and white scraps??the remains of Jacob’s clothes??fluttered to the ground where he’d disappeared.

“Jacob!” I screamed again, staggering forward.

“Stay where you are, Bella,” Sam ordered. It was hard to hear him over the roar of the fighting wolves. They were snapping and tearing at each other, their sharp teeth flashing toward each other’s throats. The Jacob-wolf seemed to have the upper hand??he was visibly bigger than the other wolf, and it looked like le was stronger, too. He rammed his shoulder against the gray wolf again and again, knocking him back toward the trees.

“Take her to Emily’s,” Sam shouted toward the other boys, who were watching the conflict with rapt expressions. Jacob had successfully shoved the gray wolf off the road, and they were disappearing into the forest, though the sound of their snarls was still loud. Sam ran after them, kicking off his shoes on the way. As he darted into the trees, he was quivering from head to toe.

The growling and snapping was fading into the distance. Suddenly, the sound cut off and it was very quiet on the road.

One of the boys started laughing.

I turned to stare at him??my wide eyes felt frozen, like I couldn’t even blink them.

The boy seemed to be laughing at my expression. “Well, there’s something you don’t see every day,” he

snickered. His face was vaguely familiar??thinner than the others?? Embry Call.

“I do,” the other boy, Jared, grumbled. “Every single day.”

“Aw, Paul doesn’t lose his temper every day,” Embry disagreed, still grinning. “Maybe two out of three.”

Jared stopped to pick something white up off the ground. He held it up toward Embry; it dangled in limp strips from his hand.

“Totally shredded,” Jared said. “Billy said this was the last pair he could afford??guess Jacob’s going barefoot now.”

“This one survived,” Embry said, holding up a white sneaker. “Jake can hop,” he added with a laugh.

Jared started collecting various pieces of fabric from the dirt. “Get Sam’s shoes, will you? All the rest of this is headed for the trash.”

Embry grabbed the shoes and then jogged into the trees where Sam had disappeared. He was back in a few seconds with a pair of cut-off jeans draped over his arm. Jared gathered the torn remnants of Jacob’s and Paul’s clothes and wadded them into a ball. Suddenly, he seemed to remember me.

He looked at me carefully, assessing.

“Hey, you’re not going to faint or puke or anything?” he demanded.

“I don’t think so,” I gasped.

“You don’t look so good. Maybe you should sit down.”

“Okay,” I mumbled. For the second time in one morning, I put my head between my knees.

“Jake should have warned us,” Embry complained.

“He shouldn’t have brought his girlfriend into this. What did he expect?”

“Well, the wolf’s out of the bag now.” Embry sighed. “Way to go, Jake.”

I raised my head to glare at the two boys who seemed to be taking this all so lightly. “Aren’t you worried about them at all?” I demanded.

Embry blinked once in surprise “Worried? Why?”

“They could hurt each other!”

Embry and Jared guffawed.

“I hope Paul gets a mouthful of him,” Jared said. “Teach him a lesson.”

I blanched.

“Yeah, right!” Embry disagreed. “Did you see Jake? Even Sam couldn’t have phased on the fly like that. He saw Paul losing it, and it took him, what, half a second to attack? The boy’s got a gift.”

“Paul’s been fighting longer. I’ll bet you ten bucks he leaves a mark.”

“You’re on. Jake’s a natural. Paul doesn’t have a prayer.”

They shook hands, grinning.

I tried to comfort myself with their lack of concern, but I couldn’t drive the brutal image of the fighting werewolves from my head. My stomach churned, sore and empty, my head ached with worry.

“Let’s go see Emily. You know she’ll have food waiting.” Embry looked down at me. “Mind giving us a ride?”

“No problem,” I choked.

Jared raised one eyebrow. “Maybe you’d better drive, Embry. She still looks like she might hurl.”

“Good idea. Where are the keys?” Embry asked me.

“Ignition.”

Embry opened the passenger-side door. “In you go,” he said cheerfully, hauling me up from the ground with one hand and stuffing me into my seat. He appraised the available space. “You’ll have to ride in the back,” he told Jared.

“That’s fine. I got a weak stomach. I don’t want to be in there when she blows.”

“I bet she’s tougher than that. She runs with vampires.”

“Five bucks?” Jared asked.

“Done. I feel guilty, taking your money like this.”

Embry got in and started the engine while Jared leapt agilely into the bed. As soon as his door was closed, Embry muttered to me, “Don’t throw up, okay? I’ve only got a ten, and if Paul got his teeth into Jacob??”

“Okay,” I whispered.

Embry drove us back toward the village.

“Hey, how did Jake get around the injunction anyway?”

“The?? what?”

“Er, the order. You know, to not spill the beans. How did he tell you about this?”

“Oh, that,” I said, remembering Jacob trying to choke out the truth to me last night. “He didn’t. I guessed right.”

Embry pursed his lips, looking surprised. “Hmm. S’pose that would work.”

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Emily’s house. She’s Sam’s girlfriend?? no, fiancee, now, I guess. They’ll meet us back there after Sam gives it to them for what just happened. And after Paul and Jake scrounge up some new clothes, if Paul even has any left.”

“Does Emily know about?? ?”

“Yeah. And hey, don’t stare at her. That bugs Sam.”

I frowned at him. “Why would I stare?”

Embry looked uncomfortable. “Like you saw just now, hanging out around werewolves has its risks.” He changed the subject quickly. “Hey, are you okay about the whole thing with the black-haired bloodsucker in the meadow? It didn’t look like he was a friend of yours, but. .” Embry shrugged.

“No, he wasn’t my friend.”

“That’s good. We didn’t want to start anything, break the treaty, you know.”

“Oh, yeah, Jake told me about the treaty once, a long time ago. Why would killing Laurent break the treaty?”

“Laurent,” he repeated, snorting, like he was amused the vampire had had a name. “Well, we were technically on Cullen turf. We’re not allowed to attack any of them, the Cullens, at least, off our land??unless they break the treaty first. We didn’t know if the black-haired one was a relative of theirs or something. Looked like you knew him.”

“How would they go about breaking the treaty?”

“If they bite a human. Jake wasn’t so keen on the idea of letting it go that far.”

“Oh. Um, thanks. I’m glad you didn’t wait.”

“Our pleasure.” He sounded like he meant that in a literal sense.

Embry drove past the easternmost house on the highway before turning off onto a narrow dirt road. “Your truck is slow,” he noted.

“Sorry.”

At the end of the lane was a tiny house that had once been gray. There was only one narrow window beside the weathered blue door, but the window box under it was filled with bright orange and yellow marigolds, giving the whole place a cheerful look.

Embry opened the truck door and inhaled. “Mmm, Emily’s cooking.”

Jared jumped out of the back of the truck and headed for the door, but Embry stopped him with one hand on his chest. He looked at me meaningfully, and cleared his throat.

“I don’t have my wallet on me,” Jared said.

“That’s okay. I won’t forget.”

They climbed up the one step and entered the house without knocking. I followed timidly after them.

The front room, like Billy’s house, was mostly kitchen. A young woman with satiny copper skin and long, straight, crow-black hair was standing at the counter by the sink, popping big muffins out of a tin and placing them on a paper plate. For one second, I thought the reason Embry had told me not to stare was because the girl was so beautiful.

And then she asked “You guys hungry?” in a melodic voice, and she turned to face us full on, a smile on half of her face.

The right side of her face was scarred from hairline to chin by three thick, red lines, livid in color though

they were long healed. One line pulled down the corner of her dark, almond-shaped right eye, another twisted the right side of her mouth into a permanent grimace.

Thankful for Embry’s warning, I quickly turned my eyes to the muffins in her hands. They smelled wonderful??like fresh blueberries.

“Oh,” Emily said, surprised. “Who’s this?”

I looked up, trying to focus on the left half of her face.

“Bella Swan,” Jared told her, shrugging. Apparently, I’d been a topic of conversation before. “Who else?”

“Leave it to Jacob to find a way around,” Emily murmured. She stared at me, and neither half of her once-beautiful face was friendly. “So, you’re the vampire girl.”

I stiffened. “Yes. Are you the wolf girl?”

She laughed, as did Embry and Jared. The left half of her face warmed. “I guess I am.” She turned to Jared. “Where’s Sam?”

“Bella, er, surprised Paul this morning.”

Emily rolled her good eye. “Ah, Paul,” she sighed. “Do you think they’ll be long? I was just about to start the eggs.”

“Don’t worry,” Embry told her. “If they’re late, we won’t let anything go to waste.”

Emily chuckled, and then opened the refrigerator. “No doubt,” she agreed. “Bella, are you hungry? Go ahead and help yourself to a muffin.”

“Thanks.” I took one from the plate and started nibbling around the edges. It was delicious, and it felt good in my tender stomach. Embry picked up his third and shoved it into his mouth whole.

“Save some for your brothers,” Emily chastised him, hitting him on the head with a wooden spoon. The word surprised me, but the others thought nothing of it.

“Pig,” Jared commented.

I leaned against the counter and watched the three of them banter like a family. Emily’s kitchen was a friendly place, bright with white cupboards and pale wooden floorboards. On the little round table, a cracked blue-and-white china pitcher was overflowing with wildflowers. Embry and Jared seemed entirely at ease here.

Emily was mixing a humongous batch of eggs, several dozen, in a big yellow bowl. She had the sleeves of her lavender shirt pushed up, and I could see that the scars extended all the way down her arm to the back of her right hand. Hanging out with werewolves truly did have its risks, just as Embry had said.

The front door opened, and Sam stepped through.

“Emily,” he said, and so much love saturated his voice that I felt embarrassed, intrusive, as I watched him cross the room in one stride and take her face in his wide hands. He leaned down and kissed the dark scars on her right cheek before he kissed her lips.

“Hey, none of that,” Jared complained. “I’m eating.”

“Then shut up and eat,” Sam suggested, kissing Emily’s ruined mouth again.

“Ugh,” Embry groaned.

This was worse than any romantic movie; this was so real that it sang out loud with joy and life and true love. I put my muffin down and folded my arms across my empty chest. I stared at the flowers, trying to ignore the utter peace of their moment, and the wretched throbbing of my wounds.

I was grateful for the distraction when Jacob and Paul came through the door, and then shocked when I saw that they were laughing. While I watched, Paul punched Jacob on the shoulder and Jacob went for a kidney jab in return. They laughed again. They both appeared to be in one piece.

Jacob scanned the room, his eyes stopping when he found me leaning, awkward and out of place, against the counter in the far corner of the kitchen.

“Hey, Bells,” he greeted me cheerfully. He grabbed two muffins as he passed the table and came to stand beside me. “Sorry about before,” he muttered under his breath. “How are you holding up.'”

“Don’t worry, I’m okay. Good muffins.” I picked mine back up and started nibbhrg again. My chest felt better as soon as Jacob was beside me.

“Oh, man!” Jared wailed, interrupting us.

I looked up, and he and Embry were examining a fading pink line on Paul’s forearm. Embry was grinning, exultant.

“Fifteen dollars,” he crowed.

“Did you do that?” I whispered to Jacob, remembering the bet.

“I barely touched him. He’ll be perfect by sundown.”

“By sundown?” I looked at the line on Paul’s arm. Odd, but it looked weeks old.

“Wolf thing,” Jacob whispered.

I nodded, trying to not look weirded out.

“You okay?” I asked him under my breath.

“Not a scratch on me.” His expression was smug.

“Hey, guys,” Sam said in a loud voice, interrupting all the conversations going on in the small room. Emily was at the stove, scraping the egg mixture around a big skillet, but Sam still had one hand touching the small of her back, an unconscious gesture. “Jacob has information for us.”

Paul looked unsurprised. Jacob must have explained this to him and Sam already. Or?? they’d just heard his thoughts.

“I know what the redhead wants.” Jacob directed his words toward Jared and Embry. “That’s what I was trying to tell you before.” He kicked the leg of the chair Paul had settled into.

“And?” Jared asked.

Jacob’s face got serious. “She is trying to avenge her mate??only it wasn’t the black-haired leech we

killed. The Cullens got her mate last year, and she’s after Bella now.”

This wasn’t news to me, but I still shivered.

