HDFS 1070 Week 12 Notes (Exam 4)
HDFS 1070 Week 12 Notes (Exam 4) HDFS 1070
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This 17 page Class Notes was uploaded by Victoria Tabacchini on Friday April 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HDFS 1070 at University of Connecticut taught by Ronald Sabatelli in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 126 views. For similar materials see Individual and Family Development in Human Development at University of Connecticut.
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HDFS 1070 4/11, Page 1 Middle Adulthood (4060) 4/11 Lecture Notes Chronological versus Psychological Age As people get older, chronological age is not a good indicator of their age. Psychological age is more important because it is how you feel about how old you are it is how old you are psychologically. Can have people who are 40 years old who are really younger psychologically in their outlook. Chronological age is more subjectively defined by your psychological outlook. Physiological Changes + Psychological Adaptations Trajectory of Middle Adulthood Psychological age is influenced a lot by your physiological experiences, physiological changes, and how you frame those psychological changes. These physiological changes operate on their own time table. Everyone experiences a behavioral slowing as they age. There are changes subtly in their physiology. Ex. Not as strong as used to be, eye sight begins to change, slower reflexes, etc. What determines your age and psychological outlook is how you frame these changes. How people feel about their age is a better determinate of their life trajectory than their actual chronological age. Stage Specific Sources of Anxiety – MidLife Polarities (focusing on the works of Levinson, Sheehy and Erikson) Each stage of life is accompanied by stage specific sources of anxiety, which are called psychosocial crises In middle adulthood, there is a lot going on in terms of stage specific sources of anxiety. Some theorists have referred to these as midlife polarities: the stage specific sources of anxiety that come from the tension between these different polar pressures that individuals experience. Polarity One: Young versus Old Women and the changes in the markers of youth/femininity o This is another marker of aging that women have to psychologically respond to. As their menstrual cycles become more irregular, they are likely to experience other psychological phenomena (ex. Hot flashes, night sweats, etc.). This is an aggravation factor for women because it is a nuisance that interferes with the quality of their life and it communicates to them that they are no longer young. This can go on for years before it resolves itself. It is a subtle reminder to women that they are aging. What also happens is that sexual response changes—it is harder for women to feel sexually aroused because the walls of their vaginas thin in menopause and produce less lubrication, so they have less of a physiological feedback that they are sexually aroused. There are studies that show that women are just as aroused in their minds but their bodies are not at that same level so it makes intercourse possibly uncomfortable because of the absence of lubrication and the thinning of the walls. Very rarely do you have people in middle age having these conversations with women to provide them with information that HDFS 1070 4/11, Page 2 improves their quality of life. We don’t talk about these things as if we shouldn’t be talking about the change in their sexual lives. This is the reality of being a woman and getting older. People who are bothered by this become psychologically bothered by it and it changes their experience. The best predictor of how sexually active you are going to be when you are older is how sexually active you were as a young person. The more sexually active you were as a young person, the more sexually active you will be throughout your lifetime. Men and changes in the markers of youth/masculinity o Men lose strength, endurance, and their reaction times decline, etc. there are changes in their sexuality—slower to achieve erection and takes longer to have an orgasm. There are more opportunities for erectile failure. There are physiological changes that introduce subtle changes in the way their bodies respond sexually. They have to adjust to this. In middle adulthood it is impossible to think of yourself of still being young. Yet you are not old yet. How you manage the anxiety in this period has to do with the tension and how you resolve the tension between young vs old. What contributes to this source of anxiety around young vs old is the experience of behavioral slowing: your body begins to slow down—normative biological aging. This has to do with strength, reaction time, changes in eye sight, and hearing. You recognize that even though you’re fit, you’re not as strong and capable psychologically as you used to be. In women, they go through pre menopause and then go through menopause. For men, there are changes as well. o People feel either Anxious, sad, depressed o Or they feel Okay, deal with it It is manageable In midlife surrounding the young vs old dichotomy, you are forced to develop a perspective on mortality. In your cohort people are becoming ill and some will die because that is what happens in midlife for some. So you are forced to develop a perspective on life and death. Many illnesses occur during middle age, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer. These have a lot of nuisance factors, such as reconstructive surgery. Polarity Two: