My Family Story

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Often I have asked myself, how have my parents’ marriage lasted such a long time? My father came to the United States in 1990. My mother, my brother, and sister followed him two years later. I stayed behind in my home country for a year, which felt like forever. When I finally reunited with my family, I was shocked to realize my family had changed. We were no longer part of the upper class. We had become a working-class family. Raising children is a tough job even for relatively advantaged families; the traditional definition of a family has become obsolete. But, the difficulties of racing children remain the same. Traditionally, Latino families have very strong family ties. Our homes are multi-generational, this means that more than two generations live under the same roof. For example, in my family my mother lives with us. Immigrants are more likely to live in multi-generational families. I believe that multi-generational living arrangements can increase family wellbeing and alleviate financial stress, as elder care can be very expensive. However, more importantly, I feel that all the members in my family benefit from this arrangement because the, “whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” To me, it refers to the synergy of parts working together. Family members have properties that cannot be understood in isolation, but in combinations with characteristics of each member.

My family expands as includes my wife, my four children my sister and her family, my brother and his dog, my mother, and my father who moved back to Bolivia to take care of my aging grand grandparents. My family is a nontraditional family because it expands across generations. I now realize that my family is its own natural social system. We have our own rules, roles we each play, and we all have our own communication patterns and power structures. The experiences I have in my family continue to affect my personality both positively and negatively due to the rituals, discipline, and interdependence that has been establishing within my family.

I seldom look at my family introspectively due to the high emotional cost. However, as I examined the intricacies that make my family unique and as I advance in my education, I ask myself one question: What is a family? As a future, Human Development and Family Science professional I have to make sure to that I understand that family function is overall more important than family form and that family function is how a family operates to meet the needs of and care for each other. Therefore, I believe that the definitions of a family are less important than any definition researchers and even the government can invent, as definitions tend to exclude people from their families. However, if I have to choose a definition, I would refer to Dr. Paul R. Amato’s definition that accepts people’s subjective definitions of family as it “moves us closer to the lived reality of people’s lives… [as it views] families as overlapping networks that extend across multiple households, with each network having its nucleus a reference person.”

My family like many others has its own idiosyncrasies and the family system theory helps me understand mine and other families. Furthermore, it has helped professionals understand the family’s complex interactions that orbit around boundaries and members interactions. This theory describes the family as a unity of interacting personalities where everyone has their roles to play and how these roles could conflict. Even though it is difficult for me to think about my family this theory has helped me understand the roles people play in a multi-generational family like my own. Furthermore, I have realized that I yearn for equilibrium in my family. I agree with the idea that families, “seek a balance in the variety of its behaviors and its rules.” In an ideal world, individuals would be left alone to say who is in and who is out when they describe their definition of family. I hope that future generations are able to decide who is part of their family without interference of governments or policies.

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My Family Story. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved July 12, 2024 , from

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