Jared, Embry, and Emily stared at me with open-mouthed surprise.

“She’s just a girl,” Embry protested.

“I didn’t say it made sense. But that’s why the bloodsucker’s been trying to get past us. She’s been heading for Forks.”

They continued to stare at me, mouths still hanging open, for a long moment. I ducked my head.

“Excellent,” Jared finally said, a smile beginning to pull up the corners of his mouth. “We’ve got bait.”

With stunning speed, Jacob yanked a can opener from the counter and launched it at Jared’s head. Jared’s hand flicked up faster than I would have thought possible, and he snagged the tool just before it hit his face.

“Bellais not bait.”

“You know what I mean,” Jared said, unabashed.

“So we’ll be changing oar patterns,” Sam said, ignoring their squabble. “We’ll try leaving a few holes, and see if she falls for it. We’ll have to split up, and I don’t like that. But if she’s really after Bella, she probably won’t try to take advantage of our divided numbers.”

“Quit’s got to be close to joining us,” Embry murmured. “Then we’ll be able to split evenly.”

Everyone looked down. I glanced at Jacob’s face, and it was hopeless, like it had been yesterday afternoon, outside his house. No matter how comfortable they seemed to be with their fate, here in this happy kitchen, none of these werewolves wanted the same fate for their friend.

“Well, we won’t count on that,” Sam said in a low voice, and then continued at his regular volume. “Paul, Jared, and Embry will take the outer perimeter, and Jacob and I will take the inner. We’ll collapse in when we’ve got her trapped.”

I noticed that Emily didn’t particularly like that Sam would be in the smaller grouping. Her worry had me glancing up at Jacob, worrying, too.

Sam caught my eye. “Jacob thinks it would be best if you spent as much time as possible here in La Push. She won’t know where to find you so easily, just in case.”

“What about Charlie?” I demanded.

“March Madness is still going,” Jacob said. “I think Billy and Harry can manage to keep Charlie down here when he’s not at work.”

“Wait,” Sam said, holding one hand up. His glance flickered to Emily and then back to me. “That’s what Jacob thinks is best, but you need to decide for yourself. You should weigh the risks of both options very seriously. You saw this morning how easily things can get dangerous here, how quickly they get out of hand. If you choose to stay with us, I can’t make any guarantees about your safety.”

“I won’t hurt her,” Jacob mumbled, looking down.

Sam acted as if he hadn’t heard him speak. “If there was somewhere else you felt safe??”

I bit my lip. Where could I go that wouldn’t put someone else in danger? I recoiled again from the idea of bringing Renee into this??pulling her into the circle of the target I wore?? “I don’t want to lead Victoria anywhere else,” I whispered.

Sam nodded. “That’s true. It’s better to have her here, where we can end this.”

I flinched. I didn’t want Jacob or any of the rest of them trying to end Victoria. I glanced at Jake’s face; it was relaxed, almost the same as I remembered it from before the onset of the wolf thing, and utterly unconcerned by the idea of hunting vampires.

“You’ll be careful, right?” I asked, an audible lump in my throat.

The boys burst into loud hoots of amusement. Everyone laughed at me??except Emily. She met my eyes, and I could suddenly see the symmetry underlying her deformity. Her face was still beautiful, and alive with a concern even more fierce than mine. I had to look away, before the love behind that concern could start me aching again.

“Food’s ready,” she announced then, and the strategic conversation was history. The guys hurried to surround the table??which looked tiny and in danger of being crushed by them??and devoured the buffet-sized pan of eggs Emily placed in their midst in record time. Emily ate leaning against the counter like me??avoiding the bedlam at the table??and watched them with affectionate eyes. Her expression clearly stated that this was her family.

All in all, it wasn’t exactly what I’d been expecting from a pack of werewolves.

I spent the day in La Push, the majority of it in Billy’s house. He left a message on Charlie’s phone and at the station, and Charlie showed up around dinnertime with two pizzas. It was good he brought two larges; Jacob ate one all by himself.

I saw Charlie eyeing the two of us suspiciously all night, especially the much-changed Jacob. He asked about the hair; Jacob shrugged and told him it was just more convenient.

I knew that as soon as Charlie and I were headed home, Jacob would take off??off to run around as a wolf, as he had done intermittently through the entire day. He and his brothers of sorts kept up a constant watch, looking for some sign of Victoria’s return. But since they’d chased her away from the hot springs last night??chased her halfway to Canada, according to Jacob??she’d yet to make another foray.

I had no hope at all that she might just give up. I didn’t have that kind of luck.

Jacob walked me to my truck after dinner and lingered by the window, waiting for Charlie to drive away first.

“Don’t be afraid tonight,” Jacob said, while Charlie pretended to be having trouble with his seat belt. “We’ll be out there, watching.”

“I won’t worry about myself,” I promised.

“You’re silly. Hunting vampires is fun. It’s the best part of this whole mess.”

I shook my head. “If I’m silly, then you’re dangerously unbalanced.”

He chuckled. “Get some rest, Bella, honey. You look exhausted.”

“I’lltry.”

Charlie honked his horn impatiently.

“See you tomorrow,” Jacob said. “Come down first thing.”

“Iwill.”

Charlie followed me home. I paid scant attention to the lights in my rearview mirror. Instead, I wondered where Sam and Jared and Embry and Paul were, out running in the night. I wondered if Jacob had joined them yet.

When we got home, I hurried for the stairs, but Charlie was right behind me.

“What’s going on, Bella?” he demanded before I could escape. “I thought Jacob was part of a gang and you two were fighting.”

“We made up.”

“And the gang?”

“I don’t know??who can understand teenage boys? They’re a mystery. But I met Sam Uley and his fiancee, Emily. The seemed pretty nice to me.” I shrugged. “Must have all been a misunderstanding.”

His face changed. “I hadn’t heard that he and Emily had made it official. That’s nice. Poor girl.”

“Do you know what happened to her?”

“Mauled by a bear, up north, during salmon spawning season??horrible accident It was more than a year ago now. I heard Sam was really messed up over it.”

“That’s horrible,” I echoed. More than a year ago. I’d bet that meant it had happened when there was just one werewolf in La Push. I shuddered at the thought of how Sam must have felt every time he looked at Emily’s face.

That night, I lay awake for a long time trying to sort through the day. I worked my way backward through dinner with Billy, Jacob, and C harlie, to the long afternoon in the Blacks’ house, waiting anxiously to hear something from Jacob, to Emily’s kitchen, to the horror of the werewolf fight, to talking with Jacob on the beach.

I thought about what Jacob had said early this morning, about hypocrisy. I thought about that for a long time. I didn’t like to think that I was a hypocrite, only what was the point of lying to myself?

I curled into a tight ball. No, Edward wasn’t a killer. Even in his darker past, he’d never been a murderer of innocents, at least.

But what if he had been? What if, during the time I that I’d known him, he’d been just like any other vampire? What if people had been disappearing from the woods, just like now? Would that have kept me away from him?

I shook my head sadly. Love is irrational, I reminded myself. The more you loved someone, the less sense anything made.

I rolled over and tried to think of something else??and I thought of Jacob and his brothers, out running in the darkness. I fell asleep imagining the wolves, invisible in the night, guarding me from danger. When I

dreamed, I stood in the forest again, but I didn’t wander. I was holding Emily’s scarred hand as we faced into the shadows and waited anxiously for our werewolves to come home.

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Free Essays

Stone Cold Definitions: What is a Family?

American society is an interesting place: we value individualism and celebrate freedom, and strive for being the best in all that we do.  The road to achieving this is not an easy one, but as a nation, we understand this.  We train our children gradually by setting small tasks for them.  These tasks are designed to help our children “practice” for their imminent involvement in the “real” world, and it is the hope of those who create these “practice” sessions that children will grow into adults who are well-adjusted, productive Americans.

This training includes learning to do a variety of things—from the mundane to the complex—primarily by trial and error.  We put training wheels on bicycles; we spread education out over a period of twenty-plus years; we encourage part-time jobs before careers and raising a pet to learn the value of life and the seriousness of responsibility; however, when it comes to creating a family, we act like it is an all-or-nothing affair.  We define it in a single way, and access it as “successful” only in the extremist of circumstances.  American society may value individualism, celebrate freedom, and strive for perfection, but it can be an extraordinarily judgmental place for those who fall outside the parameters of the traditional definition of “family.”

Barbara Kingsolver examines the definition of “family” in her piece, “Stone Soup: What Does It Mean To Be a Family, Anyway?”  Her conclusion: that the defined parameters are simply too narrow and that America’s continuing to use this false standard is detrimental to all people.

There can be little doubt that the United States values individualism; however, it seems as though individualism is only acceptable if the involved party conforms to preconceived norms and moral standards set by the majority when exercising this right to be “individual.”  Barbara Kingsolver asks readers “in the catalog of family values, where do we rank an occasion such as this?” (305).

She is referring to a child’s soccer game and the fact that the child in question is surrounded by primary and extended family members—an entire cheering section of his own, but that social construct calls his family “broken” (305).  Obviously, “Andy” is not suffering for lack of anything while playing soccer—there is nothing at all “broken” about him or the people who make up his family.  Kingsolver’s point is powerful, and she demands each of us step back and consider the reason for family and the parameters by which the success of this configuration of people is judged.

The point of people joining together to create a unified structure (i.e. a “family”) is to strengthen the one by adding others.  The make-up of the family structure is rather arbitrary, and as Kingsolver points out, in other countries as well as in America’s past, the presence of several generations under one roof was commonplace (308).  Modern society has changed the basic dynamic of “family,” expecting the branching out of children as they reach adulthood, and the defining of parenting “success” by an offspring’s financial and familial productivity out in the world.

This does not sound at all like the makings of a strong “individual”; it sounds very much like a cookie-cutter environment churning out cookie-cutter people.  Kingsolver points out that “there’s a current in the air with ferocious moral force [. . .] claiming there is only one right way to do it, the Way It Has Always Been” and expresses how nonsensical this attitude is (305).

If we operated under the guise of “the Way It Has Always Been,” we’d still have slavery, children working in sweat shops, women who had no control over their own money, legalized domestic violence, etc.  Part of this nation’s strength comes from its ability to recognize flaws in its operations, make the necessary changes, and move on.  Why are we so slow to apply this to family?  As Kingsolver puts it, “this narrow view [of family] is so pickled and absurd I’m astonished that it gets airplay” (305).  Simply put, a group of people who join together to perform everyday tasks, including caring for a child/children, paying bills, maintaining a home, and caring for one another is a family.

People who were born before the internet, cellular phones, and the microwave oven survived, and many of them continue to do so without having adapted or integrated any of those items into their daily lives.  Those of us who make use of modern technology are not harmed by the lack of understanding or participation of those who choose to remain “behind” the times.

However, those who insist on the “traditional” definition of “family” and persist in applying derogatory terms to the variety of familial make-ups that have become more prevalent are harming those who choose to acknowledge familial advances.  “Divorce, remarriage, single parenthood, gay parents, and blended families simply are. They’re facts of our time” (307).

It seems odd that in a nation that is so sold on individuality and freedom of choice that it has begun to package cheese in balls, slabs, individually wrapped slices, and sticks that we shy away from a multi-faceted definition of family.  Perhaps the problem is the way in which people look at things.  Can it be that only a single parent struggling to get by understands that the slab is cheapest, and that it has the added benefit of one’s being able to cut it and wrap it in a variety of sizes and shapes that can be determined based on need?  Isn’t this a simple, physical example of the old adage that anyway you slice a thing, it is still the thing?  Does it really matter what the make-up of the family is as long as it fulfills it goals?  There are legitimate reasons for the changes seen in the modern family.

“Some of the reasons listed by sociologists for these family reconstructions are: the idea of marriage as a romantic partnership rather than a pragmatic one; a shift in women’s expectations, from servility to self-respect and independence; and longevity”

(Kingsolver 307).

Prepare a list of the things a person might fight hardest for in terms of “freedom,” and the freedom to choose a life partner has got to be near the top, and this freedom is not about one’s orientation: it is about one’s freedom—period.  Whether straight or gay, single or married, the freedom to enter into or leave a relationship seems fundamental.