Masculine versus Feminine Gender convergence: men who have been very masculine throughout their life become aware of the limitations of masculinity at mid age, such as having to process emotion. They have to be open to emotion, which is a feminine trait. They become aware that they have missed out on having emotional connections to other people and that there advantages to being feminine that they missed out on. Ex. When they go play a sport with someone, they don’t talk about emotions. They become aware that there is another side to things, such as when they talk to their kids. The world of relationships have passed them by. Masculine individuals start to think that its HDFS 1070 4/11, Page 3 important to be more feminine as they get older. They become aware on what they have done and what they may have been missing. o Women who have been feminine all their lives become aware of the limitations of being feminine when they enter mid adulthood. They feel like they have put other people ahead of them at the expense of taking care of themselves. They think now its time to spend more time focusing on themselves. Men on the other hand believe its time to spend more time focusing on relationships. They are converging in a place in which there is a more balance of being feminine and masculine. o In middle adulthood, fathers are more likely to spend time talking while mothers are more likely to focus on “me time.” This is because women miss out on their career and being successful often times. Polarity Three: Attachment versus Separation In early adulthood, you establish a life plan, even if you are not conscious of it. In middle adulthood, as you begin to develop a point of view about life and mortality, you begin to question whether your goals are the right goals, whether you should continue to pursue your goals, and if you should change the emphasis of your life. This polarity is associated in making midlife corrections in our lives. There is an association between a midlife correction and a midlife crisis because as we reflect on what we’ve been doing and spending time on, many individuals decide that they need to reorganize what they’re attached to and recognize their priorities. Ex. Less attention to work, less attention to money, more time pursing things that bring joy into their lives. Attachment – should I continue to do what I have been doing? o Reflected in the pressure to continue to do what you’ve been doing. Separation – should I reclaim my right to define myself? o Should I change? Should I do something different? Are there other things that are more meaningful that I should be doing? o Discourse on Midlife Divorce: want to leave that lifestyle and start a new one o Pursuing a different career and going in a different direction—this occurs because people are aware that they have a finite time left to live and have not had a lot of joy in their lives—there is only so much time to achieve it. o Discourse on Midlife Crisis: have anxiety in their life most of the time. Pursuing a life that doesn’t bring happiness to them. Ex. Middle aged men are the biggest group of people who buy motorcycles. This is a midlife correction because they buy a little something that makes them happy. A midlife crisis is when they are changing their lives dramatically because they are unhappy. Who are “at risk” for a crisis? Identity Foreclosure: People most at risk are people who have foreclosed on their identities early on and have not experimented with their lives to know what they really want to do. Dominant theme of commitment to responsibilities and obligation. HDFS 1070 4/11, Page 4 Identity Disruption Polarity Four (Erikson’s Psychosocial Crisis): Generativity versus Stagnation Indicators of Generativity: making a commitment to improving the life of future generations—acting in a caring, supportive, and creative way. o One of the sources of stage specific anxiety is the pressure from society to make a difference, improve conditions in the community, and improve the quality of life for future generations. o Who is responsible for improving societal conditions? Middle aged people. Indicators of Stagnation: focused on themselves in a narcissistic egocentric way. Concern is with themselves only. If you successfully resolved the earlier crises, you are likely to develop a point of view where you are invested in being generative. If you are saddled in excessive anxiety from the prior developmental crisis, you are more likely to focus on yourself than others. If most of middle aged people are like this, society would be take a turn for the worst. There is a tension in this period between these individuals. Central Process: Person x’s Environment and Creativity Each individual has to find a creative way to be in the environment to express their generativity. This is different for each individual. Ex. Billionaire can donate money while a middle class person can organize a food drive. What Influences Generativity – Why are some generative and others not? Cohort influences o Baby boom generation is failing because the research suggests that there is a low percentage of the baby boom generation that is generative. There is too much stagnation in that generation. Why? Because they feel like they were deprived earlier on and feel like their health is compromised. They feel like they don’t need to be generative because of that. Personal health Financial wellbeing: feel they aren’t doing well even though they are. Personal circumstances of one’s life Injustices brought forward from one’s Family of Origin o This is the factor that is most connected to the