The Family Today

The Family Today: A Guide for Leaders in Family Life Education

Dorothy T. Dyer
Copyright Date: 1950
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 180
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttthb0
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  • Book Info
    The Family Today
    Book Description:

    The problems and relationships of the modern family are becoming of increasing concern to educators, clinicians, social workers, ministers, and all other thoughtful citizens. To assist such school and community leaders, who can sponsor or direct programs in marriage and family life education, is the primary purpose of these twenty-two teaching and counseling projects. Although each project is designed to fit a specific group or situation, the materials and techniques suggested can be readily adapted to other groups. Especially helpful will be the extensive lists of pertinent reading materials and films. The projects were worked out cooperatively by the students in Professor Dyer’s course in family life education at the University of Minnesota in the summer of 1949. The fifteen members of the class were all professional counselors working in a variety of fields in widely separated sections of the country, and the usefulness of the book is greatly enhanced by this diversity.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3659-8
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  3. The Story of the Course
    (pp. 3-8)

    The course “Materials and Procedures in Marriage and Family Life” was developed in the summer school of 1949 at the University of Minnesota to meet the needs of graduate students interested in preparing for leadership in the field. The objectives of the course were to acquaint the students with the materials available and to give them experience in planning the use of these materials.

    It is always stimulating to plan a new course when it grows out of the needs of students and when it can be plannedwithinstead offorthem. It is satisfying when students in such...

  4. Unit I Premarriage Considerations and Experiences
    • Project A UNDERSTANDING OURSELVES AND OUR NEEDS: ADOLESCENCE, THE SEARCH FOR INDEPENDENCE
      (pp. 11-22)

      To present a comprehensive survey of the physical aspects of adolescence and the problems of adjustment which often grow out of them, including a practical and socially acceptable vocabulary for discussing them.

      To destroy the many unfounded fears — of disease, pregnancy, insanity, abnormality — created by the old superstitions and gutter teaching.

      To foster an attitude of calm, confident adjustment based on a knowledge of scientific information.

      To produce greater participation in activities of approved social groups, the family in particular, and to further the choice and employment in daily living of practical and socially desirable standards of conduct...

    • Project B DATING, COURTSHIP, AND ENGAGEMENT
      (pp. 23-33)

      To describe the ordinarily approved patterns of behavior during the premarriage period.

      To counteract unfounded feelings of abnormality or guilt.

      To replace the taboo patterns of childhood with a realistic and wholesome attitude toward life as a whole.

      To produce a relaxed and well-adjusted participation in the process of dating and courtship which will result in a wise choice of marriage partner and a happy adjustment to married life.

      Thirty high school seniors enrolled in a course called “Personal Orientation.”

      The course in “Personal Orientation” is a semester in length, and is followed by a second semester course called “Community...

    • Project C THE CHOICE OF A MARRIAGE PARTNER
      (pp. 34-40)

      To present the basic principles of marital selection which have been scientifically demonstrated to be valid, such as homogamy.

      To disprove the fallacies of the romantic complex — such as, “marriages are made in heaven,” “one ideal mate for every person,” “love at first sight,” “the world well lost for love.”

      To combine an attitude of informed objectivity toward the opposite sex with consideration of individual interests and preferences.

      To bring about a wise, mature selection of a marriage partner.

      A senior high school group with varied backgrounds, in a city of 100,000 population. All the students have had courses...

    • Project D CAREERS FOR WOMEN
      (pp. 41-47)

      To indicate the many factors affecting the combination of marriage with a career.

      To remove the feeling either that a career outside the home will necessarily wreck a marriage, or that the homemaker’s work is of negligible importance as compared with a public career.

      To encourage an attitude of objective inquiry and evaluation of the individual’s own needs and circumstances in connection with work outside the home.

      To bring about a decision which is in the best interests of the particular couple involved, and to encourage a satisfactory adjustment to that decision.

      A group of engaged and newly married young...

    • Project E HOW WE SATISFY OUR NEEDS: THE AFFECTIONAL PATTERN; PREMARITAL SEX RELATIONS
      (pp. 48-52)

      To give class members an understanding of affectional needs and how they may be satisfied most effectively in adolescence and early adulthood.

      To reassure them with regard to their social adequacy and sexual normality.

      To encourage an attitude of participation in group activities and a sharing of experiences and interests with others.

      To ease the period of adjustment during the shift from late childhood to early adulthood.

      Students from the eighth, ninth, and tenth grades enrolled in a course in social science.

      The class meets for fifty minutes a day during the school week. The study of affectional needs occupies...

  5. Unit II The Marriage
    • Project A THE WEDDING AND THE HONEYMOON
      (pp. 55-59)

      To give a clear picture of local marriage customs, etiquette, and financing.

      To remove the feeling that the primary purpose of a wedding is to overawe acquaintances with a conspicuous display of economic waste.