Barbara Kingsolver discusses her preconceived notion of marriage and divorce: a notion that was constructed by the society in which she grew up—the society that continues to exist in America (306).  She admits to her naïve belief that in choosing a mate one could not err, and admitted that “once upon a time [she believed . . ] that everyone who [divorced] could have chosen not to do it.  That it’s a lazy way out of marital problems.  That it selfishly puts personal happiness ahead of family integrity,” but having lived her life and gone through a divorce, she now sees that this is simply not true.

This bursts not only the bubble of her expectations, it places the rest of her family, including her children, into a category that implies imperfection and an inability to perform up to expected standards.  Kingsolver equates the “judg[ing of] a family’s value by its tidy symmetry is to purchase a book for its cover” (308).  Oddly, the “children of divorce” are profoundly unaffected in many ways, and where adults see defeat, they see the opportunity to have two different homes and two sets of things as advantageous.  Certainly this isn’t always the case—as it is not always the case that a child raised in a “traditional family” goes unscathed.  Each situation and each experience is—dare I say—individual.

The closing anecdote in Barbara Kingsolver’s piece places the term Stone Soup in to context, and it is in this recollection that real advice can be seen.  While the story hinges on the soldiers’ plan, what happens all around them is of equal importance.  The message in the story is that both sides must be ready and willing to accept their opposition: the hungry soldiers gave in to the townspeople who in turn gave in to the hungry soldiers, and in the end, everyone is better for having shared.

The same is true of the modern family.  No one should be forced to give up the ideal of “family” anymore than anyone should give up the ideal of having a cupboard filled with food; however, everyone has got to be willing to acknowledge that their definition of “family” is relative—much like the “full” cupboard, and often simply adding to the pot what you can is sufficient.

Work Cited

Kingsolver, Barbara.  “Stone Soup: What Does It Mean To Be a Family, Anyway?”  The McGraw-Hill Reader: Issues Across Time.  8th ed.  Ed. Gilbert H. Muller.  LaGuardia: City U. of New York, 2003.  305-310.

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Free Essays

The Family Nurse

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times . . . ” Charles Dickens penned this famous opening statement in one of his popular books which spoke about the changing times during his day. Much has not changed either, if people interpret these same words into today’s context.

Families however, are encountering the constant and ever increasing bombardment of myriad pressures or more commonly now known as stressors. Spouses assume a variety of roles never before imagined during Dickens’ days. In most first world countries women live alone with children to support which made single parenting commonplace. In other words, every person’s choice has significant effects upon his own world and that of the rest of his immediate reach of influence.

Another example is when women who used to stay at home prior to the industrial age started to assume multiple roles: homemaking plus other jobs aside from tending to children and husband. This has complicated the family set-up or when the husband is left at home with no work, most conflicts arise. Husbands rarely accept willingly the tasks that wives used to do such as cleaning, laundry and baby-sitting. Husbands start to become hostile and relationships take the downturn in scenarios such as when a husband perceives that the wife makes him feel she has become superior in the arrangement.

The nursing profession has made great strides primarily towards the intervention aspects when nurses work as part of a team of health providers (as he/she takes on different roles) who address homelessness, facilities geared to aid the ageing; assess, care and administer prescribed therapeutic remedies to the mentally disturbed, spouses and families in crises and especially those physically undergoing the effects of various kinds of emotional, physical (including chemical), mental and sexual abuse (Alexander et al., 2000).

Specifically, the family nurse can respond in many ways. Basically his/her role is in counseling. Knowledge not only in therapeutic techniques, medical or chemical drug application is not the only side to it. Counseling may come in the form of eliciting information on the issues or concerns of the family but it also has to do with the skills involved in both verbal and non-verbal communications such as active listening. The family nurse must be able to build rapport and establish credibility for the helping relationship to be effective. However, the family nurse must be knowledgeable as well on ethics that are expected to guide that relationship (Alexander et al., 2000).

Reference:

1. Alexander, Margaret et al. THE FAMILY HEALTH NURSE CONTEXT, CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND CURRICULUM: World Health Organization (WHO). http://www.see-educoop.net/education_in/pdf/family_health_nurse-oth-enl-t06.pdf

 

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Free Essays

Concepts of Family Nursing Theory

Nurses hold a unique position among health care professionals in terms of prolonged proximity to patients during a stay in hospital or while a person with a long-term health problem is being cared for at home. In contemporary context it is necessary to address the needs of the families whose lives may be irrevocably changed by the illness of one member. As Friedman (1992:29) put it: “The psychosocial strains on a family with a member suffering a chronic or life-threatening condition can rival the physical strains on the patient.” However, it is not only in relation to chronic illness and disability that families may stand in need of help.

The family developmental life cycle involves natural transitions which may create considerable stress. One example might be a woman trying to deal with an adolescent son who is engaging in risk-taking with drugs and alcohol, to protect her younger son from his brother’s influence, to persuade her busy husband to give more attention to his family while providing some support for her mother who is caring for an increasingly frail husband. There is potential for conflict in all of these relationships as family members attempt to balance their own needs with those of other members of the family, and of the family as a unit.

Such family tensions are likely to influence the health and well-being of each family member, and their ability to deal with unanticipated events such as accidents or unemployment. Wherever families are struggling to maintain or restore equilibrium, to find ways of coping effectively with crisis or with long-term stress, nurses may find themselves in a supportive role.

Frude (1990) identifies that in the literature on families some authors focus upon individuals and regard other members as being the social context of the person. Other authors look at the family unit as a whole with individual members as parts of the whole.

This distinction is pertinent to discussions on family nursing. Currently nurses and their colleagues see it as both legitimate and important to take into account the family context of their patients or clients. Much more discussion and collaboration takes place with relatives than in the past. Nurses in some specialties, for instance community nursing, pediatrics or psychiatric nursing, might argue that because of the nature of their work they have always been concerned with the family of the particular client or patient.

From the contemporary perspective, it is useful to be aware of how family composition is changing in order to have a mind to the wider context of society as a whole. It is possible to be under the impression that the family today is in terminal decline if all that one reads in the popular press is to be believed. A closer look behind the headlines reveals that what is understood to be under threat is the traditional two biological parent household with dependent children, the nuclear family. It is increasingly apparent that a growing minority of children will experience life in a family that is headed by a lone parent, usually the mother, before they reach adulthood. A popular misconception is that the majority of these mothers are single women.

Their numbers are growing faster than other groups, the figures for which seem to have established at the end of the 1990s, but divorced, separated and widowed mothers still constitute the majority. In addition, the divorce rate in remarried couples remains higher than for the general population. There are many factors involved in this but the additional stresses of a reconstituted family may make them more vulnerable to breakdown, for instance the parent-child bond predating the marital bond can lead to step-parents competing with their children for primacy with their spouse.

Dimmock (1992) notes that too often the blended family is cast in the mould or ideal of the nuclear family. Indeed, many of those involved are keen to view it in that light. Remarried families can often be struggling with unresolved emotional issues at the same time as coping with family transitions. Dimmock (1992) also indicates that society offers the choice of two conceptual models, that of the nuclear family or the wicked step-parent (mostly stepmothers) of fairy tales. The family nursing model allows accommodation of a family with less rigid boundaries. A nurse, perhaps in the role of health visitor, with an understanding of family systems and family nursing could provide valuable support and help for these families to work through some of the issues involved.

There is another group of families which is becoming more prominent, particularly in the United States. Lesbian and gay parenting is currently a topic of hot interest as our society struggles to decide whether it will move forward on human rights issues or attempt to retrench and move back into a mythical past of “family values.” Increasingly in the US this is an area of interest and debate, especially as reproductive technologies have advanced so that it is possible for the lesbian woman to contemplate pregnancy without a male partner.

Gay men wishing to raise a family are also becoming a focus for media interest and debate in this country. The impact of AIDS and HIV infection has also highlighted issues concerning next of kin with gay men, particularly within the health service and in legal terms.

This demonstrates the appropriateness of accepting the notion that, from a nursing perspective, the family is who the individual identifies, although it may not necessarily conform to biological or legal ways of thinking.

From the personal viewpoint, the strongest argument for the appropriateness of family nursing in the United States now is the massive shift of care from hospitals and institutions to the community. Patients in hospital are more acutely ill, with resultant stress for families who need support. In the community families are in the first line of caring for individuals with intractable, often severe, health problems.

At the same time, the purpose of nursing is to provide care for those with continuous needs in partnership with people and with other organizations. Therefore, I totally agree with the purpose of family nursing described by Hanson (1987:8) which is to promote, maintain, and restore family health. Moreover, family nursing is concerned with the interactions between the family and society and among the family and individual family members.

References

Dimmock, B. (1992) A child of our own, Health Visitor, 65, 10:368-370

Friedman, M.M. (1992) Family nursing: Theory and practice, 3rd edn, Connecticut:

Appleton & Lange.

Frude, N. (1990) Understanding family problems: A psychological approach, Chichester:

John Wiley & Sons

Hanson, S.M.H. (1987) Family nursing and chronic illness, in Wright, L., Leahey, M. (1987)

Families and chronic illness, Pennsylvania: Springhouse.

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Free Essays

Small Family Owned Business

My assignment for the presentation on (small) family owned businesses was to research and share an organized piece on the international studies of the subject. After several days of searching the internet for appropriate studies, I had gathered enough data to put together a three part report. The three parts consisted first off of an intro, which I believed was enough to be considered its own part, just because of the extremely interesting point that family owned businesses are such a widespread commonality.

Second came the bulk of my research, the description of small family owned businesses under the laws of different countries, specifically those belonging to countries in Europe. Last but not least, I followed up with the importance of small family owned businesses’ impact on the overall economy of Europe, and how they applied. When you think of a small family owned business, you usually think of at least one local business you have known and have used your whole life whether a gas station, kebab imbiss, cafe, restaurant, or car dealership, etc. However, think about if everyone in the world named at least one such business.

Many people would name the some of the same enterprises, but now you can imagine just how many small family owned businesses there are across the world. Because there are so many, not many reports exist that can contain the entire scope of every kind in every country, therefore, my report covers information regarding largely to european studies. Across Europe and in the United States, there is no widely accepted definition or legal description of a “family business”, however there are many criteria that if met by a small business, can be used to classify a business as such.

Although each country has its own list of indicators, some countries use “common knowledge” to decide what constitutes a family business. This means that most countries simply use perception to differentiate a family business from a non-family business based on the interrelationship between family and enterprise that can obviously be observed like the active involvement of family members in the enterprise’s everyday activities.

Few countries legal codes actually mention regulations in which small businesses are referred and partially defined, but can vary easily from each other such as the Austrian regional agricultural legislation stating “a family business defined as any autonomous economic entity regularly and sustainably providing for the farming family’s income” to the Italian Civil Code which describes family businesses as “enterprises in which members of the family unit work and have ownership.

For most cases, instead looking for derelict, briefly mentioned bits of code referring to family business, a group of common “soft” and “hard” criteria has been identified(#3). Soft criteria includes: o family relations affect the assignment of the management o family indirectly runs the company o “major family influence/dominance” of the management (in terms of strategic decisions) o “significant proportion” of the enterprises’ senior management o “most important decision” made by the family o “family control” of the management of the enterprise at least 2 generations having had control over the enterprise Hard criteria includes more legitimate and quantifiable proof such as: o CEO has to be a family member o 1 family member is actively involved in the operative management of the company o More than 1 family member in the management o CEO and at least 1 management team member stems from the family o At least 2 directors/board members stem from the family o At least 3 board or staff members stem from the family o Majority of the management team stem from the family

Or, in the case of Denmark, a family has control over the company: • if it has 50 % of the shares, or • if it has 50 % of the shares and a member of the family is the CEO In regards to impact on economy, although small family owned businesses seem like only a small part of the world economy, they actually make up quite a large percent of all enterprises. It is estimated that about 70-80% of businesses across Europe are family businesses, and of those, about 50% are small family owned businesses.

