Dual-Career Families

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Overview of dual-career families and their implications for career couselors.

Overview of dual-career families and their implications for career couselors.

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  • 1. Dual-Careers: Implications for Career Counselors By: Paul Crolley
  • 2. Definitions
    • Dual-Career Families:
      • “…families in which both partners work” (Jordan, Cobb, & McCully, 1989)
    • Traditional-Career Families:
      • Only one of the partners (typically the husband) works while the other (typically the wife) stays at home as a home-maker
  • 3. What is the difference between dual-career families , a two-person career , and two-job families ?
  • 4.
    • Dual-Career Family :
    • Both partners focus intently on their respective careers
    • Two-Person Career Family :
      • Both partners focus their efforts into the career of one of the partners (usually the husband)
    • Two-Job Family :
      • One partner (typically the husband) who pursues a career, while the other (usually the wife) has a job that is secondary and serves to support the career of the partner
    Cherpas, 1985
  • 5. Dual-Career Families
    • The Family as a System
        • Our different family members’ work roles and attitudes influence our perceptions
    • Marital Satisfaction
        • Communication and work-view congruence
    • Cultural Considerations
        • There are influencing factors and considerations unique to each person
    • Issues facing Dual-Career Families
        • Expectations, role conflicts, child care options, & relationship factors
    • Implications for counseling
        • Important issues for clinical application, such as referrals to couples counseling
  • 6. The Family as a System
    • Any system, whether a corporation, a city government, or a family, comprises interdependent elements that have interrelated functions and share common goals
    Zunker, 2006
  • 7.
    • The family system is embedded in larger social systems
    Zunker, 2006
  • 8. Current Trends
    • More single adults
    • Postponement of marriage
    • Fewer children
    • More women working
    • More divorce
    • More single-parent families
    • More remarriages
    • The question to consider with these trends is: How will they affect the perceptions of life roles (like work)?
  • 9. Interesting observations
    • Fathers involved in dual-career families are less prone to exhibit stereotypic behaviors (providing children with more positive parenting roles)
    • Children who observe their mother as economically independent, with choices and opportunities, can gain a perception of what women can do and achieve
    Zunker, 2006
  • 10. Marital Satisfaction
    • The level of marital satisfaction can be correlated to how well the partners are in agreement with their respective aspirations and attitudes
  • 11. Marital Satisfaction
    • The way conflicts are expressed and negotiated and the manner in which resources are shared appear to be strong binding forces
    • Couples who have more traditional sex role attitudes tend to experience greater stress in a dual-career marriage
    Zunker, 2006
  • 12. Level of overall marital satisfaction High Low Start of marriage Birth of first child Adolescence of children Launching of children Retirement from work SOURCE: From Human development: A lifespan view , 3 rd ed., by R.V. Kail/Cavanaugh, 2004.
  • 13. Cultural Considerations
    • As with any type of counseling practice, practitioners should take into consideration each client’s cultural values and traditions
  • 14. Cultural Considerations
    • Individualistic v. collectivist cultures
      • In collectivist societies (Africans, Asians, and Hispanics) it is expected that all family members contributes to its welfare -> individual aspirations are secondary
      • In Asian and Hispanic families, husbands typically are head of the family and the family usually maintains strong traditional roles, including stereotypical male-female relationships
      • Providing career counseling approaches that include family and family needs are often most effective
    Zunker, 2006
  • 15. The following can serve as a check list when evaluating potential conflicts with members of culturally diverse families:
    • Effects of poverty (poor housing, lack of transportation, and health care)
    • Country of origin (language barrier, work role perceptions, & view of government)
    • Circumstances if immigration (political oppression and lack of trust for gov. agencies)
    • Degree of acculturation (worldviews, conflicting messages of appropriate behavior, and perception of work role)
    • Spiritual beliefs (family roles, health care issues, and social activities)
    • Skin color (discrimination and exclusion from some work roles)
    • Poor self-esteem (depression, restriction of job choice, and interpersonal relationships)
    • Lack of trust of institutions (resist using agencies for assistance)
    • English fluency (restricted job choice and limited personal contacts)
    • Intergenerational family contacts (conflicts over parents’ view of appropriate behavior and contemporary views of the host country)
    • Lack of support in community (isolation and restricted community involvement)
    • Discrimination (feelings of oppression, isolation, and restricted career choice)
    • Socioeconomic status (exclusion of opportunities in life, work, and leisure)
    • Feelings of powerlessness (lack of direction and difficulty adjusting to new environment)
    Goldberg and Goldberg, 2002
  • 16. Issues Facing Dual-Career Families
    • Expectations and Intentions of Work and Family
    • Role Conflict
    • Child Care
    • Relationship factors
    • Other personal factors
  • 17. Expectations and Intentions of Work and Family
    • In a study of university students, Gilbert (1993) found that young women and men reared in dual-career families were highly committed to a role-sharing marriage
    • Roles can include employment, home, social, and family responsibilities
      • Lack of agreement between expectations of roles in marriages has the potential to create interpersonal conflicts (Silberstein, 1992; Goldenberg and Goldenberg, 2002)
    • Role overload typically occurs between spouses when family roles are not clearly defined
