Hello everyone! Last week and forum of the course!
Child and Family Specialists will face a number of issues as families and our world continue to change. I think of of the most pressing issues will be the multiple meanings of family. Powell (2007) presents that different government entities, employers, religions, and culture have different meanings of what family means. Families today are very diverse between family size, forms, ages, and roles (Powell 2007). Many families are beginning childless families and many families are no longer nuclear. Changing family structures (such as cohabitation, single parent families or blended families) could all influence child and family specialist services and support they offer to families. Now that same-sex marriage has been legalized child and family specialist may experience families of same-sex couples. Another factor may be that individuals consider their family those individuals that they choose or family of choice (Powell 2007). Family of choice may include individuals that are not biological or through a commitment. The Pew Research Center (2015) presents that the family is changing in a variety of ways including more mothers in the workforce, older parents, more educated parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, and changes in fertility. The diversity of families will continue to change and family specialists should be prepared for diversity in families and changes that may occur.
Differing meaning of families can have an impact on how child and family professionals handle services and resources for families and children. The different definition of families may impact service eligibility or certain resources that are available to families.The differing family meanings could have impacts on family roles, family management, parenting styles, and communication. Child and family specialists need to be prepared for differing meaning of family so that they can address family needs appropriately. As the world changes so will families and specialists should be able to adjust and be flexible in the differing views and definitions of family. Child and family specialists should be ready to offer diverse support and services to a number of different families.
Pew Research Center. (Dec. 2015). Parenting in America. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/12/17/1-the-american-family-today/
Powell, L.H. & Cassidy, D. (2007). Family Life Education: Working with Families Across the Life Span (2nd Ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
While I am sure there will be many issues arising over the next ten years, probably some we haven’t even thought of yet, one that I think will be pressing is the increasing reliance on technology. Technological advances will certainly be helpful as the field moves forward, but I think there will also be hindrances as a result of the proliferating use of technology, especially the internet. As stated in Powell & Cassidy (2007), “technology has enabled every-one to access information (both good and questionable) with ease” (p. 20). On one hand the ease of access allows people to find out more about child and family development on their own. On the other hand, it also allows people to find a lot of misinformation which can lead to complications in the work of child and family development specialists. I imagine that many professionals in this field spend a lot of time helping people relearn information that they thought they knew because they had the wrong information, and technology allows such misinformation to spread farther and wider, adding to the work that these professionals have to do. In addition, as children and teens use technology more and more, the need for regulating this use is ever-increasing (Berk, 2009). Of course this is something that parents are primarily responsible for, but child and family development specialists will likely have some role in it, especially when it comes to safety concerns. I am certainly not saying that technology is a bad thing. We must move forward and adapt to the changes around us, and technology certainly allows us to do many things that we couldn’t do without it; none of us would be in this class without the technological advances that have occurred over the last few decades. However, I do think that as professionals we will need to be increasingly cautious when working with children and families as technology and access to information continues to advance.
Berk, L. E. (2009). Child Development (9 ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon/Longman Publishers.
Powell, L. H., & Cassidy, D. (2007). Family Life Education (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveband Press, Inc.