Families today are noticeably different than what they were 20+ years ago. The tradition of mothers staying home and raising the children while fathers’ financially supporting the family is not only something of the past, but could almost be seen as abnormal in today’s world. The family unit has become something that one cannot easily fit into a certain category due to the ever changing faces of it and the constantly changing social norms. Adults are becoming parents later in life, working mothers, stay at home fathers, same- sex couples, elderly family members living with family members and older children staying at home longer are a few examples of how todays families differ from the “traditional family.” Congress in (Coady & Lehmann, 2008) states that to understand the developmental stages of any family, a social worker must first understand the developmental stages of the individual. Where the individual family members are in their developmental stages and how they transition through each of their developmental stages will effect where the family is at its developmental stage as well as how the family unit negotiates times of crisis or transitions into the next stage of development (Goldenburg & Goldenburg, 2008) This essay will provide an explanation of why it is so important for a social worker to understand developmental change theories in order to provide appropriate support and help guide them through their practice with families.
Overview of the theories and concepts informing social work practice using knowledge of individual developmental stages.
Erikson’s individual development theory sets out 8 stages with the addition of 1 more recently added, ranging from birth to death, each with its own contradic...
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A social worker must understand the connections between the individuals to understand the family as a whole and how and why they operate the way the do. Having and understanding of the developmental stages of both individuals and families can help provide an insight into what could be happening within the family unit and potential reasons why. Whilst having a good understanding of the developmental stages, it is essential that the social worker use the stages as a guide remembering, that not every person and family will fit perfectly into a particular stage, and not fitting into a particular stage does not make them out of the ordinary in any way and in some instances, sharing this “abnormality” with clients could be more detrimental than the original issues that lead them to seek support in the first place. (Congress 2008 in (Coady & Lehmann, 2008).
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