Research Proposal: Genogram Significant Family Events Dolly

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Genogram

Significant Family Events

Dolly is a Punjabi Muslim woman from Malaysia. When Dolly was 16 her family moved to Singapore, where she was raised. Dolly's genogram reveals a lot about the impact of family history, cultural values, class conflict, and gender roles on an individual. The most significant family events in Dolly's life include the death of her father and the disowning of her sister by the rest of the family. Expectations for an arranged marriage and limitations on women's work and educational prospects have significantly impacted Dolly. The dual pressures placed on her by her family and society continually challenge her identity as a Punjabi woman.

Dolly currently addresses issues related to her career and personal life. She will face tremendous challenges if Dolly has to decide between fulfilling the wishes of her family vs. her desires as an individual. Dolly's genogram offers valuable insight for all counselors interested in multicultural issues.

Although the pressure to conform to female gender roles continue to affect Dolly, a lot has changed since her grandfather passed away decades ago. Dolly notes that her grandfather was the last true patriarch in the family. He ascribed to traditional roles for women, which meant women were prohibited from receiving any education past the very early years. Women were expected to become part of their in-laws' family. All marriages were to be arranged; no one marries for love or outside of the Punjabi ethnic group. Moreover, marriages generally mean a union of individuals from similar social class backgrounds. In Dolly's case, her parents' marriage already subverted some of those traditional marriage values. Dolly's father was from a much lower socio-economic class than Dolly's mother. The marriage was arranged, but not fully approved of by all family members. In fact, Dolly noted that many of her maternal relatives want nothing to do with her side of the family because of her father's perceived low social standing. When they were married, Dolly's father was 21 and her mother was 20.

II. Themes and Issues

Dolly's father and mother broke other social codes. Dolly's father was especially interested in educating all of his female children, and he was the first patriarch in her family line to encourage his female children to attend school, receive a higher education, and work in worldly careers. Dolly's father also broke with tradition when he moved the family to Singapore. All of Dolly's extended relatives still live in Malaysia and in the same village. Dolly's family therefore significantly broke off from its roots. Dolly's genogram reveals severances of several different types of family ties. First, Dolly's dad broke away from traditional parenting styles. Second, Dolly's parents married outside of their caste even though it was an arranged marriage. Third, Dolly's dad educated all his children including the females. Fourth, Dolly's relatively small branch of the family moved away from the root family in Malaysia. All of these issues have created a gap, or a discontinuity, in the way Dolly feels about her relatives. Dolly's family is geographically and culturally removed from her more traditional relatives in Malaysia. Unlike most of her cousins, Dolly did not grow up amid a large extended family that includes dozens of cousins, aunts, and uncles. Although Dolly has five siblings and is close to all of them, her branch of the family is somewhat cut off from the remainder of her family -- both the maternal and paternal sides. The physical and emotional separation between her and her extended family in Malaysia have affected her identity and roles.

Furthermore, Dolly's siblings have also led unconventional lives with regards to family traditions. None of her siblings have married a fellow Punjabi. This has caused tremendous strife between her siblings and other family members. Dolly's older sisters have suffered the most from being isolated, due to their choice in marriage partners. The very fact that Dolly's sisters chose who they married represented a major shift from tradition. Dolly's oldest sister married a Pakistani man. Together they have four children, the oldest of which is 19 and the youngest of which is 9.

Dolly's next older sister married a Hindu man who happened to be from a lower caste. Like her sister, Dolly's older brother also married a woman outside of his caste, a Sikh woman from a poor family. These siblings have all broken from tradition in the same way that Dolly's parents broke a bit from their family traditions. It is possible that Dolly's parents paved the way for a more liberal interpretation of marriage, a broader set of choices for both boy and girl children. However, these choices have been very difficult for the family because of the isolation they experience.

Especially painful has been how the family disowned Dolly's sister. According to Dolly, the sister is viewed as if "dead." Dolly's sister married a Hindu man from a low caste. She therefore married outside of her religion, her culture, and her class. Dolly's older brother married a Sikh woman. Punjabi Muslims, Punjabi Sikhs, and Hindus have had some historical conflicts and so this represents an affront to her family traditions. Dolly's younger sister married a Caucasian man from the United States. Therefore, none of her siblings married a Punjabi. Dolly is not yet married. Her siblings' experiences are likely to affect how, when, why, and who she marries.

Besides the disowning of her sister, the other major life event for Dolly has been the death of her father. He died young, when he was only in his 50s. Dolly's mother has never remarried. The death of Dolly's father was not entirely unexpected, because his mother and all of his brothers had also died of a heart attack.

Dolly's father experienced a great degree of stress, in part related to his strained relations with his family. The move from Malaysia to Singapore was undertaken to offer both him and his children better prospects for jobs and education. Dolly's father may have been motivated by his own upbringing in a poor, illiterate family. Unlike Dolly's mother, her father grew up with financial stresses that he did not want his children to experience. When Dolly's dad started to earn more money in Singapore, he supported almost forty relatives back in Malaysia with his earnings. He was expected to do so, as a family obligation. Dolly and her sisters received an education equal to that of their brothers. They were the first females in their family to have an education. Moreover, none of the males in Dolly's father's family were educated either. This meant that Dolly's brothers were also the first in their family to receive an education. All of Dolly's male and female relatives on her father's side are poor and uneducated. The males work blue-collar jobs. This is the large family her father was supporting when he was still alive. When her father passed away, Dolly's brothers became heads of the household. They worked and attended school at the same time to support the family in their father's place. Their lack of connection with their relatives in Malaysia makes it less likely they will continue to support their more distant relatives unless they can.

III. Psychological Impact

Education, gender, and socioeconomic class are major themes in Dolly's family. These issues have had a direct affect on how individual family members create their identity. Education, gender, and socioeconomic class also affect interpersonal and familial relationships. Culture and religion combine to shape how individual family members view each other, themselves, and their communities. Worldviews are impacted by all of these interrelated themes. Until Dolly's father was born, few individuals broke significantly from family traditions. Individual family members lived according to the norms of race, class, and gender. Few if any had attempted to stretch their sociological boundaries.

However, Dolly's family has not been immune to historical events and realities. Around the time Dolly's grandfather passed away, the social, political, and economic landscape of Malaysia was changing dramatically. Dolly's father was born in a different world than the one his parents occupied. Opportunities for mobility, both geographic and socio-economic, opened. Dolly's father understood that moving his family to Singapore was a real possibility. In his father's time, such a move would have been unthinkable. The mobility of people has had some economic benefits, uplifting people from poverty. Yet as we can see with Dolly's family, mobility places a strain on families. Traditional families like Dolly's can be extraordinarily affected by dramatic changes. The move changes worldviews, exposing individuals to new thoughts, ideas, norms, and ways of living. Dolly's father also understood changes in gender roles and norms. Marriages no longer had to be arranged, although marrying out of love was still anathema to Dolly's parents. The education of women was once taboo, but by the time Dolly's parents married they could imagine raising their children in a more egalitarian society. The negative effects of moving a family from their village, severing ties, is offset by the positive impact it might have on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Genogram Significant Family Events Dolly.  (2009, November 16).  Retrieved November 15, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/genogram-significant-family-events/7535036

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