Taking social work practice with family I have learned about the family system. I have understood the key elements, being able to know how to engage, empower and coming into a mutual agreement with families through the decision and goal making process. Most important that was talked in class the development of a relationship between parents and service providers, by building mutual trust, respect, and an open communication and focusing on solution by noticing the strength capacity of the family. These key concepts has helped me identify the strength that is within my family even though there are many flaws.
Family of Origin and Roles
I was born on January 8, 1992 in Caguas Puerto Rico, but raised in Bayamon where my mother side of the family lives at. It takes approximately an hour to get to where my dad side of the family which is in Ponce Juana Diaz. I was able to interview my father and ask him how he was raised and what values was taught growing up. Maintain respect towards others, as a child he was able to play outside within the property that he lived in, there would be consequences if he didn’t The structure was very strict. The female were treated different, weren’t able to play outside with the boys, weren’t able to play sports, or do anything that men were able to do. My grandmother was the one in charge in the household the one who made the decisions, but between her and my grandfather contributed within the household. My father role was to authorize the decision making within the household and raised his brother and younger sister into giving them guidance when it came to rules, education, and respect. My father finish school and became a police officer.
When it came to interviewing my mother she was raised with five sisters and one older brother. She lived with her father until the age of 8, afterwards the role was turned over to my uncle which made things hard for my mother and my aunts that lived in the home, he made the decisions and the actions taken upon the consequences that was brought up to him. The punishments weren’t simple. My mother mentioned how he would hit her with anything he had in his hand such as, the gun he carried since he was in the military, cables, or clothes hanger my mom described a time when he hit her with cables until she blead and demand to take of the clothes and get in the shower, as well she mentioned how she suffered from the heat because all she wore was long sleeve, because she did not want the school to know what went on at the house. Child services did get involve at some point, but everything was denied and blamed on the seizures that my mother would constantly get. Regardless of all the suffering that all of my aunts would go through, they directly would go to my uncle when there was a problem that needed to be fix around the house, or anything related to school. My mother role within the family was translate , at one point they lived in New Jersey and regardless if there was Hispanics working in the office it wasn’t allowed to speak Spanish it was only English, so my mother helped her mom a lot when it came to her not knowing the language and speak on her behalf. My mother graduated in getting an associates as secretary and worked with lawyers at Puerto Rico.
As for myself I can say that I was raised with the same rules as my parent, I was growing up watching my mother get beat up by my father, all I remembered was crying and getting in the middle of them, at times I would get pushed and got sent to the room, all those times the car was stopped and my mother was grabbed by her hair and got hit with tree branches or anything in hand really, it got to the point when I had to stay at my aunt house from my dad side of the family for almost two months, I remembered being four years old and I didn’t want to go back home, I didn’t miss it or my parents I was so happy where I was staying. At the age of 5 my mom and dad got a divorce and my mother brought me to the United States to start over, have a better future for myself, and most importantly to learn English. I was introduced to my cousins from my mother side of the family I received a lot of help, I took speech class, and was in bilingual classes. I was introduces to a society that’s full of diverse individual and it was very difficult to communicate especially when it came to Latin people, because it was a different dialogue. My role growing up has been being there for my family when it comes to saying their problems I’m always listening, I never say anything other than say some positive words here and there. I have always been the emotional supporter in the family.
Family Rules, Rituals, and Traditions
Within the family there has always been family rules and it has been to respect one another especially your elders, clean after yourself, have good manners when going to someone house by not touching anything and not asking for anything or there would be consequences once going home. Being responsible with homework, all homework was to be done checked by parent before going outside, being home by a certain time, no using phones while eating or not being able to get up unless the plate was clear. Within my family there are two kind of rituals one of them being catholic and the other Christian doing the first communion was a must, when it came to attending Catholic Church I had the choice of deciding the path I wanted to take, I never had an interest even though I tried to meet the family standards. I end up not doing my first communion and attending Christian church even though my parents are catholic my decision was respected. We have several traditions and one of the big one is the sweet fifteen in my culture the dress was supposed to be white because it symbolized being pure. The color of the dress is important, looking back to it I wished I wore another color other than white, but it turned out to be great and my family was satisfied with the outcome of the party. When it came to the church not a lot of my family attended, because of religions reasons, but my parents and grandmother being catholic they still attended the Christian service and were very supportive. Another tradition that we have is getting together on Christmas Eve and cook our traditional plate which is rice Gandules and a drink named “coquito”. We also celebrate the three kings and we receive more gifts. My family would be different without rituals and traditions in the sense of not having the careless and purpose into looking forward into doing something, getting together, spending time with one another, and being happy in remembering that there is a family that no one is left alone in whatever situation that there is too faced. As well not having the sense to be able to forgive when it comes to a disagreement with a family member for the simple fact that If there wasn’t a rituals within the family we would not have the thought of knowing the important facts of the ten commandments or having the discipline and spiritual belie of knowing that there is a god and when the family is not present you are never a lone, because god is always there when needed is something so important to the family that I can’t picture those values being out of the picture.