Over all, small family owned businesses also contribute to about 40-50% of employment in Europe(#3). The following table(#3) shows elements of the definition of family business by country, gathered by several international studies on family business. What the previous table shows, is cross-national (European) minimum criteria for the ownership, control, or management of a company by a family according to FBN International 2007, Les Henokiens, European Group of Owner managed and Family Enterprises (GEEF), and PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP. 2007.

Under FBN International 2007, and also according to the European Group of Owner managed and Family Enterprises, ownership is described as the direct or indirect majority of votes held by the founders, spouses, parents, children, heir, or persons having acquired the shares; control/management is described as at least one representative of family or kin present in the management. In contrast to those studies, Les Henokiens suggests that in order to hold ownership, a company must own the majority of shares for more than two hundred years; in regards to control/management the enterprise must be managed by a direct descendant of the founder.

Another contrasting opinion to FBN International 2007 and the European Group of Owner managed and Family Enterprises, but perhaps not as extreme as Les Henokiens, is the study performed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP. 2007 which defines ownership as simply at least fifty-one percent of shares held by a family or related families, and control/management as a majority of the senior management team and the owners having a day to day responsibility for the management of the business.

In conclusion, we can see that (small) family owned businesses are a huge contributing factor to the economy worldwide, but still remain a mostly ignored topic by most countries and their legal systems, which is interesting because one would think something so important would be more tightly regulated. I would like to thank my hard working group, and Ms. Fink for the opportunity to present this topic. Works Cited (I have numbered my sources to make identification easier within the report) 1. D, Jamie. “Running a Family Business Within the Law | SBA. ov. ” Running a Family Business Within the Law | SBA. gov. U. S. Small Business Administration, 4 May 2010. Web. 5 May 2012. . 2. Elliott, Larry, and Julia Kollewe. “Germany’s Smaller Firms Emerge Intact from the Recession. ” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 15 Mar. 2011. Web. 5 May 2012. . 3. Mandl, Irene. “Overview of Family Business Relevant Issues. ” Ec. europa. eu. European Commission, Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General, 2008. Web. 5 May 2012. . 4. Winslow, CJ. “Welcome to FoodTronix. ” Welcome to FoodTronix. Web. 5 May 2012. .

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Free Essays

How to Plan a Great Family Vacation

Process Outline Planning a Great Family Vacation I. Introduction A. Lead In B. Thesis II. Reserving a room A. Choosing your location B. Pay the deposit for the room III. Purchase Supplies A. Purchase Clothing and accessories B. Purchase groceries IV. Packing for the trip A. Make check list while packing B. Check things off as they are packed up. V. Conclusion A. Restatement B. Ending Process Essay Planning a Great Family Vacation After working all year long, sometimes sixty plus hours a week, the mind and body can become very worn down. You have to have a break or your work performance could suffer.

The last part of winter or the first part of spring, is when you start thinking, “Wow, I really need a vacation! ” You can usually tell when that time is coming. That is when you think about beginning the process of planning your yearly family vacation. The process of planning for a family vacation will ensure a worry-free, pleasant vacation, from choosing and reserving a room, to purchasing all supplies you will need, to finally packing up and heading out to your week long vacation. The first step is to choose and reserve your room. You can choose the room based on several things, cost being one of the most important.

You will also need to choose a room based on what activities you plan to do and what the hotel is near. You can usually pay your deposit in February for your July vacation. This guarantees that you will have a place to stay while you are on vacation. It also means less you will have to pay when you arrive for the week of your vacation. The deposit is usually the cost of the room for two nights plus a cleaning or security deposit. The next step is to purchase all the supplies you will need for the trip. You will most likely need new clothing that will be weather appropriate and any accessories you will need.

For the lake, it is a good idea to make sure that you have clothing for warm weather, such as bathing suits, shorts, cover ups, and flip-flops. Also make sure to have enough clothing to last you the length of your stay, unless you will have access to a washer and dryer. To save money on dining out, purchase groceries to last you for the week. You can buy things to make sandwiches so that you do not have to spend a lot of your vacation in the kitchen. Also, purchase things for several “home-cooked” meals so that you will not be tempted to eat out often. The final step will be packing for your trip.

Make a list of things that you will need while on vacation. Be sure to pack all clothing and toiletries that you will need for a week. Also be sure to pack any medications that you will need for the length of your stay. As you pack, take the time to mark things off your list. Did you remember all of the kids’ swimsuits, floats, water toys and sunblock? Did you pack snacks for the ride to your destination and games for the kids to play while riding to keep them from getting bored? Planning in advance and thoroughly for your vacation is the best way to enjoy your vacation when the time to go finally arrives.

As long as you have planned correctly by reserving your room, purchasing your supplies, and packing properly, you will have a fabulous and worry free vacation. You and the whole family will be able to enjoy your time away, and you will make many memories to enjoy because you took all the stress and worry out of your vacation by properly planning the trip. Later on, you will be able to reminisce about all the great times you had with your family while knowing that you did all you could to guarantee that your family had the best vacation possible…

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Free Essays

Family and True Feelings

In many cases, it is often shown that in order to avoid issues such as death, people choose to keep their guard up instead of opening up to one another. Death is a topic that is usually kept unspoken of when one is not ready for another to pass. People, families especially, tend to keep quiet or set up a front enabling one from expressing their true feelings on the issue. There is struggle between letting our feelings out, and being able to act as a strong figure is often shown in literature, such as poetry.

In her poem, “Legacies,” Nikki Giovanni shows how families choose to make the topic of death a “touchy” subject, instead of being open about it, which is shown through her characters, the grandmother and the granddaughter. In “Legacies,” Nikki Giovanni shows the struggle that the grandmother and the granddaughter endure when the topic of death is brought up. This struggle can be brought up when tradition is being passed down. Whether the person wants to accept it or not, the tradition is being passed down because death is in the future.

The grandmother wants the granddaughter to learn how to make rolls, which is a long running family tradition. The grandmother, trying to avoid the obvious reason, does not explain why the granddaughter would have to learn how to make the rolls. Instead of reaching out to her granddaughter, the grandmother brushes it off and says, “Lord these children. ” In response to the grandmothers statement about making the rolls, the granddaughter says that she does not want learn the tradition

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Free Essays

CODA: Family Awareness, Individual Growth

CODA Language is obviously a vital tool. Not only is it a means of communicating thoughts and ideas, but it forges friendships, cultural ties, and economic relationships. Throughout history, many have reflected on the importance of language. For instance, the scholar Benjamin Whorf has noted that language shapes thoughts and emotions. John Stuart Mill said that “Language is the light of the mind. Lionel Groulx, a Quebec historian, put it this way: “Chacun retient toutefois que la supreme revelation du genie national, la clef magique qui donne acces aux plus hautes richesses de la culture, c’est la langue,” Meaning: Each retains, however, that the supreme revelation of the national genius, the magic key that gives access to the highest wealth of culture, it is the language. The success of an endeavour hinges on the ability to communicate effectively in today’s fast paced life, everyone is asked to do more with less.

In such a scenario effective communication holds the key. Effectively communication centers round the usage of words, speed of delivery of words, pitch modulation and body language. Sometimes communication can be a variety of different ways in one household. Language is an important part of ones’ own identity. “Mother father deaf” is a phrase commonly used in the deaf community to identify hearing children with deaf parents. Currently there are 28 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. About 85% to 90% of children born to deaf parents are able to hear.

Those children are referred to as CODAs (children with deaf adults). There are these families who face challenging obstacles between the two worlds including parenting challenges. CODA is an organization established for the purpose of promoting family awareness and individual growth in hearing children of deaf parents. CODA addresses bicultural identity through conferences, support groups and resource development Children with deaf parents are as varied as children in the general population. Children with deaf parents can achieve just as much as any other child as well.

Schools have a hard time with children and parents who have such issues. School board administrators are uncertain as to their legal obligation to provide communication access for deaf parents. For deaf parents, information is available for help on this subject but as a short; be aware of legal responsibilities of schools for the parents sake. Many adult children of deaf parents report that entering school was a difficult period of adjustment for them sense some teachers believe that students with deaf parents are in need of speech therapy or special education.

When in contrast, its not necessary. Two of the earliest CODA success stories were Edward Miner Gallaudet and his brother Thomas, whose parents co-founded the first school for the deaf in the United State. Thomas became an Episcopal minister and helped establish one of the first churches for deaf people. Edward founded the world’s only liberal arts higher education institution for deaf students. However, many CODAs enter fields of work that have nothing to do with deafness and still succeed at high levels.

Texas attorney/politician Homer Thornberry became a member of congress, federal judge, and nominee to the United States Supreme Court. The list of CODAs who have earned Ph. D. degrees is very lengthy. Louise Fletcher, the daughter of a prominent deaf Episcopalian minister, won an Oscar for best actress in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975. There are so many more success stories that could be listed but there are also the individual stories from CODAs themselves. “How did you learn to talk? , Is asked towards Jake, a CODA with deceased deaf parents. His reply was, “I was the firstborn, and there were no other hearing people who would regularly stop by, so I learned how to speak when I was old enough to go outside to play with the other hearing children around 4 or 5. ” Two or more years of age is when the average child begins to talk, this means that a child with deaf adult is libel to take longer to begin its own speech. The next question, “how did your parents manage parent-teacher meetings at school? this came the reply of, “they never went… however, I do remember one time my mother did come to school, while my first grade class was in session, and I subsequently found out that it was because she was told that I needed to repeat the first grade. ” I believe that if deaf adults were aware of their rights with their children, communication with school staff wouldn’t be an issue and parents would love to know about their children’s achidemic progress, and so issues with their child would promptly disappear.

A third question was asked, “Were your parents actively involved in the deaf community? If so, did they bring you along to deaf events and social gatherings? ” followed by the answer, “yes, my mother would bring us to various deaf functions in the Philadelphia area (where she grew up), such as functions at church, movie night… My father was from New Jersey, so all four of us would go to the deaf clubs and functions in New Jersey. I think hearing children born with deaf parents grow up feeling a part of both the deaf and hearing communitys, “but many deaf, especially ones I meet for the first time as an adult, seem to put us in a strictly hearing category and ignore me somewhat,” exclaims Jake. I don’t think that is exactly fair considering that hearing children with deaf adults do grow up with the same life style and they do know the challenge most deaf go through. Yet, there are many assumptions that are far from correct. Such assumptions as, deaf parents cannot hear or speak, is a myth that is far from true.

In fact, almost all deaf people can speak, although the clarity may vary they still can. Many deaf people have had bad experiences using speech to communicate. Sense as children, many deaf persons were forced to speak, and they are also aware of the negatively noted reactions made by the public sense their speech is not impeccable. Another assumption of, all children with deaf parents know sign language, is incorrect. Many CODAs consider American Sign Language as their first language but some deaf parents are oral speakers and choose not to sign to their children.

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Many parents also encourage their children to use English exclusively. CODA helps many families in these situations figure out what to do for their children though. CODAs international servise is there helping so many families that would struggle with the diversity in a household. “Deaf community” has developed for over the last two centries, and is based on shared experiences of deafness. Children with deaf parents have shared the same experiences without the physical attribute itself, that’s why there is CODA. CODA—Children of Deaf adults, is a non-profit organization for the adult hearing sons and daughters of deaf parents. The organization began in 1983 and has grown to include people from many different countries and very different family and extended family situations,” is the first thing that is stated on the national CODA webpage to back up their reassuring support with so many families. They insure effective communication within the family and stay to help. “Thank you,” is what so many are saying to the CODA foundation and they deserve more than that, how about a round of applause?

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Family and Tough Times

1. Why are communities important to families during tough times? Communities are important because as a whole they help each other out through bad times, & look out for one another kind of like a family. They are almost like a support group who try to help you the best way that they can whether it’s giving or selling inexpensive items – cooking a free meal, etc. 2. How can parents help children understand the changes that families experience during tough times?

Explaining the situation is a start , telling your child a positive such as we will be able to spend more time together is one , & just reiterating that we won’t be able to spend a lot of money & the more we can get for less the better. Although, stating that this is not their fault & reassuring them that everything will be okay. 3. How can losing a job or having a change in the economic status of the family affect a parent? A lot, not only just income but it could take a toll on the family’s mood. This also could cut back on a lot of going on out which means more staying at home.

