Chapter 8 – Grey Power and the Sunset Years
“social time clock” - certain events are expected to happen at certain times
e.g. Widowhood @ 30 more traumatic than @ 75
when events happen at expected times they are more prepared for
chronological age : the number of calender years that a person has lived
Certain responsibilities that come with age
e.g. Drivers license
Median retirement age is declining
b/c of RRSPs, private pension plans
With people living longer its hard to define who fills certain age roles
with five generation families, who has the right to old age, the oldest are being 90 yet they
have children in their 70's which is considered old as well
physical age : when a persons physical characteristics change
e.g. White hair, wrinkles
effects how people perceive
e.g. Men in business job with grey hair = smart, wise, experienced vs. Man in manual labour
job with grey hair = weak, failing ability
psychological age : the attitudes and beliefs that one has towards old age
e.g. Granny in rocking chair, knitting
some characteristics are cohort effects
growing up during the war
but old people show differences the same as young people do
social age : based on cultural norms, certain roles that people attach to people
depending on their ages
which are changing
retirement isn't associated with being weak and incapable and grandparents aren't all sitting
at home but out travelling or playing tennis
The Aging Population
Canada’s pop. growing older b/c of the aging baby boomers and low birth rate
seniors that make up 13.7% of the pop. In 2006 will make 23-35% by 2031
certain areas have unusually high proportions of elderly people
next key task for the elderly is allowing the younger generation to take over
look back on their life integrity vs. Despair (Erikson0
have their own personal meaning of a good life, varies with culture
The “Young” Old
65-75 years of age
enjoy better pensions at this age than in the past
b/c of Old Age Security Act & Canada Pension Plan
women have disadvantages with their lower employment rate, low pay and poor benefits
“woopies” wealthy -off older people
interests shift from work to health, activities and family, volunteer work
those still in relationships are happy, early relationship patterns continue to develop
gain mutual trust, support, philosophy of life & commitment
sex is important to men
sibling relationships can be important for support
contact usually continues as it was before
contact drops during young adulthood
become mentors in their grandchildren's lives
close contact with family, most with mother-daughter relationships
see that part of them will survive through grandchild
report better quality relationships
The “Old” Old
health and self care become important issues
chronic illnesses, feared more than death
terminal illness like alzheimer's
vision, mobility, memory problems
worsen with fears of losing control, get depressed, feel helpless
dying person & family members have to prepare for their goodbye
caring for someone with difficulties is both stressful and emotional satisfying for adult
life satisfaction is connected with how much they control their own lives
affected by mental, financial, physical factors
widowhood – loss of identity, grief of losing partner, decision to go on with life
they are so used to having shared habits and rituals
3 stages : loosen bonds and accept that they're dead, attend to day-to-day management,
take 2 to 4 years
death means drop in income, and death is costly as well
funerals act as family ties, find new interests and activities
men more likely to get re-married
lots of ways for elderly to date
Three Key Issues Independence vs. Dependance
life satisfaction, ability to remain independent is related to physical, mental
pay someone to help, adapt their environment, nursing home
nursing home makes someone feel depressed, angry, resentful)
Connectedness vs. Separateness
value relationships with family and friends, yet need own space
children may feel like they need more help than they really do
Open vs. Privateness
health and institutionalization make privacy hard to keep
rather have a stranger take care of them, hard to have a sexual life without the fear of
getting disrupted in a nursing home
culture affects the attitudes towards the elderly
immigrants more likely to have 3 generation families
elders come and don't have the financial resources, don't know the language
aboriginals elderly pass on knowledge and wisdom to youth
grandchildren help them to remain independent
a temporary increase in the old age population
how will we meet the cost of this?
A large, independent elder community
changing financial securities with income and taxes
Chapter 10 - Coming Apart: The Divorce Experience
Divorce - dissolution of a marriage
-Divorce was seen as an exception to be undertaken for only GRAVE reasons- adultery
-However, cruelty was not seen as a reason to break up the marriage
-Before Confederation, colonies varied in their recognition of divorce. Laws were strongly
influenced by the Church of England in Upper Canada (Ontario) and the Roman Catholic
Church in Lower Canada (Quebec). - Since neither church recognized divorce, no divorce law
-1758, New Brunswick allowed divorce on the grounds of adultery and desertion
-1787, Nova Scotia allowed divorce on the grounds of adultery
-1867 Confederation, gained exclusive authority in matters of divorce- anyone living in a
province without a divorce court could submit a private member's bill to Parliament; when it
passed, the person was granted a divorce
-Men had to prove adultery to their wives, and women had to prove desertion for 2 years or
longer, or extreme physical or mental cruelty -From 1925 on, women could sue for divorce on the same grounds as men
-By 1968, all provinces except Quebec and Newfoundland had divorce laws, with adultery
basically the sole grounds of divorce
-After WW2 , divorce rate jumped (freedom and independence of women when replaced
men in workforce has encouraged divorce)
-1966, Special Joint Committee of the senate and House of Commons on Divorce held man
hearings on the subject and both Anglican Church and United Church's briefs include
marriage breakdown as an acceptable cause for divorce
-Bill C -187 - introduced the non-fault principle of marriage breakdown as legitimate grounds
for divorce while retaining the traditional fault-based grounds, such as adultery and cruelty.
