Family is loosely defined as a group of people who live together. These people love each other, share responsibilities around the home, and do things together. Family does not have to be biologically related. Family can be chosen. Some families include children, but some families do not.
Families no longer have a one-sized fits all definition. In fact, families today look very different than families of the 1950s. Usually when people mention families, the 1950s family image is what comes to mind: a mom, a dad, two kids, a dog, and a house with a white picket fence. According to one of the videos we watched, everything was in alignment in the 1950s to have a nuclear family. Wages were high, union membership was high, church attendance was high, and socially this family unit was supported. The man worked and the family could live comfortably with one income. The mom kept the home. In 1965, this changed. With all the outside forces changing, the structure of the family also changed. Divorce became more common which led to single parent households. Inflation caused prices to go up, but wages did not follow. This caused the need to have both parents working outside the house. When I was growing up, it was not common to see same-sex couples/parents, but today they are. (I think we are slowly becoming accepting of those different than us). So, families look vastly different from the nuclear family of the 1950s.
Families today face many stressors. They are worried about earning enough money to make the bills. Childcare. Taking care of the house. Educational needs. Having enough resources (basics-food, clothing, phones, a car to get to work). Some people work more than one job to make ends meet. They are trying to be everywhere at once.
The stressors are not equal across socioeconomic status and race. There are more wealth disparities for people of color. There is a big gap between the bottom 10% and the middle class. That gap continues to grow. From the videos, I also noticed a gap across generations. The Baby Boomers made a lot of money between 1983 to now. GenX and Millennials have suffered from all the economic problems the United States has faced since 1965 (the beginning of GenX).
According to the Power Point presentation for Module 3, family violence is "any act of omission by persons who are cohabitating or living together as a family that results in serious injury to other members of the family," (Wallace et al., 2019). This includes physical, emotional, and/or neglect. Everyone in the family is affected even if they are not the direct victim of the violence. It is important to understand family violence so we can create educational materials to help prevent, get care for victims of family violence, and offer rehabilitation to those who are violent.
There are three distinct levels of explanations for family violence. They are individual, familial, and societal. Each of these levels has different theories associated with them. The theories that fall until individual deficits are medical models. They are psychopathology (mental illness) or substance abuse theory. These theories have limitations in understanding the overall problem of domestic violence.
Familial theories focus on family violence being learned. The theories mentioned here are Social Learning Theory, Exchange Theory, Culture of Violence Theory, and Intergenerational Transmission Theory (formerly known as the cycle of violence). These theories basically say the same thing; violence is a learned behavior. It is observed, repeated, reinforced, repeated again.
Finally, social structures or sociological theories as to why family violence occurs. These include Patriarchy Theory and the Sociocultural Model. Both focus on a power structure and the difference in men and women. Both theories favor men and since they have the power, they are more likely to commit violence to hold on to the power or to assert their power.