Also, struggling to pay bills & feed your family, the stress of it all. 4. Can positive aspects come out of tough times for families? Why or why not? Yes, it can show families how to be there for each other through rough times & how to grow closer. 5. What do you think the families in the video are doing well in terms of dealing with tough times? They are pointing out the positives & finding solutions to accommodate such a drastic change. 6. What do you think you would do as a parent if you were faced with one of the situations presented in the video? I would try to keep positive too & just try to find a solution till I got back on my feet.

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Assess the View That the Nuclear Family Functions

Assess the view that the nuclear family functions for the benefit of the individual and society. A nuclear family is universal and consists of two generations of families: a father, a mother and their children, all living in the same household. In this essay, I will be assessing the views that the nuclear family functions to benefit all its members and society as a whole, from a Functionalist, Feminist and a Marxist perspective.

In order to assess these views, it is necessary to first establish the functions that the nuclear family performs and then to assess whether these benefit the individual and the wider society. Sociologists such as George Peter Murdoch (1949) claimed that the family was a ‘universal institution’. This is a functionalist view, however Marxists feminists argues that it online met the needs of capitalists. Functionalists see society as playing a major role in achieving social goals such as proving positive norms and values for the individual and society to reproduce consensus.

They believe that institutions such as the family must have a function which benefits society and its members. They believe that without consensus society will collapse into chaos. Consensus and shared values enables the members of society to cooperate with each other providing unity. Functionalist sees society as an institution from which norms and values are shares providing harmony. Functionalists regard society as a system that depend on each other such as the institution of the family, the education system and the economy.

They look at what the nuclear family does for the whole of society, not just for certain individuals. Functionalists consider the nuclear family as essential for society’s smooth running. George Peter Murdoch (1949) claimed that the family was a universal institution. He studied 250 different societies and cultures and found that the family existed in one form or another. This suggests that families are necessary in some way whether it be for societies to survive, for individual well-being, or both. He believed that the family performed four vital functions.

Sexual: where adults can enjoy healthy sex lives with their marital parenters preventing disruption to society and conflicts that could arise from sexual desires such as affairs and also allows children to be raised by their natural parents. Reproductive: the family allows the reproduction of the next generation without doing so, society will cease to exist. Economic: the family ensures the survival of its members by providing food and shelter. Education: the family allows primary socialisation without it there will be no consensus about society’s norms and values.

Functionalists have been criticised for ignoring the dark side of family life. Many families are places of disruption and violence from at least one of its members suffering from domestic violence, child abuse and divorce. Murdock’s views have been criticised to be conservative rather than universal. In different society’s people have different methods of child rearing influenced by their religious teachings, class and different psychological approaches to the upbringing of children. Talcott Parsons believed that the family performed two functions.

Primary socialisation: children’s personalities are moulded in terms of society’s culture; they learn normal and values from their parents for example expressive roles from the mother and an instrumental role from the father. Stabilisation of adult personalities: marital parents provides each other with emotional support, idea that the man can relieve the stress of being insecure in his workplace by allowing himself to relax by indulging in his childish side. Due to this taking place, it relieves adult family members and strengthens social stability.

Parsons views can be criticised as his perceptions of society are outdated. Family diversity now exits. Marxists would criticise of the nuclear family as they see the role of primary socialisation as exploiting the working class which promotes and maintains class inequality. A Hierarchal structure exists within the Nuclear Family, as the man is considered the breadwinner, the head of the household who has the responsibility to go out and work to earn money for the family’s needs.

This structure enables men to accept their perhaps low status at work which stops them from questioning the hierarchal nature of capitalism which only benefits the powerful and rich. Marxists Feminist would criticise the nuclear family as benefitting the capitalists system and therefore the ruling class. Men benefit from the Nuclear family and the capitalist system through the exploitation of women. Women are expected to have children and spend a lot of time to raise them. They would argue that primary socialisation means that males will remain dominant and women will remain inferior even in the future generations.

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My family’s relationship to nature and the environment

The history of my family demonstrates the drastic change in the relationship with environment that has occurred over the past few generations. Seeing the change in attitudes and lifestyles between my grandparents, parents, and my own generation is very educational, Examining the changing relationship with environment across this timeframe, one can make conclusions about the relative importance of natural surroundings in the life of people as changing over time. My family history naturally reflects the situation in Thailand, as I come from this nation, but I believe that it to a great degree parallels the events in other parts of the globe.

My grandparents lived in a rural area in Thailand and made their living by farming. This is still a common situation in Thailand where 65% of the land is engaged in agriculture (Assumption University, n.d.). Their occupation made them strongly aware of their natural environment as they depended upon it for their livelihood. However, this relationship was not one of adoration or concern – land, water, plants were to them something matter-of-fact, something they perceived as their daily routine.

Besides, their attitude was one of consumption. They saw the resources of the land as something they were entitled to merely because of being born in this land, since soil, skies and water were simply vehicles for growing food, not much else. There was little concern as to what will happen in the next generations, and little awareness of the need to implement new agricultural techniques in order to extend the land’s capability to generate harvests over generation. At that time, Thailand’s population was not so large, and it was at many times simpler to move to a new plot of land than to tend to the old one, trying to improve its productivity.

With all this said, I would like to note that my grandparents were successful as farmers and developed some new crops that allowed them to outstrip the rest of the farmers in terms of financial gain. In the next generation, the income received by my grandparents enabled my father to receive a college education and obtain a white-collar job. Thus, nature offered them this opportunity to improve their lifestyle and life standards. As a result, my father who grew up on a farm, found himself working in an office in Bangkok, only occasionally visiting his elderly parents in their place.

The same is true for my mother who also changed her rural motherland for an urban life. This made nature seem something of a holiday setting to them, rather than an everyday reality. In their office jobs, they did not need to care whether land preserved its fertility and whether the climate remained mild enough for the crops to grow. Although Bangkok and other cities in Thailand are made up of landscapes skillfully integrating trees, lawns and buildings to create a coherent image, this nature is very ‘cultured’ and very far removed from the roughness of the village landscapes. Thus, in my parents’ urban life, nature was very much a distant reality, something they saw on TV and enjoyed in our little Sunday outings.

However, they identified with Thai nature as associated with their place of birth and motherland. Given their rural background, they remembered toiling in the fields and gardens, trying to turn the gifts of nature into material benefits. Somewhere deep inside their souls, they looked upon this connection, although on a subconscious level.

One change that occurred in the relationship to nature in my parents’ generation was the rising awareness of nature as a global phenomenon. Thanks to books, periodicals, TV, and now Internet, their generation was able to realize that the boundaries of nature transgressed those of nations, and that nature was facing a threat from too much human interference.

Seeing pictures of nature all around the world, they began to see in color how different various places on earth were, and realize how unique their own natural surroundings were. This ‘global’ realization, I believe, happened more or less in the time my parents’ generation was active, as millions of people throughout the world realized that the rest of the world has become closer, and reality is such that we live in a small, interdependable world.

With the move to the US that happened when I was only 17, the connection with nature as some place in Thailand where my parents were born and grew up, has become even weaker. Here, we were surrounded by a rich and diverse natural setting, even if it seemed alien to us at first. However, the beauty of American nature took our hearts, and as a family we made quite a few ‘nature-focused’ outings, such as, for instance, a trip to the Grand Canyon or the Yellowstone park.

More important is, however, the revolution in thinking that occurred in my generation. With globalization trotting over the planet at a dramatically increased speed, environmental plight is no longer something distant and incomprehensible, but instead has become something that threatens us already in out lifetime. With evidence of the global climate change and warming happening on a large scale, no one can ignore the significance of what is happening.

Basing my judgment not only on my personal experience, but also on that of my colleagues and fellow students, I can claim that we are much more likely to make environmentally conscious choices. Personally, I agree with the words of James Gustave Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, that environmental issues today have turned into “chronic problems,” that emerge and have a long-term nature” (Laverdiere, 2000).

The fact that today’s ecological issues such as greenhouse effect, ozone depletion and loss of biodiversity cannot be solved by the efforts of one nation or dealt with effectively on a local level. Their solution requires the coordination of effort on an international level, translating into significant changes in our mentality. My generation is much more aware of the existence of other nations, better informed of their struggle for a cleaner environment and has better opportunities to join with representatives of other countries in the struggle for a safer and cleaner environment.

Personally, I have participated in a few demonstrations focused on environmental issues and at one point attended the Ecological Club in my high school. I also know a lot of peers who take this action seriously. This is something my parents and grandparents would not think of doing since they had a totally different perception of their relationship to nature and environment.

Thus, over three generations, my family went through a revolution in our relationship to environmental cause. To my grandparents, land and nature was commodity, something they consumed in order to receive material benefits for themselves and their kids. My parents were to a great degree alienated from nature that remained to them very much a childhood memory that bound them to their birthplace; at the same time, their understanding of nature and environment was considerably broadened to include places far away from their motherland. Finally, in my present generation, nature became a source of concern, something that requires distinct political action to protect and save it for future generations.

References

Assumption University, Bangkok. (n.d.). Agriculture. Retrieved January 27, 2006, from http://sunsite.au.ac.th/thailand/agriculture/AgriRes.html

Laverdiere, M. (2000, January 27). “Forestry dean discusses hidden environmental problems”. Yale Daily News. Retrieved January 27, 2006

 

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Curious Incident of a Family Break Up

Curious incident of a family break up Mark Haddon expresses the importance of family relationships within society itself. He does this through the clear and perfect understanding of the deficiency and absence of love portrayed between his parents and himself. Christopher’s suffering of Aspergers syndrome is transparent towards his parents as they find it difficult to react to Christopher’s behavior.

Both parents had to deal with Christopher’s persistent obsession with mathematics, numbers (prime numbers used throughout the beginning of every chapter) as their son is a single minded human being with and extraordinary talent faced upon factual data that only he can obtain as many cannot. Christopher’s mother is an important factor among his life as he is told a lie from his father about his mother passing from cancer. But in fact from the hard troubled arguments from the relationship of his parents towards each other, Christopher’s inability to deal with affection is a huge factor of why Mr. and Mrs.

Boone are driven apart. Christopher does not understand how affection works, which would mean that Mr. and Mrs. Boone do not have a romantic relationship to begin with. If Mr. and Mrs. Boone do not show affection towards each other, it is not setting a very good example towards Christopher. When Christopher’s mother wrote him, she said,” We had a lot of arguments like that, and by the end we stopped talking to each other because we knew it would end up as an argument and go no where. I felt really lonely” (107). Mrs. Boone is giving an example of how she runs away from all her problems leading up to when she left Christopher.

The stress of having to raise a child like Christopher drove her to leaving the family. Christopher can be difficult and irritating in many ways because he is unable to show how he feels towards his parents, so they never know how he is feeling. Also, he never knows how his parents are feeling. When Christopher’s mother said, “Christopher, let me hold your hand, just for once. Just for me will you? I will hold it hard”(194). Christopher told her that he did not like holding hands. It proves that he has no knowledge of what love means and affection towards your family. Also, Mrs.

Boone said, “I could not walk for one month, do you remember? Your father had to look after you. I remember looking at the two of you and seeing you two together and thinking how you were really different with him. You were a lot calmer, and it made me sad, because it made the think that you did not need me at all(108). This quote can be confusing, because it is portraying that Mrs. Boone as upset that Christopher did not need her, but yet she leaves the family because of the stress of her autistic child. Mrs. Boone has a confusing way of showing affection, leading Christopher of not having a very good example of a mother.

The lack of communication between Mr. and Mrs. Boone and Christopher puts a tremendous amount of stress on the family because the Boone’s never know what Christopher may be thinking or wanting at that time. Mr. and Mrs. Boone has to adjust to his ways of communication making it difficult for other people to understand how he communicates. For example, when the policeman grabbed Christopher, but they were never meaning to harm him(8). Christopher thought that by the policeman grabbing him they were trying to hurt him, when only they were trying to get his attention.