-July 2, 1968- new divorce law received loyal consent and divorce rate increased dramatically
-Since 1987, divorce has been decreasing partly due to older age at marriage and greater
number of people who choose to cohabit
WHY PEOPLE DIVORCE?
-Most people call divorce when giving separation for at least one year as the reason for
1. Fundamental issues- infidelity, abuse **More justified as a divorce
2. Experimental issues- disagreements, unsatisfactory sex life
3. Fertility issues- infertility, having children
-Those who marry before 20 are more likely to separate than those in their later 20s and 30s
-Having less than ah high school education (lower income, thus lower socio-economic status
thus higher divorce rates)
-Cohabitation before marriage increases likelihood of divorce, because f a lower level of
commitment or lesser value placed on marriage
-Remarriage at a young age is more likely to be dissolved than those of partners in their 30s
-Those entering their 3rd marriage are less likely to claim that being married is important to
-When women bring children into a remarriage ,there is an increased likelihood of disruption
Structural functional view
-In traditional family, men provided economic support and women provided personal care.
-culturally, the concept of marriage has changed
-Now based on individual choice and satisfaction rather than social responsibly and a
covenant before God
-When readers do not meet expectations for personal fulfillment, individuals become readier
to separate The Exchange Perspective
-Considers the cost and benefits of divorce (more costs than benefits will lead to divorce)
-Costs can include: economic (income issues) and social (stigma)
-More women have greater economic independence, thus they are better able to support
themselves. When they earn about half the family income, the dependence of one partner on
the other for support is less and divorce is more likely
-The presence of children reduces the likelihood of divorce because it increases the cost to
-Traditional marriage supports the unequal division of power between husbands and wives
-Now that women have more opportunities, they are no longer in need to depend on men to
support them and can leave oppressive relationships
Symbolic Interaction Theorists
-Focuses on the patterns of interchange between husband and wife
-Individuals' expectation affect their behaviour
-An unhappy spouse feels justified to leave an unsatisfying marriage and search for fulfillment
elsewhere when there is shift in emphasis from finding security in marriage to reach one's
THE ROAD TO DIVORCE
1. The decision to divorce
- One of both individuals come to realize that something is wrong with their marriage
-A period of denial
-"Divorce cascade"- increasing conflict, then serious consideration of divorce, then
separation, then finally divorce
-People may delay separation until time is considered suitable - women may find a job or go
back to school
-Usually delay the divorce until children leave home
-The old husband-and-wife roles are disappearing and new ones have not yet developed
(those of divorced co-parents)
-The couple needs to move past the tendency to blame each other and accept the fact that
the marriage cannot be saved and that both individuals have played a part in its failure
2. Planning the breaks up
-Settle issues such as custody of children, visitation and finances
-Also need to tell extended family members and deal with their reactions
-Family can be under much stress since its members do not know whether the separation will
be permanent, and there is uncertainty about who belongs in the family and whether roles
should be recognized : "boundary ambiguity" 3. Separation and Family Reorganization
-Couple needs to restructure the family by separating marital and parental relationships
-New rules for continuing relationship between child and each of them and decide how they
will coordinate their responsibilities as co-parents
-Joint custody-: both parents sharing responsibility and decision making (best for children)
-Binuclear family: when both parents are involved, and children acts as links between two
connected households; both parents continue to be part of the child's family
THE CRISIS OF DIVORCE
Transitional state: temporary imbalance as a result of the changes in relationships, routines,
assumptions and roles. (New patterns of behaviour are needed)
-This disequilibrium usually lasts for 1-3 years
1. Emotional c risis
-The emotional loss felt in divorce is akin to that felt on the death of a loved one, except that
the ex-partner is still around
-Can lead to recurring sense of loss, renewed bitterness or anger
-Likely to experience depression
-When children are involved, total emotional separation is usually impossible because the
former partners must deal with each other as parents and grandparents of their children and
-A time of redefining themselves
-Women with young children suffer more at divorce than those without children
-Men more than women are often social isolated at first and may have little support from their
-May also experience spiritual struggles as divorce may be considered a sacred loss or
-Divorced women may find social life limited by their lack of a "single" identity
-2 years after divorce, many people are adapting and by 6 years, most have built a
reasonably satisfying life
6 patterns of adjustment
a) Enhancers - more competent and fulfilled -through work or continuing education to find
higher quality of life
b) Goodenoughs- largest group- lives are similar to pre-divorce
c) Seekers - anxious for a new mate and may not be careful in their choices
d) Swingers- dress youthfully, go to single bars, use more alcohol and drugs, casual sex etc.