      To develop the thought of the wedding and honeymoon as symbolic and significant introductions to building a successful marriage adjustment.

      To promote a relaxed, fully shared, happy honeymoon which will lead gently into a still closer adjustment during the early months of marriage.

      Engaged couples who expect to marry within the near future. The class is limited to a maximum of twelve couples.

      This study is...

    • Project B IN-LAW AND INTERFAITH MARRIAGE PROBLEMS
      (pp. 60-65)

      To investigate the implications of marriage between people with different religious and social backgrounds, particularly as these involve their immediate relatives.

      To counteract such folk beliefs as that opposites attract, that no differences matter in “true love,” and that in-law relationships are inherently and immedicably bad.

      To create an attitude of calm, frank, cooperative attack on mutual problems in a spirit of concern for the partner’s desires and with an objective evaluation of one’s own.

      To discourage marriages between partners who hold rigidly to plans for the proposed marriage which are certain to conflict; and, for couples who decide to...

    • Project C SEXUAL ADJUSTMENT IN MARRIAGE
      (pp. 66-71)

      To present a perspective view of sexual experiences in a broad setting of personality development, general adjustment, the total affectional complex, and the background of social institutions, codes, and customs.

      To replace romantic misconceptions of the “lived happily ever after” variety with a concept of sexual adjustment as a continual process, not something to be achieved quickly and maintained unchanging.

      To produce an attitude of relaxed acceptance of the sexual relationship, based on a familiarity with established knowledge about sex.

      To bring about ultimately a marital adjustment that grows progressively more complete and satisfactory.

      A group of not more than...

    • Project D FINANCE AND INCOME MANAGEMENT
      (pp. 72-76)

      To familiarize the couple with the possible systems of expense planning and with available sources of information and advice.

      To correct the notion that keeping up with the Van Joneses is the basis of proper income management.

      To produce a continuing attitude of objective attack on economic problems.

      To lead to a wise budget for the first six months of marriage which will be replaced at regular intervals with a new plan carefully revised to fit changed circumstances.

      Two recent college graduates who are planning to marry within the next month. The man has completed his education with the help...

    • Project E CONFLICT AND TENSION — CRISIS SITUATIONS: DEATH, POVERTY, INFIDELITY, DIVORCE
      (pp. 77-86)

      To describe the many techniques for adjusting to crisis situations.

      To alleviate the feeling of panic at the thought of crises in the family.

      To bring about an acceptance of crisis situations as a normal and inevitable part of family living.

      To produce a calmly constructive handling of crises as they arrive.

      Twenty juniors and seniors in a college course in family life education, mixed as to sex, marital status, and religious background.

      The class meets for fifty-minute periods three days a week, and the study of crisis situations occupies two weeks of the term.

      The instructor gives an introductory...

  6. Unit III Pregnancy and the Birth Experience
    • Project A PRENATAL CARE AND BIRTH
      (pp. 89-93)

      To organize and add to the group’s understanding of pregnancy and the birth process.

      To correct common superstitions with regard to heredity and prenatal care.

      To develop healthy attitudes toward pregnancy as a natural and normal experience.

      To produce calm and effective care for mother and child during pregnancy.

      A group of married couples about to have children, or planning for them in the near future.

      The class is sponsored by the local PTA (or other organization), with the assistance of the local clinic, hospital, or public health department, as well as of individual doctors.

      Weekly meetings an hour and...

    • Project B HEREDITY FACTORS
      (pp. 94-98)

      To produce a scientifically organized understanding of the mechanisms of heredity.

      To correct misconceptions about the inheritance of abnormalities.

      To develop an interest in eugenics and an attitude of open-mindedness toward the subject.

      To develop appreciation and increased tolerance of individual differences.

      Fifteen young married couples attending a prenatal clinic sponsored by a local social agency. Some of them already have small children, and the others expect to start their families soon. The couples vary widely in their educational, religious, social, and economic backgrounds.

      The study of heredity factors is part of the regular program of the clinic, which meets...

    • Project C FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR THE BABY
      (pp. 99-105)

      To get a clear picture of minimum and optimum budgets for the birth and early care of the baby.

      To correct the attitude that childbirth must be a budget-wrecking disaster.

      To develop an appreciation of the effect of a realistic budget for the baby’s expenses on the morale and stability of the family.

      To bring about the inclusion of sensible planning for financing childbirth and baby care as an essential part of the broad financial plans which students will make during their engagement and early in their marriage.

      Forty juniors and seniors taking a course on marriage in a large...

    • Project D PSYCHOLOGICAL PREPARATION
      (pp. 106-110)

      To develop a thorough knowledge of the physical changes of childbearing from the first signs of pregnancy through the birth experience.

      To replace fear of childbirth with a feeling of security and an attitude of cooperation.

      To bring about the realization that pregnancy is a normal part of the social pattern, with accepted traditions of social, legal, and familial behavior.