Also, Christopher does not understand the importance of communication which means that i does not mean a lot of him. The Boone’s do not always know Christopher’s needs and wants. This leads up to Mr. and Mrs. Boone fighting over their views of what Christopher wants. Mrs. Boone would get very stressed out about not knowing what Christopher wants and just basically give up. Christopher can be a difficult child because he can sometimes not know when it is time to stop, and that is what is making Mrs. Boone so stressed out. Christopher might think it is time to play when really Mr. and Mrs. Boone are wanting some quiet time to relax.

Haddon persuades the important quality of Truth throughout the novel towards the direction of our society. Christopher’s obsession with truth is organized among the world through his perceptions on the basis. During the story as he feels secure, he needs order and certainty, and facts and logic provide this security. Christopher feels the need to be ‘scared’ and yet ‘shaky’ towards the things that didn’t happen which makes him feel insecure etc. ‘Metaphors’ are a language technique in which Christopher cannot understand. He believes metaphors bring lies towards society as they are false stories and fiction falls within the limits of lies.

Christopher accepts ‘similes’ as this technique provides truthfulness and they also emphasize the appearance of what two things have in common. With the acceptation of hard facts within Christopher’s life he refuses to obtain the knowledge and believe of god and the afterlife. Christopher says that he ‘can’t tell lies’. This is the way he truthfully copes with life itself and the imaginary events which fill him with ‘the infinite number of things’. Christopher then pushes the boundaries of lying to himself through continuing the investigation when he told people for example his father he would stop.

His father then tends to find out with the quote of “you knew exactly what you were doing”. During the novel we find out as well as Christopher that his mother is true in fact alive. This is a great impact among Christopher as he hates lying as he quotes “A lie is when you say something happened which didn’t happen. ” Another quote is “I do not tell lies. Mother used to say that this was because I was a good person…it is because I can’t tell lies. ” The repetition and usage of the word ‘And’ creates a sense of comforting and secureness for Christopher as well as a few number of rituals.

The usage of ‘And’ provides Christopher with the ability to recount every information or incident he has accounted. As for me it is annoying to read but the fact that Christopher has a good memory for speech is observed. One of the rituals Christopher obsesses with is the observation of cars on the way to school as he organizes them into red meaning good and brown and yellow meaning bad. He implies this to his normal day routine. So if he sees a red car he will have a good/normal day but if he sees a brown or yellow he knows his day isn’t going to go too well. Mr. Jevons asked me whether this made me feel safe, having things always in nice order and I said I did” The justification he gives for using these rituals is formed on the ‘scared’ and ‘shaky’ responses which mean that his great need to impose order on a lack of a word is in use. Christopher believes telling the truth is an important aspect among lives as he is revealed that his father killed Wellington the dog and told him that his mother had passed which makes Christopher become very frightened of his father.

Christopher flees in terror as he quotes “…he could murder me, because I couldn’t trust him, even though he said, ‘trust me’, because he had told a lie about a big thing” The composer achieves real aspects of telling the truth and telling a lie which happens on a normally daily basis. Christopher’s constant need for attention pushes the Boone’s apart because they have no time for themselves. Mr. and Mrs. Boone revolve their lives around Christopher’s needy lifestyle which led to them to spending every moment with Christopher. Mr.

Boone says how he is going to get Christopher ready for his bath, change him, and get him ready for bed(115). This is an example of how he spends every moment revolving his life to Christopher’s need for help because of his disability. In the book, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time, Christopher display a long list of the things that his mother and father have to deal with on a daily basis with his disability(46). All of these things are responsibilities and other things that Mr. and Mrs. Boone have to keep on their minds through the day.

Having an autistic child is like having a second job to Mr. and Mrs. Boone. Mr. Boone gives no attention to Mrs. Boone, because he is always pursuing his life towards the neediness of an autistic child. Mrs. Boone may the want attention from another male, leading her to putting all of her attention towards another lifestyle. This stressful lifestyle caused Mrs. Boone to leave and want to have another life of no worries or responsibilities. Also, Christopher says that he is nervous about his parents getting a divorce because they have a child with behavioral problems(45,46).

This explains one of the reasons why Mrs. Boone wanted out of the family because she wants to have children that do not give her such a headache every single day. Christopher’s confidence of truthful matter, in logic and facts, does not defend him from the real society. His many efforts to pursue the truth of Wellington’s murder results in the discovery of his understanding with the world as it is based on a lie. Christopher also learns that although he likes to have things “in a nice order”, real life is often very deranged, and he cannot always control this.

By the end of the novel the composer achieves Christopher’s balance as he returns to normal life, he is regained both parents and has the knowledge that he has coped in difficult circumstances. Mark Haddon achieves the novel with great aspects of this and portrays the actual concerns among a society. Mr. and Mrs. Boone would have a much more suitable relationship if they would set their priorities straight, and make time for each other to be able to go out and have a romantic night together. Obviously, they did not have a romantic relationship, so that could have driven Mrs.

Boone away from the family, along with the difficult lifestyle of raising Christopher. In conclusion, Christopher lived a very spoiled lifestyle by being shown attention by his parents all his life. He could not help that he had to have attention shown towards him because of his disability, but it led to the miserable lifestyle between Mr. and Mrs. Boone. If they could have balanced out their schedules, Mr. Boone would not have had to lie to his child about his mothers death, when really she moved away while having an affair.

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Billy Elliot Family

Describe at least ONE idea that was worth learning about in the text(s). Explain why the idea was worth learning about in the text(s) as a whole, using examples of visual and/or oral language features to support your ideas. The film Billy Elliot directed by Stephen Daldry, is set in the miners town of Durham in the north east of Engand in the 1980’s. The film focuses on Billy Elliot, a 12 year old boy who is pressured and abused by his violent family as he tries to pursue his love of dancing in a predominantly miners town where ballet is for girls.

An idea I felt was worth learning about tin the film was the idea of family relations. I believe this idea was worth learning about because it showed me why Jackie and Billy held such disdain for Billy’s ballet, Billy’s feelings as a result of his families pressure and that family bonds can overcome great adversity. Throughout the film, Daldry uses a range of film techniques to portray this idea of family relations. The first reason why the idea of family relations was worth learning about was because it showed me why Billy and Jackie held such disdain for Billy’s ballet.

Throughout the film, Billy and Jackie represent the major obstacle Billy has to overcome to pursue his love of ballet. Following the recent death of Tony and Billy’ mother (Jackie’s wife) everyone in the family is wrought with grief. Adding to this is the intensity of the miner’s strike going on in the town which Jackie and Tony are involved in. In this tense home environment, the last thing they wanted was their son to be doing ballet, especially in the highly stereotypical society they lived in where ballet dancers are labeled as ‘poofs’. The main reason Tony and Jackie hated ballet so much, was because it reflects badly on the family.

Tony and Jackie are great fans of boxing and push Billy towards it, even though he is blatantly useless at boxing. With the high pressure of the time they are in, Billy’s doing ballet is the last straw and Jackie and tony are furious. An example from the film to show Jackie and Tony’s opposition to ballet is the dialogue when Jackie says to Billy: “Ballet is for girls Billy. Boys do things like boxing or wrestling, not friggin’ ballet! ” The patronizing tone Jackie uses and the incredulousness in his voice shows his obvious disdain for Billy. Another example from the film to show Jackie’s hate of ballet is hen he sees Billy in the ballet class for the first time. The background sound of the piano playing cuts out, creating a suspenseful environment, and the close up shot of Jackie’s red, manic face shows his rage at Billy doing ballet. The curt dialogue, “You! Out! ,” seals the deal showing there is no hope in Jackie’s eyes for Billy to continue participating in ballet classes. The idea of family relations showed me that Jackie and Tony held such disdain for Billy’s ballet under the high pressure circumstances they were in, and they didn’t want their families reputation to be tarnished by having a ‘poof’ in the family.

The second reason why the idea of family relations was worth learning about was because it showed me Billy’s feelings as a result of his family’s pressure. Ever since he first see’s Miss Wilkinson’s ballet class dancing in the boxing gym, he is hooked on ballet as it is a way for him to express his natural love of dancing. He secretly trains with the class by telling his family he is attending the boxing classes. However, when Jackie sees him, his ballet classes are in jeopardy as his family is strongly against him training.

But Billy continues to train secretly with private lessons with Miss Wilkinson. The first feeling I was shown as a result of his families pressure Billy’s love of ballet and dancing. Billy’s perseverance under his family’s pressure to continue with ballet throughout the film showed me Billy loved ballet so much he was willing to stand up to his violent family. An example of Billy’s love of ballet is the close up shot of his face after he nails his first pirouette. His face shows a wide grinning smile, showing his happiness at succeeding at ballet.

While scene is going on, there is a crosscut to a montage of Billy In his bathroom practicing pirouettes. This showed his commitment to ballet. Throughout the film, there are also many symbols to show Billy is ‘caged in’ by his family and he wants to break free from their traditions and do what he loves. An example of this is when Billy’s father first sees him doing ballet. Jackie is on the outside of the cage and Billy on the inside, symbolizing that Billy is trapped by his family’s traditions.

Another example is that the scenes of the mining village were shot in a tight-knit claustrophobic way to show that Billy was again trapped by the traditions of the town and was claustrophobic, when Billy is dancing however, the shot widens up to show that when Billy is dancing he is free from his families pressure and expectations. The idea of family relations showed me that through his family’s pressure and traditions, Billy’s love of dancing was very great by the way he continued on with it despite his violent family, and that he felt caged in and claustrophobic by the miners town.

The final reason why the idea of family relations was worth learning about was that it showed me that family bonds can overcome great obstacles. Early on in the film, Jacke and Tony are strongly against Billy continuing with ballet. This is symbolized by dialogue such as: “Ballet is for girls Billy,” and close up shots are used showing Tony and Jackie’s faces showing anger and frustration when the conversation concerns ballet. This changes when Jackie sees Billy dance for the first time.

He is moved by Billy’s passion and talent for dancing. In this scene, defiant music is played while Billy dances for Jackie showing he is finally standing up to Jackie. From here on in the film, Jackie starts to support Billy in his dancing by attempting to go back to the mines and selling his wife’s jewellery, which is very special to him. This change was very significant to me, as it showed that family bonds and the love in families could overcome obstacles, financial and social, as great ad the ones the Elliot family overcome.

An example of the change in the Elliot family is that at the beginning of the film, Tony and Jackie are often portrayed by low angle shots when their behavior is threatening to Billy showing they are dominant, but towards the end of the film they are portrayed in mid-shots when talking to Billy to show equality between the family members. An example of this is when Jackie is talking to Billy in the meadow. This idea of family relations showed me that family bonds could overcome great obstacles and that family love is unconditional, despite the harsh circumstances.

In conclusion, the film Billy Elliot by Stephen Daldry focuses on Billy as he tries to pursue his love of ballet despite the pressure of his family and their traditions. The idea of family relations in the film helped me to understand why Billys family was so against ballet, what Billy’s feelings were throughout the film and how family bonds can overcome great obstacles. Throughout the film, Daldry uses a range of film techniques to portray Tony and Jackie’s obvious disdain for ballet, Billy’s love of ballet and the tumultuous time the Elliot family is going throughout following the death of Jackie’s wife and the miners strikes.

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The Chinese Culture: A Chinese-American Family Reunion

My wife is originally from the southern part of China, so her family is a mixture of descendants of China and the Americans who have married into the family. A few years ago her family had a reunion to gather together and visit with one another, and I was invited to attend. While I had experienced some of the Chinese culture prior to the event, the reunion was the first time that I really got to observe the traditional culture in real life.

The event was a very elegant occasion, more like a banquet than the typical American family reunion. There was tons of food, most of which was Chinese, and even Chinese decorations. There were red lanterns strung around the room, all lit as the evening approached. They were very beautiful, but as it turns out they are not used for beauty. The lanterns symbolize good luck and hope.

They are used every year in China at the Lantern Festival, when they line the streets to symbolize this same meaning. The color red also has significance in the Chinese culture. It is believed to be the color of luck. Some of the older family members spoke the Chinese language, which was interesting to witness, but most everyone spoke English.

I am an American with family roots in Germany, so the two cultures are vastly different. The biggest difference I noticed was how much more reserved the Chinese people seemed to typical American families. Even the children, who were laughing and playing, seemed to be more respectful than American children. This aspect of the culture impacted me the most.

