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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1020
Tuuli Kukkonen

COUPLE & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: CHAPTER 3 1 Setting the Family Cycle Turning  Courtship, mate selection is still the most common way of starting the family life cycle  Some couples live together before marriage, others marry first  Erik Erikson – the most important developmental task in young adulthood is the establishment of intimacy  Intimacy can be expressed through friendship or in a sexual-romantic relationship  In North American society – intimacy is considered a prerequisite for marriage  A second developmental task is building the foundation for a couple’s relationship  The pattern of relationships following symbolic-interactionist thought, is established from the earliest interchanges between partners  The couple’s interaction while “going together” often continues into longer term cohabitation and marriage  In societies where couples do not have free choice of a partner, the shared experiences of the couple include the expectations of their families and society at large Mate Selection and Society  Courtships are divided into two basic streams – those decided by the couple and those decided by the families of the couple  Both forms are closely tied to the values and traditions of the cultures that support them  Each family lives in an ecological niche, or in a specific social, cultural, and physical environment in which it functions  In many societies, families provide the principal social security system  Asian Indian families o Men are expected to provide financial support for their families of procreation and needy relatives o The wellbeing of the family takes precedence over individual happiness  Marriages are arranged to maintain appropriate status and to increase family economic wellbeing  North America o People are responsible for their own success and for the wellbeing of their families of procreation o Males and females are values as individuals o Little expectation that extended family members will help when the individual social security system fails  In both societies, there are close links between the macrosystem, the exosystem, mesosystem, and microsystem  Cultural values, norms, and roles are maintained through socialization The Courtship Continuum  Marriages lie along a continuum with completely arranged marriages at one end and completely self-chosen marriages at the other  Most fall in between although they tend to one side or the other  Most individuals take into account their parent’s feelings about their prospective partners  There is a continuum for the idea of marriage as exchange and marriage as shared emotion  Related more closely to symbolic interaction, as the individuals create a unique relationship  People tend to fall somewhere between the two extremes often using both exchange values and emotional appeals to attract a mate  Men more than women show off their material assets  Women tend to emphasize physical appearance  Both display sympathy, kindness, helpfulness, and use good manners and humour as means of attraction Matchmaker, Matchmaker – Arranging Marriages  Some societies consider the choice of a husband or wife too important to be left to mere children  Instead they are arranged by parents and matchmakers  May consider eligibility, similarity of background, financial and social position, and if they’re fortunate, the personalities  Endogamy – marriage only to one of the same social level or marriage within the group  Systems of this kind may allow some choice of the marriage partner  Considered unions of whole groups – the extended family is involved in the couple’s relationship  In New France and Upper Canada – young people are encouraged to marry for family and property  Few marriageable French women were available in New France so about 1000 French women, known as “Daughters of the King”, sailed to North America in the later 1600s, for which they received a dowry and essentials for starting farm life  Marriage became compulsory in New France and the unmarried lost privileges  Sikh men in B.C. depended on relatives in the Punjab to arrange marriages for them; others advertised in Indian newspapers  Pressure on children of new Canadians to marry within their ethnic group The Shift Toward Free Choice Early Years of Settlement  The conditions of the North American frontier encouraged choosing one’s mate COUPLE & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: CHAPTER 3 3  Actual practices were related to three phases: 1) the exploration of the wilderness, 2) the establishment of new settlements, and 3) the growth of larger towns and cities  In the exploration phase, many men formed unions with Aboriginal women  These were often established on the basis of an exchange of goods for expertise in wilderness travel and survival or to cement trading or military alliances  This phase was followed by a transitional phase where settlers moved into areas already mapped by the traders and explorers  In mate selection, practical matters were important  Were they healthy? A good worker?  Both partners would have to put in hard labour to make their new farm productive  It was in the New World that romantic love came into its own  Courting occurred in the parlour, often young couples would be left alone there to become acquainted A New Custom – Dating (And Beyond) Dating  By 1918 – Canada was an industrial nation  For the first time, men and women went out alone together without any particular intention of marrying each other  Dating serves four functions: o 1) It can add to the person’s status if the date is the “right” person o 2) It can be a form of socialization because it provides opportunity for members of both sexes to learn how to get along with each other o 3) Dating is a form of recreation o 4) Can be part of courtship, with the purpose of marriage  The person who has the least to lose usually controls the relationship  Steady dating was attractive to females because it combined love and permissible sex  Going “steady” came through a desire for security in social life  During the 1960s, sexual freedom increased  Couples ranged from committed, with or without sex, through group-oriented to short-term physically based relationships  Most adolescents expect to marry but do not expect to go from pairing straight to marriage  They consider cohabitation a step along the way  16% of Canadians find love online  Match users based on personality profiles  Same-sex dating may be difficult for teens and young adults  Homosexual youth are often harassed and sometimes physically abused at school  Because of social stigma, it is rarely acceptable outside the lesbian and gay community to bring a date of the same sex  Most same-sex couple choose to cohabit  Mid-life singles (40-69) o 1/3 (31%) in exclusive dating relationships o 1/3 (32%) dating non-exclusively o 1 in 10 not interested in dating o Men, the never married, and sexually permissive were more likely to date partners of a different race, religion, or with less money o 7% of men, 3% of women reported same-sex partners o Men were more interested in sex and were more permissive Living Together  Over half of cohabitors had moved in with their partners by the time their romance was 6 months old  The main reasons were: finances, convenience, and housing needs  There are two forms of cohabiting – in one, the couples do not see it as a way of forming a family with children, seen as a trial run for marriage, others do see children as being a part of their relationship, even if they are not married Living Apart Together  LAT partners regard themselves as a couple, and so do others  8% of couples are in this relationship  Most are under 30 but 45% are older  Often leads to cohabitation or marriage Freedom of Choice?  There are legal barriers such as marrying one person at a time  In many parts of the world you can only marry someone of the opposite sex  Incest taboo – appears in some form in every society and prohibits marrying certain relatives  Brothers and sisters by adoption cannot marry each other  Stepsiblings can but it is frowned upon  Families have both direct and indirect influence on mate selection  We select our mates from a field of eligible people, who usually live in the same geographical area  Immigrants often live in enclaves, or groups within larger society
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