e) Competent loners - similar to enhancers; not wanting a long-term partner
f) Defeated- mired in despair long after divorce
2. Economic crisis
-Divorce is called the "most expensive life event": drop in standard of living -custodial parent: Parent who has custody of any children (women are usually granted
custody even though they do not have the ability to earn as much as men)
-In 1997, federal government passed the Federal Child Support Guidelines , which take
into account the costs of raising a child, the parents' income, and the number of children. The
custodial parent is assumed to pay a similar percentage of his or her income
-If the noncustodial parent does not have a steady job or has disappeared and the support
order cannot be enforced, the family may be reduced to living on welfare
3. Parenting crisis
-Both authority and responsibilities concerning the children need to re renegotiated - Each
parent needs to establish a relationship with the children separate from the other parent
-*Communication is key- Divorcing parents may be unable to respond to their children's
• The initial sense of shock may paralyze them
• Parents may be too absorbed in their own crisis to be aware of how divorce is affecting
• Belief that young children cannot understand what is going on and ignore their distress
• Parents become depressed ; thus less sensitive to the feelings of others
• Children emotionally neglected when they need special care
CHILDREN AND DIVORCE
-April 1st, 2009, federal government launched a five-year, family law strategy called the
SUPPO RTING FAMILIES EXPERIENCING SEPARATION AND DIVORICE
-Driven by 2 principles:
• To consider the needs of children first
• To provide services and legal information to help parents reach agreements that work
for their unique family situation and fulfill their parental responsibilities
-Children tend to believe that their parents will be reunited and the family will be a whole
again. They also believe that they have the power to bring parents back together and feel
responsible for the family break up
-Children from divorced families are at a greater risk of developing problems than children
with stable 2-parent families. (Educational and occupational opportunities reduced due to their
drop in marks in school)
-They also tend to move out from their parents' home earlier
-Emotional adjustment is poor; tends to take longer and handle situations poorly (change of
custody, remarriage of parent, move away from relatives and friends etc)
-Higher levels of anxiety, depression and antisocial behaviour -Likely to be hyperactive and aggressive, to engage in fighting, to become young offenders.
When they become older, children of divorced parents are more prone to become unmarried
teen parents and have trusting issues.
-Divorce affects adolescents differently- some may feel RELIEVED to end continuing conflict,
others experience with sex or drugs and may separate prematurely from their family
-They are less attached with their parents
-Sleep er effect: A problem emerges only long after the event (experience anger and
aggression when living for years in an angry family)
Display a fear of intimacy or betrayal that will interfere with any attempts to form intimate
-Girls tend to adapt better than boys but not necessarily to their mother's remarriage. Girls are
more likely than boys to become depressed
-Level of parental conflict both before and after separation has more impact on children's
post-divorce adjustment than the absence of the parent
-Children openly exposed to conflict do less well, especially if violence is involved or if
children feel caught in the middle, or feel alienated
CUSTODY AND PARENTING
Who gets custody?
-In English common law, fathers had automatic right to custody of their children and mothers
had few legal rights.
-During 19th century, changes began and mothers were gradually given custody, first of
young children then of older.
-Current standard used is that of the best interests of the child; mothers are still usually
-When agree on custody and visiting arrangements, non-residential parents see their children
more often and also provide support more regularly
-Fathers gain custody when the mother consents; some women cannot afford to hire a
lawyer, some mothers believe that the father can offer the child more stability immediately
after divorce, others want to avoid emotional stress for themselves and child etc.