Within my family my grandmother from my mother side has been a huge influence in my development, because she raised me and showed me my principles and discipline. One example was always to wear shorts underneath any dresses, skirts, or pajamas until this day I still do. Once I came to Chicago my mother uncle became a strong influence in MyLife, I was able to go to him for anything and he would protect me from any fears that I would have for example my mother has always been very strict with me and when it came to her saying no I would talk to my uncle to convince my mom to say otherwise. Being in a society where I don’t have many family, being cared by someone who is not my parents felt very well, I had guidance followed with plenty of advice, happy memories, and someone to open up to when it came to feeling like I couldn’t talk to my parents. In my eyes my uncle was the foundation of our family, remembering how my family was when he was here with us, every Friday we would get together and my family would play dominoes and I would spend time with my cousins, every holiday we would get together and contributed with the food, now things are different my holidays are spent with just my mom and my dogs at the house, the family after my uncle was deported to Cuba was divided and no longer the same. I have many cousin, but the one that made a huge impact in my life and I was close too was Joshua my mom sister son, I was able to talk to him about anything and he would always listen, he was over protective over me, he would tell me anything about his life or anything he was going through, and when we would make plans he was always up for anything, the only one that would give me those type of hugs that was worth giving, unfortunately when he passed away at the age of 23 due to cancer my world flipped upside down, failed all of my classes and felt lost, but I had to stay strong for the family even though deep inside I was dying. I have a brother from my dad side and most of my life I never had no type of communication, we would hangout as a family, but never spoken as I got older I was able to speak to him and ask for brotherly advice, there has been several occasions that I go to him for advice and to talk to him, because he understands my dad and when it comes for my father listening to someone it would be my brother, my father is overly protected over me and I respect him so much, but there are times when we disagree and he had said some hurtful words that the only person who can put some sense into him would be my brother. My mother side of the family played a huge role in my life once I was living in Puerto Rico it was the other way around, but when it came to moving to the United States things changed, I would go to visit or sometimes I would speak to my dad’s mother and it would be very difficult, because I would speak Spanglish to her there would be some words that I knew in English but didn’t in Spanish, she would mentioned how now that I lived in the U.S I forgot my Spanish and when I would go visit I felt like an outsider in the sense of everyone actions and how they speak it was no longer how I spoke or would act for example everyone greets at all times, something I gotten used to not doing, because no one does it in Chicago. When it came to discipline it was different for girls and boys, it was stricter for girls and was passed within our generation, for example I was not able to play with the boys, because it wasn’t lady like my father would punish me when it came to playing basketball and there were guys involve. The person that I would go for help regardless our differences throughout my development has been my mother she has been the main person that’s been there every step of the way supporting my decisions and advising me with every decision that I have taken. The times I have wanted to give up I have thought about what my family would think, and the person that keeps me going is my grandmother, she shows me a lot of love and affection that all I want to do is make her happy and be proud of the person I have become. When it comes to seeking help within my family I feel that we all have that pride that we don’t want to seek for help, because we don’t want to be spoken off, my family has a habit of always talking when it comes to others business and nothing is kept a secret, I can say my family is very well independent. Throughout my childhood I have seen the struggle that my mother had to go through as a single mother raising me she has thought me how to be independent and not to rely on anyone no matter what the consequences may be. The only type of rewards that would be given was the respect from our parents and grandparents, from the people that matter most and are a huge impact within our lives.
Constructing my family genogram has made me realize the different types of relationships I have with my family members. Before taking this class I remember not understanding certain actions that my family would take, and why they would say what they did, but now I have an understanding of why certain actions are taken. Writing this paper has made me realize that my parents were raised very different from how they raised me, my mother going through all the struggles she went through now I come to an understanding why she is the person she is and why she raised me the way she did being independent. Now that I am learning more about the family systems I can determine the type of relationships I have with my family members. I can even identify family members that have been abusive and the conditions that they are now not being able to handle it and letting it impact their life. Although some of the terms are tough to accept I know that there are concerns in my family that needs to be addressed such as the many type of health conditions that there is to overcome within the family. Many times, we do not want to call an issue and just forget that is there, but now I can talk to certain family member and be able to help them without walking away from it. Now that I know more about the family system it has helped me understand a lot.
Ragg, Mark D. (2005). Exploration and data collection with families. In Ragg, M. (Ed.).
Building family practice skills: Methods, strategies, and tools (Marital, Couple, &
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