The chosen family is an extended family that consists of the parents (opposite sex), their three children, and the mother’s parents. The parents are middle-aged, as their children are 3, 6, and 12 years old; the grandparents have been retired for over three years prior to this interview. While the father’s side of the family is American, the mother’s parents are Chinese, which directly affects the environment in the family. The children are raised in a middle-class atheist environment, prioritizing discipline and compliance. There is a notable contrast between the methods of child upbringing between the two sides of the extended family due to the cultural differences, yet the parents have emphasized the benefits of a bicultural environment.
The parents are both business owners and work from home, allocating more time to their children and daily chores. With all three children attending an educational facility five times a week, the grandparents often help walk them from and back home. The parents have mentioned that the family faced constant struggles ensuring all children were taken care of prior to the grandparents’ retirement and their flexible schedules. However, they are generally satisfied with the current state of their family.
The family described a positive attitude toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The youngest child (three years old) is to start gymnastics classes, while the older children are already attending ballet and basketball sessions outside of school. The grandparents are retired athletes and therefore target overall fitness stability by encouraging daily workouts. On the other hand, the parents admit that it has been challenging to integrate regular exercise into their daily schedules, despite the influence of the wife’s parents. Still, they note that additional daily tasks require an active state, although they work from home. In that way, the parents are still able to stay fit without explicit exercise.
Moreover, the children receive balanced meals throughout the day in school and at home; the family values proper nutrition to maintain healthy patterns. The grandmother usually plans the meals in advance, allocating time for the parents to obtain all the necessary ingredients. Several allergies and a gluten-free diet further limit meal possibilities, especially such that include junk and saturated fats. In this way, healthy exercising and nutritional regimes are the model functional health patterns in the family. Additionally, the family lacks any severe health conditions that could severely impact their health.
Although the nutritional and activity aspects are well-targeted in the family, there are several areas where health barriers could be identified. First of all, the parents accentuated their concerns regarding not getting enough rest on a daily basis. Furthermore, the active lifestyle of their children does not always allow for regular and sufficient sleep. The critical value of regular sleep has been emphasized by many studies, including Faust et al.’s (2020) research on bedtime regularity (Faust et al., 2020). Therefore, this area should be additionally reviewed to improve the family’s overall health.
Second of all, role division sometimes leads to unequal responsibility assignment, which negatively impacts the grandparents’ mental and physical states. While the parents dedicate their time to working and doing other work-related tasks, the mother’s retired parents are responsible for their grandchildren most of the time. As a result, this lifestyle is exhausting for the grandparents and parents, who do not healthily share and divide their responsibilities. Lastly, the general perceptions of healthy ways of living differ in a household with several generations, which results in complications when deciding on medical treatment plans and optimal routines. Hence, a more unified approach to discussing medical or health information is advised for the family members.
The family system theory can be applied to improve the overall family functions over time. In this case, the following can be done by focusing on the relationships between the parents and grandparents as well as the parents and their children separately. For example, the multigenerational transmission process stresses the influence of the parent’s problems on their children, which emphasizes the importance of the parents setting a good example for them (Weeland et al., 2021). In this family, the parents must reorganize their schedule to allow a balanced routine and more time to spend with their children.
Furthermore, doing healthy activities as a unified group will promote better communication skills and set a clearer example for the children to follow. Waters’ (2020) research highlights the role of positive family interventions and interactions in building a solid social system. While the family goes through a very busy schedule five times a week, it is essential that the weekend is fully dedicated to a restful schedule that will involve the whole family. Sharing their responsibilities instead of splitting them may aid the multigenerational family in viewing their issues from each other’s perspectives and consequently being more helpful towards one another. Ultimately, improved relationships in the group will benefit functional health patterns and stimulate better routines.
Faust, L., Feldman, K., Mattingly, S. M., Hachen, D., & Chawla, V.N. (2020). Deviations from normal bedtimes are associated with short-term increases in resting heart rate. NPJ digital medicine, 3(1), 1-9. Web.
Waters, L. (2020). Using positive psychology interventions to strengthen family happiness: A family systems approach. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(5), 645-652. Web.
Weeland, J., Helmerhorst, K. O., & Lucassen, N. (2021). Understanding differential effectiveness of behavioral parent training from a family systems perspective: Families are greater than “some of their parts”. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 13(1), 34-57. Web.