-Men obtain custody to seek it out of a strong sense of family or a belief that they parent
better than the mother, or out of revenge, or they may obtain it against their will because they
have been deserted by their wives
-Joint custody and shared parenting is the best if the parents can lay aside their personal
disagreements to act together in the best interests for child
-Some parents fail to pay child support as they think the settlement was unjust or custody
-Not paying is a method of harassing an ex-partner or tying to exert control over decisions
affecting children -Occasionally, a noncustodial parent kidnaps the child and maybe bringing them out of the
country. Abduction are usually discovered when the parent does not return home after
-Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction- tries to ensure that
abducted child is returned promptly to the custodial parent and attempts to ensure that rights
of custody and access of one country are respected by other countries.
Parents without custody
-Most are men.
-Visits are seen as playtime, with little discipline involved. Visits are fewer and further apart if
the ex-spouses are hostile toward each other or if the father does not make support payments
-Many women have no choice in the custody matter; they simply cannot afford to raise the
children- their earning power is so much less than that of the former husbands
DIVORCE AND THE FAMILY LIFE CYCLE
-The least disruption occurs with the newly married couple with no children because fewer
people are involved and fewer family traditions need to be dropped. Can easily slip back into
single roles and lifestyles more easily than those married for a long time with children
-As more people are added to the family, divorce becomes more difficult- plans and hopes
(vacations, new house, children) are cancelled
-Divorce is more common in midlife when children leave home, and couples have the chance
to reassess their marriages.
-Can be difficult for homemaker wife as they are faced to find a job to where she has been out
of the workforce for many years
-Children tend to do best when they have continuity in their relationships and in contact with
both extended families
-Children also need t be assured of adequate financial support
CHAPTER 12 The Family and the World of Work
• Between 1998 and 2005, the average workweek increased from 44.6 to 46.3 hours
• Health Canada has identifies four aspects of the work family connection
o Role Overload
o Work-to-family interference
o Family to work interference
o Caregiver Strain
• There has been an increase in the number of women employed outside of the home
o 1941: <4% of married women had paid jobs
o 1984: married women have been more likely to be employed then unmarried
• Quebec has shown the greatest increase in working mothers of young children
• The greatest increase in women working outside the home has been among those aged
25 to 44. • When one or both partners work long hours, the family experiences more stress
• Individuals are members of various micro systems
o Family, Work, Community groups
• Individuals must balance between their responsibilities between their home and
Care for Family Members (Childcare centers)
• The care of children, the disabled, ad the elderly makes demands on family members.
• Daycare centers were established only when it was seen to benefit society
o The desire for better supervision of children
o From the need for the mothers to join the workforce.
• The first daycare centers were established under various auspices in response to
problems experienced by lone mothers
o Most developed by religious organizations or volunteer women organizations.
o Seen as an emergency service to meet the needs of society.
• 1942 During WWII: The federal government agreed to enter cost-sharing agreements
with the provinces to provide daycare for the children of mothers working in essential
o Ontario and Quebec were the only ones to take advantage of this.
Enormous expansion of daycare centers
o Once the war was over, federal funding was discontinued and led to the closing
of many daycare centers
• Childcare can be formal or informal
o Informal: not subject to government regulations
o Formal: Covered by regulations and include family daycare and daycare
• Canada does not have enough regulated services to meet the childcare needs of
o 2006: only 811 262 regulated childcare spaces for all of Canadian children
under 13, yet more than three million had mothers in the workforce.
• Daycare is a provincial responsibility
• Following 2006 conservatives elections:
o Allowances were given directly to families with children under six, and an
increased tax credit was given to families with a child under 18.
• Children under one year are the most likely to be in a daycare center, and five year olds,
to be in preschool or before-and after- school care.
• Urban children are more likely to be in a daycare center
• Children from families below the low income cut off, often children of single mothers, are
also primarily in daycare centers. Eldercare
• In recent decades. There has been a 100% increase in days taken off work for personal
and family reasons, 1/3 of this increase is spent on caring for elderly relative.
• Women are more likely to care for the elderly.
• 2007: 15% of women caregivers aged 45-54 cut back on work hours. Some even quit.
Financial costs include reduced wages, savings, and pension contributions
Work And Family Stress.
• Major stressors in dual-income families are the expectations of family members.
• Individuals are affected by their own expectations
o Get disappointed because they do not meet their expectations of a “perfect
Work and Marital Happiness.
• Little connection between the fact that mothers had jobs and the marital satisfaction they
and their husbands felt.
• When fathers were more involved with their children, both spouses tended to rate their
• If both partners are happy, women’s work status has no effect on marital disruption
• If either partner is dissatisfied with the marriage the couple is more likely to separate if
the wife is employed.