I realized how different people are from different parts of the world, and especially those who live in America, but have been raised with traditional Chinese values. It amazes me how different cultures can vary so greatly. I enjoyed this learning experience with my wife’s family and I look forward to many more Chinese events in the future.

References:

Chinatown Connection, “Lantern Festival.” Chinatown Connection. n.d.. Chinatown Connection.

5 May 2008 <http://www.chinatownconnection.com/lantern-festival.htm>.

Lee, Danile. “Chinese People Lifestyle.” Chinatown Connection. n.d.. Chinatown Connection. 5

May 2008 <http://www.chinatownconnection.com/chinese-people-lifestyle.htm>.

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The Simpsons: an Imperfect Ideal Family

The Simpsons: An Imperfect Ideal Family The essay The Simpsons: An Imperfect Ideal Family was a paper written by Eliezer Van Allen explaining how the popular T. V show The Simpsons was not so unrealistic and impractical as many Americans had thought it to be. In fact, The Simpsons was, more or less, a ““cracked-mirror version” of our own imperfect but lovable selves” just in a cartoon, sitcom type form.

This essay talks about how The Simpsons family often reflects the way many current families live and how, although many individual characteristics in a family member may not always be the best, as a whole a family will often come together and help one another constructing a strong family bond. Although Van Allen over exaggerates the obstacles of the everyday life, he refers to The Simpsons as a “nuclear” resemblance of the typical 20th century family.

Throughout the essay, Van Allen often uses many literary techniques/ rhetorical devices to help the reader understand the effectiveness of the piece. Humour is used when Van Allen makes a personal connection to the fact that at the beginning of each Simpsons episode, the Simpsons family all run to the couch and sit in their “specific” spot, just like his own. He refers to this as a “mirror image of my couch-dwelling family”.

Having this humour presented in the essay allows for the reader to stay attentive and wanting to read more, as humour often keeps the reader interested. This often allows for the reader to have more of a connection with the author and to get more of a feel of what the authors thinking process is. Allegory is present throughout the essay as Bert and Lisa’s everyday behaviour allegorically teaches the lessons of the average American. For instance, in “Bart Sells His Soul” love and concern is shown by Lisa’s actions as she cares for him and always has his back.

This contributes to the effectiveness of the piece because although many family members (individually) may not always be the best and act to their morals, as a family, everyone works together and helps each other’s weaknesses become strengths and will grow off the strengthens of one another, creating a family, as outlined by Richard Corliss, “they stick together with one another through thick and thin”. As a reader, this is thought to give the essay “personality” and with that comes good T.

V reviews as viewers become attached and are able to relate to their own family/ real life scenarios. Periodic sentence is present when Van Allen refers to Matt Groening, The Simpsons creator, when he states “I knew that other kids were going to get serious and go on and be professional… I never wanted to go to an office and carry a briefcase”, as it is only clear at the end of the sentence what Groening meant by that. He knew that “carrying a briefcase” wasn’t for him so he created a new way to express his talents and his passions.

This contributes to the effectiveness of the piece because it forces the reader to keep reading to find out what the author was trying to say, and without doing so the main point of what the author is trying to get across is confusing and may often be misunderstood. Throughout the essay many literary terms/ rhetorical devices are present; these are just a few of many that really stuck out to me. Before reading Van Allen’s paper, I had never thought of The Simpsons in the way he had portrayed it, or the way Groening explained the story behind it.

It wasn’t until fully reading and understanding Van Allen’s essay that I started to click into the logic behind the mirror image ideology that The Simpsons family portrayed of the typical 20th century American family. I felt that throughout the essay Van Allen supported his point of how The Simpsons portrayed the average 20th century family very well. He made a lot of personal connections that both any reader and I could easily relate too. For example, he talked about how The Simpsons was “that” T.

V show for him and his family that they felt was the mirror-image of their family life. How they all ran to the T. V to watch The Simpsons episode that was coming on next, just how The Simpsons family does at the beginning of each episode. He also talked about how now a days, individual family members don’t always act appropriate and may have some horrible individual traits, from Bart’s rebelliousness, to Homer’s stupidity and foolishness, but as a group and family together they make the best come out in each other.

No family has perfect kids or perfect parents but it’s the love and care that one another share, that matters most. This is taught throughout Van Allen’s essay about The Simpsons family in comparison to the average family now a day. To me, family means to always be there for another and always have each others back. Unlike friends, you can’t choose your family. You know that as much as they might get on your nerves sometimes, you must look past that, and find the good in what you are blessed with.

While reading Van Allen’s essay I felt that I could relate to a lot of what he was saying and found it very easy to understand what he was trying to get across, which kept me wanting to read more. I strongly agree with Van Allen’s point on how The Simpsons is a character formatted sitcom version of the typical 20th century family. Overall, reading this essay has made me think about how much more relatable and relevant some of shows on T. V actually are. Every time I turn on the T.

V and go to watch a sitcom type show especially, it makes me think about any possible story line or lesson that may be hidden behind the show that may benefit me in any way. Van Allen’s essay has made me truly appreciate the hard work and effort gone into such a show, as The Simpsons would have been the last show I would have thought to have a message behind it. All in all, Van Allen`s essay has given T. V shows a whole new outcome, as in how they are looked upon and I am more understanding of the meanings behind the “hidden messages” in our simple day to day shows.

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Sociology and Family Members

Family SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology Instructor: Sheila Farr November, 12th 2012 The sociological institutions I have chosen for this paper is family. “The family is the first group of people with whom the child has contact, and they are the most important, especially in the early years. They provide food, shelter, care, education, and support. They describe and define the world to the developing child. They teach values, morals, and beliefs. ” (Vissing, 2011) A person is defined by the family and they are taught how to live a certain way, but as they grow up society start to influence their decisions.

In this paper I will evaluate the impact Sociological theories: Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism, will have on a family. How does each theory apply to the selected sociological institution? “The family is regarded as the most basic institution for all individuals because it is directly responsible for the care and protection of its members. The family consists of people who are biologically related but may also contain people with whom we live and people with whom we have close emotional bonds. (Vissing, 2011) The way Functionalism applies to a family is functionalist sociologists developed an analysis which showed that the family had evolved into a superior form. Studies by Murdock, Goode, and others were able to show that the family, in changing its form, had been left free to concentrate on the most important functions. Parsons (1956) saw the two most important functions to be the socialization of the young and the stabilization of the adult personality. “The functionalist view of the family is the notion of ‘fit’.

The isolated nuclear family was seen to be a good ‘fit’ for post-war American society. The family had been left free to make a good job of rearing the children, with more ‘professional’ parents working alongside teachers and childcare experts. The family was also able to concentrate on the demanding relationship between husband and wife. The family provided both the child and the adult with the physical and emotional support needed for their roles in society. It also provided the motivation to be successful in an industrial world which laid stress on achievement by individual effort.

The functionalist account of the positive role of the family in society coincided with a period of strong public support for the American family. Berger and Berger (1983) argue that this was a period when the American family was seen as a success, particularly in the way it placed the needs of the individual at the heart of family life. ” (Wilson, A, (1985) pg. 21) The way Conflict applies to a family is the conflict role can be intense and uncomfortable, as people feel forced to make choices between work and family.

Relatives may be upset when major conflicts occurs such as “financial pressures and money management; trying to balance home, work, community, and personal responsibilities; infidelity; decision making and conflict resolution; dealing with health problems; addressing personal, educational, and occupational needs of family members; maintaining a home and household; dealing with substance abuse, crime, or domestic violence problems; co-parenting; divorce and stepfamilies; and dealing with aging parents. A family shoulders a tremendous responsibility and usually requires assistance from others as a result. For some people work may come first and may be seen as a violation of the role of being a dedicated family member. Individuals may feel a sense of being “damned if I do, damned if I don’t,” no matter what they end up doing. Often work comes first because responsible adults feel that they cannot care for their family if they lose their job.

When people feel important at work and home, they have a greater sense of generatively; when they do not feel valued or do work that isn’t inherently meaningful, the feelings of stagnation and alienation occur. When people feel competent and happy, the systems perspective holds that they may transfer those feelings to other areas of life, whereas when people feel stagnant and hopeless, those feelings likewise impact other aspects of their personal world. The way Interactionism applies to a family, Symbolic interaction theory analyzes society by addressing the subjective meanings that people impose on behaviors.

A close emotional bond exists with them, what they think of us really matters, especially in the early years when children are being socialized to understand both themselves and their place in the world. ” (Vissing, 2011) What are the similarities? What are the differences? The similarities between the theories are how they affect a family as a whole. Functionalism impact the functionality of family when everyone doing their part and there are no problems and, Conflict affects the family relationship as a whole, and Interactionism affects how the family interact with one another and other people.

The differences between the theories are, functionalism is about the morals and values that are taught to a family to help them thrive in society, Conflict is based on outside influence that impact the family, and interactionism focuses on the behaviors family members pick up from socializing with different groups of people. How does each theory affect the views of the individual who is part of a family? Functionalism affects the views of the as a whole family, each individual person plays a role in how the family functions in society.

Conflict affects the views of the individual because that person will struggle for to be heard, they will disagree and their actions will cause stress in the family. Interactionism affects the views of individual because they are learning new things as they socialize with others. They may start to act and dress differently and do things they never done before. How does each theory affect the approach to social change within the selected institution? Functionalism, see social changes as undesirable because of the various parts of society will compensate naturally for any problems that may arise.

The way they approach social change is by not taking an active role in changes in their social environment, if things are going good they like for it to stay that way. Even if the family can benefit from the changes, they don’t won’t to run the risk of causing problems for themselves or their family. The family prefers to let the changes happen naturally without interfering. Conflict, approach to social change is by putting the changes into perspective. The social conflict can have a positive impact, when properly understood, in promoting groups to find common ground, form alliances, define core values, and identify the differences.

Interactionism, approach to social change in family is people can chose to embrace the morals and values they were taught or reject them. Every individual has their own set of beliefs in a family and these beliefs are exercised depending on the individual. Family unit does not operate as a collective, even though it is believed to do so. Each individual in the family has different values that are attributed to age, associations, values, etc. A child could have complete different view on a particular subject than their parents.

Within the Sociological institution selected, how does each theory affect the views of society? Functionalism, view society as functioning best when there is agreement about the social values and norms. “Conflict can have a positive impact on society views, when properly understood, in promoting groups to find common ground, form alliances, define core values, and identify the differences. ” (Harper, N) Interactionism, society imposes a different set of values that can influence family member to do things different from the norm. To conclude, each theory has a different impact on a family.

They each give insight into how society impacts a family and individual members. As person venture in the world they start to see things in different way. Functionalism is believed to focus on the family being close and being in agreement on thing. They appear to have no problem cause of the agreement to not interact with any changes and just to let them happen and go with the flow. “From a functionalist point of view, the family may change form and be quite diverse in its composition, but families have always existed and will continue to exist because what they do is so important.

Children are born to people who will love and care for them, and are socialized about how to care for themselves and be a productive member of society. Families are the link to most of the other institutions. ” Conflict, causes a family to weight the pros and cons of different situations because the child is now older and they are influenced by what they see from other social institutions. “From a conflict approach, families may not receive the support or assistance they need to adequately do all the things that are required of them.

Some families function well, many need help, and other families are fragile or dysfunctional. The ability of the family to function depends on how the rest of the institutions interface with them. Conflict theorists acknowledge that the family cannot adequately do its job without contributions from the other social institutions. ” Interactionism, is about the habits family members pick up from socializing and being apart and around different groups of people. “Symbolic interactionists focus on the messages that family members receive and impart to each other.

Since the family is in the position of having the most intense interactions when children’s identities and bodies are being formed, what they say and do will have a significant impact on them (Cherlin, 2009; Benokratis, 2010; Lamanna & Riedmann, 2011). ” (Vissing, 2011) Reference: Harper, N. Journeys into Justice Retrieved from: http://www. journeysintojustice. com/author. htm Vissing, Y. (2011) Introduction to Sociology. Salem State University. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Wilson, Adrian. Family. Routledge, 1985. p 21. Retrieved from: http://site. ebrary. com/lib/ashford/Doc? id=5003764&ppg=31

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Military Family

The military family experiences several challenges in their working conditions. This ranges from culture, pressure they experience from work, low pay, and poor housing conditions among others.

