Family Power Debate

Affirmative for egalitarian sharing of the family power base. The family has consensus over who has the ultimate say on the day to day decisions. Present day family has very complex type of structure which affects the powerbase determination. A family consisting of a mother (female), father (male), and a child or two will have a very different power base than a family consisting of two same gender parents or a family that has a single parent. Age of the parents and the children also contributes toward power base; when the children are very young, the parents have the power and when the children grow they have their own control.
Different cultures have varied family structure based on what they have learned from their parents and grandparents. Socioeconomic status and educational level also contributes to the powerbase in a family. Even though all these factors contribute toward the powerbase, it makes a difference, especially in regard to health care management and family wellness. An adult family member remains to be the traditional base of power in several families which the whole family must accept to make the authority effective.
For example, according to Hoffman as cited by Friedman et al (2003), in a traditional nuclear family the husband still maintains more decision-making power over his wife and that “parents almost always have more power than children ” (p. 299). The following statement challenges that this idea is not the healthiest balance in today’s diverse family environment.

Affirmative Statement
I propose that an egalitarian sharing of power in today’s environment will create healthier family functioning. “No change in the American Family is mentioned more often than the gradual shift from one-sided male authority to the sharing of family power by the husband and wife. Declining sex role traditionalism, like many social changes, correlates with increasing complexity and conflict in family decision making” (Friedman, 2003). It is often hard in today’s time to get two individuals to agree to the same values. With the economy the way it is currently it takes two incomes to keep a family a float.
With two incomes needed this often times leads to the husband and wife sharing the power; in other words and egalitarian system of power sharing. This sharing of power results from the husband and wife working different hours to provide care for the children at all times. Another reason this sharing of power occurs is that the females in today’s society want to feel equal in their relationships, fueling the need for recognition and equal sharing of power in a family structure. An advantage to this view is that structure must be carefully assessed and recognized prior to distinguishing powerbase.
Family function –the intimate, interactive and interdependent sharing of values, decisions, and commitment over time” (Kaakinen, Gedaly-Duff, Coehlo, Harmon-Hanson, 2010, p. 22) determines structure and therefore establishes powerbase. In the healthy family, with an equal powerbase is not only perception but a reflection of these values and consideration of leadership and justice. In a family whose perceptions are based on bullying, domineering leadership or abuse, powerbase is reflected by actions committed in fear of punishment and retribution.
The opposite is true when the structure of the power is based on equal sharing of decisions and actions as a result of this family interaction structure. This view considers the positive or negative family interactions (structure) to affect the behavior of family members and that powerbase derives recognition from these interactions. What may be considered as perception of the power-holder(s) in family is actually the result of the positive or negative family behavior in response to structure. In a study done by Schoppe, Mangelsdorf, & Frosch, (2001), powerbase is determined by family structure.
Powerbase can connote failed impressions as well. Outward assessment of inward mutual support processes are the family system as it exists and as it functions. Changes in what is occurring are changes in support processes as well as actual changes in how individuals exist and experience. Powerbase within the family in a healthy or non-healthy environment is determined by family structure, if the powerbase is shared equally by the adults a better example will be demonstrated and mimicked by the children ( Kaakinen, 2012).

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New York University

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