I come from a closely knit family of four that includes both of my parents, my sister, and I. My parents are both working and have had careers that have lasted for almost three decades. Last weekend after one of our family dinners, a culture my parents have fought very hard to maintain, I interviewed them about our family history. They were all cooperative and willing to share some intimate details about the family, most of which I did not know. This paper shall focus on my findings on the key family dynamics, relationship triangle, as well as relationship processes of my family, and relate them to the Bowen family structure.
My mother revealed that they got married 25 years ago after she conceived with my sister, who is three years older. This was not a tough decision n to make since they already had stable jobs and most importantly they loved each other (and still do). Being people with very engaging jobs, the family has been very important to them. It is where they both get comfort after a long day’s work.
From the interview, I found out that the family has had two bread winners all along. They share the family expenses equally that included our up keep expenses. The extra amount is left for the earner to decide on where to invest it. They revealed that they have been in joint investments in the past for example in real estate.
My parents shared the role of nurturing my sister and I as well as developing our life skills. To them, bringing up children who are both physically and emotionally healthy was their primary goal. My mother being a strict disciplinarian has always had an attentive eye on of constantly changing behavior patterns. My dad on the other hand is the ‘peacekeeper’ in the family, especially things got so intense when my mother disciplined us. He also has over the years been mediator when my sister and I get into conflicts.
My parents disclosed that they worked very hard to be there for both my sister and I whenever we needed them. There are times that either of us needed some extra attention. This was in our academic as well as in our interaction with our peers. My dad remembered that one of the most challenging times was when I was 5 years old and suffering from Gastroenteritis. They realized that they had to be there for me at all times to the extent that they had to take time off work in turns.
According to Titelman (2014), Bowen’s family theory system, can be used to describe the interaction between the members of a family and acts as a emotional units. The members rely a lot on the support, attention, as well as approval of other members. The interdependence among the members is as a consequence of the reactivity and connectedness within the family.
Relating my findings on the relationship processes, relationship triangles, and dynamics of my family to the Bowen structure, I now understand what Murray Bowen really meant. The members of the family have over the years depended on one another emotionally as well as other ways. Apart from meeting our financial needs my parents have over the years felt obliged to be there emotionally for each other as well as my sister and I. They too have relied on our approval as well as attention. The same case applies to my sister and I.
- Titelman, P. (2014). Clinical applications of Bowen family systems theory. Routledge.