absence of generativity: the feeling that you’ve been deprived all along in your life. Feeling that you’ve been living a life with no joy in it and only anxiety. Feeling like there are injustices that you’ve experienced in your primary relationships. The more people feel that they’ve been personally injured and experienced injustice, the less generative they become and the more selfcentered they become. They feel like life owes them something and they have a different attitude towards future generations. The injustices in our families are the most powerful. (on exam) Can prevent this by parenting children so that they should experience many things and communicate to them that the world is a good place. HDFS 1070 4/11, Page 5 Children who come from families like these feel like its natural to give back. Sabatelli, Ronald. “Middle Adulthood.” HDFS 1070. University of Connecticut, Storrs. 11 April 2016. Lecture. HDFS 1070 4/13, Page 1 Middle Adulthood Family Tasks 4/13/16 Lecture Notes There are a distinct number of family system transformations and issues that occur that uniquely stress people in their middle adulthood years. From a family systems point of view: the greatest number of transitions occur during this time. Family Stage with the Greatest Numbers of Exits and Entrances What’s the significance of this? o Stress and “Developmental Stacking” Exits and entrances that occur and are significant because if you think of these as horizontal stressors, involving the multiple generations that you are in the middle of, then it is conceivable that there will be a significant pile of multigenerational events that are stacked up on top of one another. This is the sandwiched generation sandwiched between generations. This is responsible period in a family systems point of view—they are responsible for managing a lot. Exits: for example, children leaving to live independently, children getting married, death of elderly family members. Entrances: for example, grandchildren being born, marriages occurring with children. Ex. In the middle adulthood system, one of the middle aged adult’s parents just died, the other has their mother move in to be taken care of, one of their children is getting married, and another child just had a baby. This is an example of developmental stacking. Parent/Child Issues 1. The Parenting of Adolescents – managing the individuation process Parents have to deal with their own children going through their own adolescents and then deal with the launching of those children. Obvious progressions. The parenting and managing of the individuation process requires parents to renegotiate boundaries and authority relationships. From the parents point of view, they have to manage a lot of anxiety because they are required to give up authority and provide the child with autonomy. This is the most stressful period of time to be a parent because your children are at possible risk in a way that you can’t control generates anxiety in parents. Parents prior to adolescence can protect their children in a better sense and have this allusion that they are able to HDFS 1070 4/13, Page 2 protect their kids to ensure their social and psychological wellbeing. They give up control as children enter late teens and 20s, which makes them anxious. When you leave, they are anxious about if they can protect you, ensure your success going forward, and if they have provided you with enough resources. 2. Launching of Children point in time where your children live independently. This doesn’t happen as a discrete event, it’s a process. Children are fixing to launch for certain periods of time. They live independently but they come back and live with you or still depend on you financially. A child is not launched until they are functionally autonomous—take care of their own life, financially autonomous and emotionally/psychologically autonomous—not so dependent on you for approval/disapproval. The degree to which your parents have power over you has to do with being financially dependent on them. When you are no longer financially dependent on them, they have less control over you. o Timing is less predictable today than ever before: goes on over an unspecified period of time, so say it is ambiguous. Process is filled with ambiguities: timing of it is less predictable— a lot has to fall into place for it to occur, therefore, it creates a greater period of time where both parents and children are in between the child being an adolescent and the child not yet being an adult. Throughout the entire life course of families, parents will always contribute some financial resources to the life and wellbeing of their children. As children are launching, money will still flow from parents to them. Even as children are older and they are older, money will also flow children to them and vice versa. There will be some reciprocity. Money might flow to you from your parents in your 30s, but it will be for discrete things that aren’t so involved with your ability to live functionally and financially independent. Ex. Parent gives child 10k to contribute to a piece of land they want to buy. o Is there an “Empty Nest Syndrome?” There is no empty nest syndrome. By the time children are launched, the parents are so grateful that they are finally out. They are able to move their attention to themselves and their future, and their own financial wellbeing. It is a minority for parents to have trouble with their children moving out. Those who have a problem are those who are over reliant on their children for their own wellbeing. It is when their children are parentified: HDFS 1070 4/13, Page 3 Parentification the child is the parent of the parent. The child is more of a parent than the parent. The parents rely on the children to be taken care of. There is a role reversal. Ex. Parent is an alcoholic. Also happens with parents who are psychosocially fragile and are anxious about their competence and whether they matter and rely on their children to make them feel like they matter. This makes the transition of children launching more complicated. 