I come from an African American background. My family is primarily from the Westside of Chicago with some family members living in Tennessee, Minnesota, and Hawaii. My mother was eighteen when she was found out she was pregnant with me. I was supposed to be born in the middle of September, but my mother went into labor in August at my cousin’s birthday party, and now we share the same birthday. It has always been a special bond between us because we have the same birthday. I come from a single parent family, and I am the only child, so it is just the two of us and we are like best friends. I do not have much of a relationship with my dad, but it is by personal choice. Our relationship has been rocky ever since I came to college and I started speaking up for myself because I do not agree with the way he treats me. Moving along, I do not get to spend much time with my family from home these days because I am away at school most of the year, and most of my cousins have grown up, moved and went their own ways. I am close with my mom, my two aunts, and a few cousins.
My grandmother is also included in this list even though she has left us for a better life in heaven. My grandmother was like my dad, or my second mom. She always looked out for me, and helped my mother whenever she could. To be honest, I wish I had more fulfilling relationships with people of my family, but this is the way it has been since my great grandmother and grandmother passed away. To make it make more sense, I don’t expect anyone to be at my graduation except my mother and maybe my aunts. I think this explains my relationship with the rest of my family.
I grew up on the Westside of Chicago. Until about age eight, my mother and I lived with my grandmother in a pretty rough neighborhood. My school was only two blocks from my house, and next to our house was an empty lot. As of today, the school is closed, and the house I grew up in has been torn down. Structural-Functional Theory Structural-Functional Theory can be defined as how a family is organized and serves its purpose into meeting the needs of society (Stinnett, Stinnett, DeGenova, & Rice, 2017). My family function in common residence is one that my mother and I share a common residence, but I am in Springfield, Illinois nine months out of the year classifying myself as a commuter. I see my mother for major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and I sometimes go home for Easter. I have never shared a common residence with my father, or anyone outside of my mother.
My family relates to economic cooperation because my mom is the bread-winner in our household. She pays all the bills and make sure the house has what it needs. Though I have worked a job ever since my Junior year in high school, I have been blessed with a parent who does not take money from me, or make me pay rent, utilities, etc. I hold up my end of the bargain by helping to keep the house clean, and since I am a student, I benefit from the Illinois Link Card, which is a card that enables me to get groceries for free for a certain amount. I get one hundred and eighty-four dollars every month, so whenever I am home I buy groceries for my mom so that it is one less expense for her for the month. Plus, she does not need a lot of food because it is only her in the house. It works out well for us both.
My mother does not relate to sexual functioning now because my mother is not married, and she has built up morals of not having sex before marriage. I do not follow this same moral. However, I have only had one sexual partner who is still my sexual panther today because we have been in a committed relationship for almost two years now. According the text, sex outside of marriage has become more common and more accepted by society today.
My family relates to the nurture and socialization of children because my mother taught me manners, respect, and how to behave at an early age. Growing up, I was always mistaken for being older than I was. People would say that I was mature for my age. My mother did not tolerate nonsense, and expected more of me in terms of grades, behavior and household work. I do believe my mother did an exceptional job with raising me considering she was a single parent, and she had a different upbringing than the one she presented to me. The high expectations my mother had for me has helped me to learn how to set high expectations for myself. However, I do have cousins who were not as fortunate as I was to have a parent who cared about how you function socially. By that I mean they did not have basic respect for older members in the family, teachers, or really themselves. Without nurture and socializing starting in the family, children are left to figure out what acceptable and what is not on their own, or from peers who are also just learning. Failure to nurture and socialize with your children is illegal and can result in the parents being charged with child neglect or abuse.
My family complies with the structural-functional theory. Symbolic Interaction Theory Symbolic Interaction Theory can be defined as a family interacting with each other through symbols. The focus of this theory is how families communicate and connect through symbols such as words, gestures, rules and roles. My mother has the mother role, and almost 10 years ago, she also had the role of a wife. As a mother, she is supposed to care for her child and the household. I play the role of a daughter. Learning domestic work from my mother, but also learning to be independent because she did not have someone to play the husband role, as I did not have anyone to play the father role inside the home. As a result, my mother played the mother and father role inside our home for almost all my life because she was only married for 3 years. There are not many roles inside of our home considering there is only two of us, but we do comply with the Social Interaction Theory.
Systems Theory can be defined as the actions of one family member effecting the other members of the family. Things that involve the interdependence between family members are things like love, money, shelter, and food. My great-grandmother was born and raised in Covington, Tennessee. She married my great-grandfather and moved to Chicago when my grandmother was just one years old. This effected the entire family because this is where most of us live today. Many of my great-grandmothers’ siblings followed her to Chicago, making the city a primary location for our family. Another example of my family interdependence is when my mother got married. She and I moved 45 minutes away to a city with her new husband. I transferred schools and had to make new friends. Moving along, my mother would be a subsystem in our family dynamic as the parent, and I would count as a subsystem by myself as the child. It is hard to do subsystems with my grandparents because I do not have any living grandparents. My mother and myself count as two subsystems.
In doing this paper, I have learned that my mother and myself carry out mostly all the functions named in chapter one of the textbook. Sometimes it is tiring because we do not have any real help, but we have made it this far solely depending on each other, and I know we will be okay if it is only ever us two. I also learned that the socialization of children starts at home and this can be a key determinate in whether the child learns to participate in society appropriately. I have learned that a good number of my family members do not play a key role in the nurture and socialization of their children. This can explain the differences seen in my cousins and I and where we are in life as of now, and what the future looks like for us judging from present evidence. I wish my family can function as one more often than just funerals.
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