      • If the husband’s occupational role is assumed to be primary, or if the wife views the husband’s employment as a less important career, there is a greater potential for minimal sharing of household work
    Zunker, 2006
  • 18. Role Conflicts
    • Generally is between family roles and work roles (family roles are source of most role conflicts [i.e., with household chores])
    • Klinger (1988) developed a model designed to delegate household tasks based on interests, aptitudes, and time available
      • Part I – Formulate list of household tasks
      • Part II – Agree on frequency of the tasks (daily, biweekly, etc.)
      • Part III – Agree on person(s) responsible for each task
        • Taking into consideration each person’s available time, interest, and abilities (undesired tasks are rotated)
      • Part IV – Review of tasks to determine the following:
        • A. Did the person(s) designated perform the task?
        • B. Was the task viewed as satisfactorily completed?
        • C. For “no” responses to questions A or B, what were the obstacles to completing the task?
        • D. What additional resources (time, money, people, objects) are needed to complete the task successfully?
      • Part V – Recycle: add or delete tasks, change person(s) responsible, etc.
  • 19. Child Care
    • Since both partners are working, couples with children need to explore child care options
      • Options include: sitters, daycare, & relatives
    • A major concern many parents have are the potential negative effects on children who attend day care centers
      • Clark-Stewart’s (1993) research indicates no difference in cognitive, linguistic, and social development in infants between day care and home settings
    Zunker, 2006
  • 20. Child Care
    • Many companies recognize the need to provide for child care and offer alternatives:
      • Emergency Care (temporary care when regular arrangements fall through)
      • Discounts (arrangements with providers for reduced rates)
      • On-site day care
    • Companies have also developed family-oriented work policies designed to help dual-career families with child care responsibilities
      • Telephone access (permits parents to make/take personal calls to children)
      • Parental leave (i.e., maternity leave)
      • Flexible work arrangements (part-time hours, job sharing, flexible place [telecommuting])
    Zunker, 2006
  • 21. Relationship Factors Zunker, 2006
    • A pivotal point in some dual-career families is a geographical relocation to enhance of the partner’s career
      • What kind of things go through your mind at the prospect of moving to another city in this situation?
    • Competition can also be associated due to a need to achieve and be recognized
      • Important to consider because feelings of competition might not be expressed directly but could result in debates about other things
    • Another key aspect in the decision-making process – more specifically, who is empowered to make decisions.
      • Its important to reach mutual agreement no both major and minor decisions to avoid one of the partners feeling treated unjustly
  • 22. Relationship Factors
    • Accommodators
      • One partner’s career involvement is the highest priority and home involvement is the lowest; the other partner has the opposite commitment
        • Traditional-career families
    • Adversaries
      • Both parties give highest commitment to career pursuits
        • This type usually leads to competition to achieve and conflicts over child care
    Zunker, 2006
  • 23. Relationship Factors
    • Allies
      • Both partners are strongly committed to advancing their careers and home roles
        • Satisfaction and fulfillment primarily comes from a happy family and home life
        • But primary focus is on the career, which can lead to not having children (or having fewer)
    • Acrobats
      • Both partners are also actively committed to career and home roles – are more successful at it (they want it all and go all out to become high achievers, have happy children, attend social events, and go to prestigious places for vacations)
        • They work in harmony to achieve their goals but are not surprisingly subject to work overload
    Zunker, 2006
  • 24. Other Personal Factors
    • The need to dominate is a personality factor that influences how partners combine occupational and family roles
      • Typically, a dominating partner expects the other to take a secondary role in career aspirations
    • The stages of career development of both partners are also important considerations
      • Ex., one partner might have reached the point where career has become secondary in life’s priorities, and, as a result, might not support the other partner’s career advancement
    • Other personal factors could make one partner resist accepting nontraditional roles to provide time for the other partner’s career efforts
      • Little support is offered in way of role sharing
    Zunker, 2006
  • 25. Implications for Career Counseling
    • One major problem is gender equity
      • Subtleties of male dominance often present in dual-career marriages often lead couples to deal with anxiety indirectly
        • Women might be searching for equity, while men fear giving up power
    • Major decision points are crucial in any marriage, but even more so with dual-careers
      • Ex., when (or if) to have children, or as mentioned before, relocating for a position
    Zunker, 2006
  • 26. Couples Counseling
    • In many cases, intervention strategies should include collaboration with couples counseling
      • In conjunction with couples counseling, the career counselor can provide:
        • Role-sharing strategies
        • Leisure time commitments, including family leisure time
        • Restatement of career goals (centering on plans for the future)
        • Career development of children as a sharing venture
        • Reformulation of lifespan goals
    Zunker, 2006
  • 27. Summary
    • About 12% of married women with children under age 6 worked outside the home in 1950; the figure increased by the early 1990s to 57% and to 62% in 2000
    • Dual-career families is a growing trend in our society and as practitioners we need to be mindful of the factors, values, and attitudes influencing clients seeking our assistance