3. Managing the Parent/Child Relationship in the PostParenting Years o The Personal Authority Transformation Need to reorganize the parent child relationship in order for parents to have a relationship with their child when they are no longer parenting them. Parents who treat their children like a child in the post parenting years have trouble with their relationship. This needs to take place in order for children and parents to have a relationship postparenting years. Parents need to transform their relationship with their children into a more peerlike relationship: treat their children like an adult instead of a child. This is called the personal authority transformation! (on exam) Requires parents to give up the “need” to be the parent This is a dyadic relationship with the children giving up the need to be a child. Parents need to become mindful of using the word should. Requires Children to give up the “need” to be the child Can’t depend on parents as much as used to. This needs to be accomplished in around the 30s. Timing by Gender Sons are always given more autonomy and authority at younger ages than daughters. This is part of the US’s culture. We see this in early dynamics when growing up... parents tend to monitor daughters more than sons. Parents hang on to the view of their daughters being more dependent and less autonomy worthy than sons. Even when daughters get married, it doesn’t necessarily trigger the transformation. Its really when she has a child. It is hard for parents to see their daughter as a child still when she has children of her own. When you go into the work world, you have friends of all ages, even people who are the age of your parents. This is because they treat you like an adult. HDFS 1070 4/13, Page 4 Special Issue – The Renested Child o Reasons for renesting? A child that has been launched, lives independently, then comes back home again. It is special today because it is much more common. o In our generation, it is more common than ever before. Somewhere over 30% of American parents have a renested child living with them. It is more common than ever before because: Financial dependency: opportunity to recharge financial batteries Failed relationship: core of young people who slide into cohabiting partnerships because financially lets them live independently. When this insecure relationship breaks down, takes a while to find another lover to go back home. What percentage of babies were born out of wedlock last year? 40%. One of the reasons for renesting is having a plan to live independently with your child, and not being able to work that out logistically. From a parent’s point of view, all the reasons reflect on the parents’ capacities and abilities to prepare their children to succeed. It is common for parents to see the re nesting as evidence for them failing as parents. They don’t blame their children as much as they blame themselves. It is common for them to see themselves as not having done an adequate job of preparing their kids because they are living at home in their adulthood. These high percentages are most likely going to hold because of the financial dependencies of children. Marital Issues 1. Maintaining a Vital Relationship Over Time Vital relationship: what you are hoping for when you are married: that there is joy in your relationship, that it is fun, and that you have companionship. This has a lot to do with having an active sex life. Couples need to figure out how to keep the sex alive, which keeps their companionship going. How to both manage conflicts, talk about expectations, and people are still thinking about and planning for their future together. You have a life plan that involves your partner. You have to have shared activities. It is wrong of us from a social science and relationship science point of view to look at the stability of a relationship by how long they are married. This is not an indicator of success. It is one indicator of success, but it is not a determinative. Stable and vital relationships aren’t the same thing. > The UShaped Curve! The plotting of marital satisfaction on one axis and years married/family stage along the other axis. The marital satisfaction plot over this stage HDFS 1070 4/13, Page 5 follows a Ushaped curve, meaning that just about everyone is happiest in the earliest years of their marriage. There is a “honey moon” phase in marriages and then satisfaction begins to decline and reaches a low point when you have adolescent children/when they are about to be launched. After the kids are launched, it starts to come up again, and typically doesn’t get as high as it originally was. Post launching: partners start to develop a better relationship again. The dotted line are childless couples: stay relatively stable in the satisfaction of their relationship. Satisfaction is determined by whether your experiences meet your expectations, exceed your expectations, or fail to meet your expectations. Need to understand that high satisfaction means a lot of the time their experiences exceed what they expect. When you have children both men and women change their