Culture basically refers to people’s way of life. The military has been treated in the past time in a way that reflects that they live in a vacuum or space. Therefore the major challenge or crisis the military family experience is the stress they get on deployments. These people have physical and family separation when deployed in other areas. They feel that they belong to a different world where people do not exist. The military troops are also not expected to have their families with them. The frequent deployment has therefore made a lot of the military army to remain family less. They can have a family if in the real sense they would not have enough time for them.(Rhea,1998,p21).

The other challenge that has been raised by the American Military Service Personnel and their families is the stressful condition in the work place since the September 11, 2001 bombing. These people face psychological risks and mental health-related problems as a result of frequent deployment rates. Life within most of the military families has been constantly changing whenever a service member is deployed to a combat zone. Most of them have been killed with majority sustaining physical wounds and a range of permanent disabilities. Some of the disabilities included traumatic brain injury and eye problems. Some of the members who were deployed in the support of the GWOT returned from the combat zone with a lot of psychological injuries.

The military members also are faced to the kind life that changes in areas they are deployed. This was experienced especially those who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Majority of them found themselves dead. Could be the kind of topography in this area outweighed their experience. They did not have the appropriate survival strategies which are highly adaptive in a combat environment. This was the biggest challenge to the families of these people. The family life was seriously affected by the exposure of the combat environment making the families suffer a lot of psychological stress (Stephen, 1985, p64).

A part from sustaining physical and psychological injuries, the military families also faced a number of problems as a result of frequent deployment. The living conditions where they reside is very poor and not worth for human health. These people do have families comprising of children who need special care. So in most cases a lot of health related problems do emerge among the family members of the military officers. This even makes them have a feeling of not having a family. Most of the houses they live in are just meant for survival since they are not permanent in areas they are deployed. Therefore poor housing condition is a major challenge faced by these families.

The other challenge faced by the military members and their families is lack of adequate medical care given to them. Generally it is very true that these people tend to live in remote areas where the climate is not friendly. Like in Iraq and Afghanistan the place is just too dry with extreme temperatures experienced during the day and night. Since they lack proper medication most of them return home with several diseases developed. (Sonia, 1999, p34).

The other challenge faced by the military members and their families is ineffective deployment timetable. Most of them complain of lacking time for their families. Therefore a suitable deployment timetable should be structured in such a way that their interests are catered for. These people are human beings just like us. Therefore they suffer from emotional stress when subjected to a lot of pressure and stress.  It is the right for these people to have a family member.  It therefore goes without a say that too much work make Jack a dull boy.  Therefore some periods like holiday should be provided to the military troops to help them have time with their families. (James, 1997, p98).

Most of these military service men also complain about lack of motivation.  There was no even proper and effective compensation that was given to family members who lost their people during the war and bombing attack.  Those who were compensated were given a low pay that could not match the service offered so lack of compensation and motivation to the military officers and service men bring a lot of issues to be discussed.

Several measures have been put into place to address the challenges and problems send by the Military Family Association which is a non profit organization has been formed with an objective to influence the development and implementation of polices.  The polices mainly focuses on the improvement of lives of the military family members.  The National Military Family Association was also formed with a mission of serving the families of the seven unformed services through offering education, information and advocacy.  This is basically offered by its staff who volunteers to help on military family issues.

In order to address the psychological needs of the military members and their families, the American psychological Association (APA) President came up with a task force to address the issue.  The task force was given the responsibility to identify the psychological needs of military members and their families during and after deployment.  The task force was also able to develop a strategic plan for working with the military and other organizations such as NMFA in order to meet the military members’ needs.  Among the services the task force was to provide include medication to the members who reformed from the combat zone. (Barbara, 1996, p65).

The department of Defense Investigation general has also come up with a program to evaluate the military Mental Health systems to address the health related issues. The American Department of Defense (DOD) has also formed military compensation as one of the tools used to attract more people and even retain the solders in their work.  Military compensation work on the principle that all service members including reserve and active ones should be treated fairly. This was a sign of motivation to the service members and their families.

The US president, Bush has also come with a good policy in support of the troops.  There has been tax relief for the American military families.  The military service men have been exempted from paying some tax thus the overall tax they pay is lowered.  This is a motivation factor to make them feel loved by the people they serve.  There has also been improvement on the pay for the military officers/personnel.  The increase in pay is a way of encouraging and also motivating them to perform their duties with utmost good faith.

Health care improvement has also been initiated for the families of the military personnel and service men.  This was to address the poor condition of those who returned from war with physical wounds.  The other achievement that the department of defense has made is coming up with a deployment time table to serve the interest of the service men.  Today many people are joining military because of the good condition of the work place the government has put into place.
References

Barbara, C. A. (1996). Family and Gender and Race; Family and Development Perspectives.  London. The Haworth Press, Inc.

James, E. (1997). Fighting on Two Fronts: African, Americans and the Vietnam War. London: Barnes & Noble.

Rhea, V.A. (1996). Family and Gender among American Muslims: Issues Facing Middle Eastern; London; Temple University Press.

Sonia, P. (1999) Eat First – You Don’t Know What They’ll Give You; New York: Xlibris Corporation.

Stephen, M. (1985). The Trauma of War: Stress and Recovery in Vietnam Veterans. New York: American Psychiatric Publishers.

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Broken Family

Saturday, 06 March 2010 * Broken Family Relationships: When to Walk Away, and When to Run I have always had trouble getting along with my mother. Ever since I was old enough to have an opinion and arguably before then, my mother and I have been at odds. On top of that, I never even had a great relationship with my dad but that’s a topic for another post entirely. A vast majority of my friends, peers, and coworkers have a relationship with at least one parent. It has really caused me to question a lot about my faith, myself, and the fairness of not being able to choose one’s parents. The idea of a parent is a tough one.

What does it take to make a parent? What is a good parent and what is a bad parent? Absentee parents fall somewhere in between because even if they live at the same address as their children, they’re emotionally unavailable. According to dictionary. com, the definition for parent is: a mother or a father. I’m no expert on the etymology of words, but I think we should redefine parents a bit. A parent is someone who loves, nurtures, and cares for their young. There are plenty of “parents” in the world who may not have bore children of their body but have certainly bore children of their heart.

As a young Christian, I have been tormented by my relationship with my mother and my other family members. Over the years, my relationship with her and my siblings has deteriorated tremendously. On the one hand, Christians are told to be loving. We are to endure with one another and bare with one another. This is noble philosophy and life doctrine but implementation of it is excruciating. How do we know when to “endure with one and bare with one another” and when to draw the line to protect ourselves from mistreatment? I have grappled with this concept for years.

When I have asked my friends their opinion, most of them shrug their shoulders and insist that I have to accept my family how they are. Obviously, these are individuals with relatively functional families. They have no idea what I’m subjecting myself by toughing it out and “dealing” with some of my relatives. Only until recently has God really started drawing my attention or I’ve been more attentive, to what His word says about parents and baring with them. A few days ago, I read 1 Kings 19: 20-21. It says: “Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. Let me kiss my father and mother good-by,” he said, “and then I will come with you. ” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you? “…. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant. ” In this verse, Elisha does not go back to his parents. Instead, he leaves his farming equipment and speeds to follow Elijah. In Hebrews 11:24, the Bible says “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. ” In reality, Moses was the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter but here’s where the debate on parents comes in.

Pharaoh’s daughter had parented Moses as if he were her own son. But Moses refused this tie to the Pharaoh’s daughter. Similarly, Christians are free to cast down false relationship or ties to people by faith. Being cared for as a child is important but it should not be the sole reason why we keep contact with or relate to people that did so. Parenting is so much more that providing for a child. It is having a relationship with a child. I am sure that there are many people who have family problems. Not everyone needs to disown their parents and siblings to deal with it but sometimes it is necessary and even ordained by God.

In Genesis 12:1, the Bible says: “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your fathers’ household and go to the land I will show you. ” The very first book in the Bible contains a story where God ordains a mighty man to leave his father’s household. We are not meant to stay with our parents forever. There are plenty of stories throughout the Bible of people being at odds with family members. The story of Joseph is a prime example of sibling rivalry and dissension that leads to Joseph being betrayed and sold into slavery. His brothers were his blood kin but they did not have his best interest at heart.

Maybe one way to analyze the story of Joseph is to say that God recognized the jealousy in the brothers of Joseph. Hence, he decided that it was even better for him to be sold into slavery than to live around a den of jealousy amongst “family ties”. Mothers, you can’t live with ’em and you can’t live without ’em. But God says that He will not leave us even when our mothers do. In my post: “In my Darkest Hours… “, I discuss the tension that can exist between family in greater depth. That post also talks about God’s response as a loving Father and how He intervenes in these circumstances.

How do you define a parent? Have you ever had a really tumultuous relationship with a parent that you couldn’t over come? If you did overcome it, how so? Do you think that God may be calling you to something greater that will draw you away from conventional family ties? When do you bare with a parent, and when is it time to walk away from emotionally abusive relationships? 1. Isang pamilyang di magkasundo o/at magkahiwalay or divorced. 2. Ang broken family ay ung pamilyang nagkawatak watak kaya ngakakaroon ng broken family ay dahil sa ating mga magulang na hindi nagkakaunawaan. . If the father and the mother decided not to stay with each other because of their difference then that’s what you called broken family. News Print Article  |   Email Friend  |  Reprint Permissions Broken Family Structure Leads to Educational Difficulties for Children By Gudrun Schultz UNITED STATES, January 16, 2006 (LifeSiteNews. com) – The U. S Center for Marriage and Family released a study in November 2005 that shows broken family structures consistently lead to education difficulties for children. When it comes to educational achievement,” the study says, “children living with their own married parents do significantly better than other children. ” The report found that children from non-intact families (children living in a situation other than with their own married father and mother) have significantly higher rates of difficulty with all levels of education, from pre-kindergarten through to primary, secondary, and college-age levels. Each year a child spends with a single mother or stepparent “reduces that child’s overall educational attainment by approximately one-half year” suggests the report.

The study, a comprehensive review of recent academic research on the relationship between family structures and children’s academic performance, compared education outcomes from children growing up with their own married parents to children in non-intact family structures such as divorced, single, remarried or cohabiting parents. Family structure was consistently found to be the deciding factor in a wide range of child behaviors that directly influence academic performance, including emotional and psychological distress, attention disorders, social misbehavior, substance abuse, sexual activity and teen pregnancy.

Children from non-intact homes had higher rates of stress, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, particularly as teenagers. The study found that preschool children from broken homes were three times more likely to suffer from attention deficit disorders than children from intact homes. Children from single-parent homes suffered from more physical health problems, as well. Pre-school children from single-parent homes were also less likely to be read to or given help with letter-recognition. A

During elementary school, children from non-intact families scored consistently lower on reading comprehension and math, and had more difficulty maintaining their grade levels overall. Children from married parents had much lower rates of behavioral problems in the classroom than children who did not live with married parents. In particular, boys from broken marriages showed a higher rate of classroom misbehavior. For teenagers, students from broken homes were 30 percent more likely to miss school, be late, or cut class than students from intact homes, in part because single parents had more difficulty monitoring their children.

These children were also at higher risk for smoking, using drugs and consuming alcohol. Teenagers from non-intact families were more likely to be sexually active and had higher rates of pregnancy. Girls from divorced single-mother homes were at greatest risk for teenage pregnancy. The study also found that children who were in a single-parent or step-parent home by the time they were ten were more than twice as likely to be arrested by age 14. A Children who never lived with their own father had the highest likelihood of being arrested.

The study reports that a majority of U. S. children will have spent a significant part of their childhood in a one-parent home by the time they reach 18. Single parent homes in the U. S. nearly doubled in the period from 1968-2003. Family Structure and Children’s Educational Outcomes: http://www. americanvalues. org/briefs/edoutcomes. htm broken family is one where the parents (mother and father) of a child or children have split up and no longer share a single family home as a family unit. This is also known as a broken home.