• When individuals worked night or rotating shifts, their marriages were at greater risk for
• Physical and social stresses related to working after midnight.
• Women’s perception that they carried unfair household responsibility in addition to their
jobs was connected with marital dissatisfaction.
Juggling time and energy – The Time Crunch
• There doesn’t seem to be enough time and energy for individuals to accomplish all they
with to in either their work or family roles.
o May result in short-term difficulties in getting day-to-day work completed. Or it
can result in failure to achieve overall goals.
• There can be difficulties over scheduling of time.
o Shift work, frequent travel, and long hours are work may mean that family
members can spend little time with one another.
• Women are under more stress then men in dual0earner couples, especially those with
o Women are still mainly responsible for children and household
• Working parents in Quebec spend more time with their children than do other Canadians
Family and Work Interference
• Conflict between work and family has two aspects
o Practical factors
Time crunch and scheduling conflicts
• AKA: Spillover or role interference o An individuals perceptions of being stressed or overwhelmed by the pressures
of multiple family and work roles
AKA: Role strain and role overload
• Most workers report negative work-to family effects,
• Stresses at work can lead to less time and emotional energy for home.
• 1 in 4 employees of bog companies, governments, or institutions, found that work to
family interference is a serious problem.
• Negative work to family spillover occurs most often when individuals have heavy
workloads and little control at work
• Police work=high stressor
• Family to work spillover is also a potential problem
o More for women
o Income can be lost due to family responsibilities.
Household re sponsibilities
Technology and Housework
• Technology has made life a lot easier through household chores
• However, it creates a new kind of impatience and we feel more stressed by time.
Ironically technology may mean we spend less time together.
Women ’s work, Men ’s Work
• Fathers are more likely to care for children if they work different hours from their wives.
o Husbands tend to take over enjoyable tasks such as playing with the kids, and
the mother may not feel any relief.
o Women have reduced time spent on housework during the last 10 years.
Losing a Job, the Effects of Unemployment.
• Unemployment has a financial impact on the family.
o Most noticeable if family on has one income.
• Reactions to job loss
o Shock and Denial
o Anger, worry, anxiety, fear, frustration
o Anticipation when looking for a new job.
• Unemployment often holds the traditional value that a man provides financially for the
family, losing a job means that he has failed as a person.
Burnout and the family
• Burnout: a state that occurs when a person experiences prolonged stress without
learning how to cope with it.
o Women, especially those in management professional positions, and those with
heavy caregiving responsibilities, are more likely then men to experience
o Physical and emotional exhaustion
o Conflicts at work increase burnout
• Burnout can have an indirect impact on the family
o More susceptible to illness Heart disease, ulcers
o Psychologically suffer
o Alcohol and drugs can be a coping strategy
• Direct Effects of Burnout
o In order to reduce stress, the individual may treat others like objects
o Irritation, and anger with other family members
o May become antisocial with the family because they need alone time.
o May demand extra attention
o May reduce the ability to cope with stress
o May be contagious
Flexible Work Arrangements
• One-way employers and families have tried to address the problem of competing work
and family demands is by setting up alternative working arrangements.
o Alternative work arrangements take 3 forms
Reduced hours of work
o All employees are expected to be at work during a core period of time in the
middle of the day but may decide for themselves when they will arrive or leave,
provided thy work the usual number of hours
• Compressed workweek:
o Working 10-12 hour shifts in three or four days then have 3 or 4 days off.
o Working outside of the office.
Reduced Hours of Work
• Part time work allows individuals to fulfill care responsibilities for children or older
o May only work when one partner has a good income.
o Women choose to work less then men
o Part-time can hurt a career, and the individual is paid less.
• Protected part-time work occurs when salaries and benefits are prorated according to
the hours worked.
• Job Sharing:
o Two employees share one full-time job, with prorated salaries and benefits.
Who uses Family Friendly Work Arrangements?
• Full time workers in two parent families with children under 16 have most access to
family friendly benefits. • Low-income families, including lone parents, do not have as much flexibility in their work.
The Family, Work, And Society
• Garbarinos Ecological Model of Interacting systems
o Mesosystem, exosystem, Macrosystem
• Some of the tensions between family and the workplace can be understood using the
ecological model, in which social values, institutional attitudes, and family needs all
• Social problem: social problem exists when a significant number of people believe that
the condition is in fact a problem
o Raises issues about who decides
Who decides when a problem is a problem
• Simple answer- public decides
o Always changing
o e.g. View on physical discipline with children