expectations, and women in particular start to expect and demand more from their partners when there are children present. There is a lag between whether their partners change their behavior in an effort to meet her expectations. They are going through a declining period of satisfaction. The parenting years are the “I need more from my partner years”—these years are accompanied by changing and raising your expectations and lowering your satisfaction. When you get to the point of your children leaving, you change your expectations to being more realistic based on them not being met. When you’ve been unhappy for a long period of time, you naturally lower your expectations, which preserves your happiness. The key to happiness is low expectations. Communication has to be communication about how your experiences don’t or do meet your expectations in order to have a vital relationship. Expectations have to be talked about and negotiated. Talking about expectations are what couples in vital relationships do. 2. Midlife extra marital relationship Extra martial relationships are way more common in stable long term relationships than we acknowledge. The percent of individuals who are married with one is about 30%. What determines the stability of marriage, like relationships, is satisfaction. The other factors that determine the stability of the ongoing relationships are the alternatives that you have and the barriers to leaving. The longer you have been married, the fewer alternatives you have and the higher the barriers (ex. Financial losses, loss of home, disruption of lifestyle, disappointing your significant others, altering your children’s’ environments). Midlife divorce o Factors that impact of stability Rewards/satisfaction balanced against Alternatives and barriers: Barriers the costs associated with leaving o Repartnering Patterns HDFS 1070 4/13, Page 6 When affairs occur, forgiveness is by far the norm than breakup. There is erosion of trust and anger, but they don’t just turn around and get divorced because they have to factor in what their alternatives are and the costs and barriers to leaving. Sabatelli, Ronald. “Middle Adulthood Family Tasks.” HDFS 1070. University of Connecticut, Storrs. 13 April 2016. Lecture. HDFS 1070 4/14, Page 1 Intergenerational Issues in Middle Adulthood 4/14/16 Lecture Notes Grandparenthood o The Structure of Grandparenthood Our view is filtered through our personal experience on our grandparents. In the US, grandparents are important members of the family system and they are not always elderly when they become grandparents. Grandparenthood is a middle adulthood transition and is an important family transition because grandparenthood is symbolic of the shifting role/position/identity of the grandparent in the family system. A middle aged adult up to the point in which they become a grandparent can make a point that they are the center of the family system (have a lot of power and authority), but when grandchildren are born, their grandchildren become the center of the family system in the family sense—they become the middle/hub generation of the family system. Even if you are young as a grandparent, the transition itself is symbolic of your position in the multigenerational system changing. This isn’t good or bad. How it is experienced and structured will vary. For some it may be a good thing and for some it may be a bad thing. How the grandparents structure their relationship with their own adult children and their grandchildren: are they close, involved, distant, indifferent? How it is structured and experienced becomes the context of this new grandchild’s developmental system. The unit of analysis is the individual’s trajectory of development (uniqueness that is a function of your genetics and the broader context/environment that you are influenced by). The environment has many different systems of influence, but it primarily your family that has the most influence on your life. The life of a child is influenced by the family system and the grandparentgrandchild relationship is mediated through the relationship the grandparent has with his or her own adult child. The grandparentgrandchild relationship is being mediated through the relationship that the grandparent has with his or her adult child. If it is a positive relationship, the quality of the grandparent granchild relationship will be different from a negative relationship. Some of these parentchild relationships into adulthood are not going to be the most harmonious and nurturing relationships, which then changes the grandparentgrandchild relationship and the life of the grandchild. Personal authority transformation: the parent and adult child reworking their relationship into one that is more peerlike and less parentchildlike. Parents need to give up the need for authority and HDFS 1070 4/14, Page 2 the child needs to give up the need to be a child. Parents need to accept their children’s authority over their child’s life. Need to give adult children the respect and freedom that they are entitled to to make decisions over their life without criticism or judgment. This personal authority transformation is the key to intimacy. The key to intimacy in the parentchild relationship structures the grandparentgrandchild relationship—it affects how the grandparent interacts with their grandchildren. o The Experience of Grandparenthood I would argue that both of these are mediated through the legacy of the parent/child relationship Positive connections over time create opportunities for intergenerational connections, support, and generativity Positive grandparentgrandchild relationship. Will be nutritive, present, caring and involved. Negative connections over time increase the likelihood of cross generational coalitions, triangling, and splits Triangulation is possible and likely. If the parent and child have a negative relationship, then the adult child’s child will have a negative relationship with the grandparent. Parents talk bad things about the grandparent to the grandchild. This changes the context. Children are not even aware that this is the environment they have been growing up in. this makes it different in terms of support, sources of emotion, and anxiety in their lives. They are being pressured to choose between the parent and the grandparents. This dynamic can be made worse by grandparents who fight back and try to turn the grandchild on his or her parents. The dynamics get even more complicated when the grandparent tries to convince the grandchild that the common enemy is the parent. While this isn’t the norm, its not that unusual. Grandchildren don’t have control over their environment in their formative years. When this relationship is negative, the chances are they have a more volatile relationship with their brothers and sisters and more volatile relationships with their extended family (emotional and negative). When this personal authority transformation has not taken place, the whole family system becomes even more potentially volatile as far as the formative environment of the grandchild(ren). Tension and conflict spills over into all relationships. Parents could overtly or covertly block grandparents’ access to grandchild Grandparents could seek an alliance with the grandchildren – “Your parents are the enemy!” HDFS 1070 4/14, Page 3 If parents are individuation enhancing alone, the personally authority transformation is way more likely to take place which creates a more harmonious family sy,stem. (exam) Special Issue – Grandparents raising Children – there are approximately 6 million children being raised by grandparents! (this is not the common occurrence, but at the same time, right now, there are 6 million children being raised by their grandparents in the US. Their primary parental figure is their grandparent, not their biological mother or father.) They are often parents of: Parents of Teen Moms o This relationship may or may not be permanent because what we observe often times is that the grandparents of teenagers who have babies often take care of the babies when they are most vulnerable, and then because their children are older and the child is becoming more demanding, they transfer authority back to the teen mom. If you look at this from the perspective of the child, there is a certain ambiguity about who their parental figure is, an uncertainty about the sources of support in their lives, and ambiguity about their own physical care and where they live. This is a very common theme: through infancy and toddler years the grandparent takes care of the baby and then the teen parent is now older and the baby is more difficult, so the grandparent transfers authority back to the teen parent. This introduces some possible volatility into the developmental environment of the child. Parents of Children with Mental Health Issues o This may or may not be permanent. When an adult has a mental health or substance abuse problem, often times what happens in order for the grandparent to be parenting the grandchild, the DCF agency has to come in and remove the child in order for temporary custody. There has to be an investigation and the parents have to be found to be temporarily unfit to parent. …. The state takes custody of the child and then the state seeks to place child in foster care. In many cases, the grandparents are designated as the foster parents. Each state has different policies in place in terms of how much emphasis it puts on reunification of families. In CT, children should be placed back with their biological parents after they have been in foster care. This is all contingent of the parents showing evidence of stability in their lives. If the parents restabilize, the child will go from being parented by the grandparent and back to their biological parent. The overwhelming majority of incidences of when the grandparent is the foster parent of the child and the parent is being reunified most times they are single parents. This is a fragile family environment because the parent is just coming out of treatment. The state leaves them on their own. The child has possible disrupted attachment. When reunification HDFS 1070 4/14, Page 4 occurs, we often times mindlessly think that the grandparent is supportive of that reunification. They are not always supportive. The grandparents become attached to the child and the child is in transitory and this produces volatile and anxietyridden environments. This environment supports the exacerbation of anxiety. What is the Common Theme in all of These Situations? The raised anxiety of the child’s environment. Factors that Influence the Transition to a Role: The grandparents experience of being the primary parent to the child is influenced by these factors: (know these for the exam) Wantedness – Intentionality: not all grandparents are intentionally moving into a role that they want. Anticipatory Socialization: refers to the grandparent anticipating in advance being in the parenting role for their grandchild and think about what is required of them. There is virtually no anticipatory socialization for being the primary parent of the child as a grandparent except within those minority populations in the US where teen parenthood and foster parenting are common. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the grandparent wants it or not. Clarity of the Role: the clarity of what is required. Ambiguous is used to describe the family setting that is associated with the grandparent and the grandchild being in a relation where the grandparent is the primary parent of the child. This is temporary and there is uncertainty about the future. Some grandparents are hoping that the child will be reunited with the parent, while some are hoping they won’t be/afraid they will be. This is not a clear role transition. When you have a baby and become a mom or dad there is a certain clarity in that. The grandparent raising the grandchild is not intentional, often not voluntary, maybe not wanted, and is not clear if it is a permeant part of their life. Social Supports Available (what are the barriers to grandparents getting support?): Social support is a moderating factor. Moderation is something that changes the environment in a positive or negative way. Social support moderates the degree of stress, difficulty, or anxiety that a person experiences. Social support is the equivalent of vertical stressors—what comes through the legacy of the family. Social support is embedded in the vertical stressors that are present in family systems. It has to do with the history of relationships, what’s gone on in the environment, and other experiences in life. Some grandparents have a lot of support and some have none. The grandparents and what support they get from peers has a lot to do with whether or not the transition is sanctioned or unsanctioned: the reasons why the grandparent is in this particular situation. Sanctioned: they are in there for reasons that everyone would say would be a tragedy and unforeseen circumstances (ex. Parents of the child die in a car accident). Unsanctioned: things that pass judgment on the family (ex. Parent is a crack addict, gone to prison). Peers pass more judgment on unsanctioned situations. That kind of judgment forces families into a more isolated place. This HDFS 1070 4/14, Page 5 is what makes the environment of each person as they grow and develop over time unique. There are many more children being raised by their parents than their grandparents, but this is still unique. The complication of the grandparents raising the grandchild is reflected in the fact that it may not be a wanted transition, unanticipated, and there is a lot of ambiguity about it. There is often times little support for grandparents in that role. This is symbolic of their child failing in some way since they were unable to care for their own child. Impact on GrandChildren? Operative Word in “grandparenting” is PARENTING wantedness and mattering? o Wantedness of the child is directly related with whether or not a child feels that they matter. An effective parent reduces anxiety about trust, competence, and mattering. It is a very common hypothesis that the more the parent wants to be a parent, the more likely it is that the child feels he or she matters. Empathy, presence of the parent, emotional support, encouraging age appropriate levels of autonomy, and providing support and skills and knowledge need to succeed to become autonomous in an age appropriate way is individuation enhancing parenting. The commitment to having a child being in an anxiety reducing environment. digression on adoption o This is an example of a transition to parenthood that is not normative. Adoption can have an impact on the adoptee if the adoptee feels that they don’t matter to the biological parent or that they don’t matter to the adoptive parents. An adoptive parent can have control over if the child feels like they matter, are cared for, and buffer against any doubts that they have about why they were given up for adoption in the first place. o Parents who are anticipating adopting a child should think about how the child’s metacognitive abilities will influence their development over time —that they can interpret their life in different ways. When older, the child understands adoption more. The child processes it in a different way and this is when it is important for parents to step in and provide an environment that is about the parent and not the child. They can control that they let the child know that they love them and value them. Children raised by grandparents could have the same processes happen because there comes a point in time they start to reflect on what was going on with their parents that they couldn’t take care of them. o The clearest and most sanctioned transition always involves the unexpected offtime death of a parent. The child processes that their parent died and it was sad and that is why they are in the situation of being cared for by their grandparents. This is different than the cognitive process of coming to terms with the parent not getting their act together to take care of that child. o Complexity of environments are factored by these family events. HDFS 1070 4/14, Page 6 Generational Squeeze (he didn’t lecture on this, we ran out of time) o Who gets squeezed and why? Mothers 35 to 54 years of age feel more stress than any other group of parents (Nearly 40% report experiencing EXTREME levels of stress – compares to 29% for mothers with babies) o Why Mothers and not Fathers? o What is the “WRONG” thing to do? WHY? o Cohort Issues Into the Future Sabatelli, Ronald. “Intergenerational Issues in Middle Adulthood.” HDFS 1070. University of Connecticut, Storrs. 14 April 2016. Lecture.
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