      To ensure careful planning and a progressive development of confidence throughout the period of pregnancy.

      Although the class is sponsored by a church organization, a number of denominations are represented among the twelve married couples in the group, all of...

  7. Unit IV The Child in the Family
    • Project A EARLY TRAINING AND DISCIPLINE
      (pp. 113-117)

      To familiarize the parents with present scientific knowledge about the physical, mental, and emotional growth of the preschool child, and with means of keeping in contact with further discoveries and ideas as they develop.

      To expose common superstitions concerning growth and development.

      To develop an understanding and acceptance of the continuing responsibilities of parenthood.

      To enable parents to direct the development of their children more wisely.

      Fathers and mothers in a rural community became interested in making a study of the problems of training small children encountered in their families. A study group was organized at their request under the...

    • Project B SEX EDUCATION AND THE CHILD
      (pp. 118-122)

      To develop a familiarity with the basic emotional and biological facts about sex, as well as with a usable vocabulary of sex terms.

      To persuade the parents that children’s interest in body structure is a normal and acceptable part of their psychological-biological development.

      To strengthen the realization that children’s sex education is inevitable, and that the choice lies between honest and adequate education in the home or miseducation elsewhere.

      To produce a frank, wholesome, natural approach to sex education in the home, based on objective information and the recognition that sex education is a vital factor in the development of...

    • Project C PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS
      (pp. 123-130)

      To bring about a realization of the universality of stresses and crises in families, and to provide knowledge of some of the techniques for meeting them.

      To replace parents’ rigid and stereotyped attitudes toward the children with attitudes of flexibility, tolerance, and understanding.

      To produce a general feeling among all members of the family of cooperation in a mutually beneficial enterprise.

      To make the home a place of harmonious interaction, growth, and shared responsibilities.

      This is a counseling situation. The family seeking help includes:

      Father, a college graduate, a businessman, a steady worker. He leaves the running of the home...

    • Project D FAMILY SHARING AND PLANNING
      (pp. 131-136)

      To promote a clear understanding of the values to be derived from cooperative family planning.

      To correct the traditional feeling that a dictatorial organization — benevolent or harsh — is the only workable form of family government.

      To create the feeling that family planning is an enjoyable experience in which each member of the family plays a vital part.

      To promote mental health and adjustment through cooperative family living.

      The members of a Parent-Teachers Association.

      A regular PTA meeting, lasting an hour and a half.

      Five four- and five-year-olds selected by a kindergarten teacher present a panel discussion, with the...

  8. Unit V Social and Personal Functions of the Family
    • Project A VALUES IN MARRIAGE FOR PERSONALITY GROWTH
      (pp. 139-142)

      To illustrate the importance of a successful marriage in integrating the diverse elements of personality, providing a secure basis for building general social adjustment, and expanding the potentialities of each member in all directions.

      To counteract the folk picture of a “benedict” who gives up his “freedom” when he sets up housekeeping with “the ball-and-chain.”

      To encourage the attitude that marriage is an unparalleled opportunity for continuous cooperative growth, promising constantly varied and more satisfying experiences.

      To bring about a realistic approach to the stresses of family living, resulting in their reduction through constructive solution.

      A group of young married...

    • Project B THE COMMUNITY AND THE FAMILY
      (pp. 143-146)

      To make the class members aware of the range of housing conditions in their community, and the effect of these conditions on the community.

      To help replace moralistic conceptions of social adjustment with a realization of economic and cultural interactions.

      To produce an attitude of objectivity and an interest in a constructive attack on undesirable housing conditions.

      To train the students so that as adult citizens of their community they will take an active and constructive part in evaluating and improving local housing conditions.

      Members of a social studies class in the seventh, eighth, or ninth grade of a public...

    • Project C THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FAMILY FOR SOCIAL VALUES AND ATTITUDES
      (pp. 147-150)

      To present a bird’s-eye view of social organization, showing the family as an instrument for preparing the individual to fit into the broader patterns of community and world.

      To suggest the reasons for preferring such attitudes as racial tolerance, democracy, and mutual assistance to mob rule, hatred, and unrelieved competition.

      To foster an attitude of objectivity toward the problems of family living, and a desire to work them out through democratic discussion and compromise.

      To create a family atmosphere of democratic cooperation and mutual responsibility which will facilitate the children’s assumption of adult roles in society.

      Twenty to twenty-five young...

    • Project D HEALTH AND DISEASE
      (pp. 151-156)

      To make the students familiar with the nature and prevalence of diseases and their effect on family life.

      To replace the feeling that disease is a purely personal concern with the realization that it is a matter of importance to the community as a whole.

      To develop a feeling of responsibility for the health of the community.

      To produce an active participation in health programs and cooperation with community health officials.

      A mixed group of fifty high school seniors taking a required course in social problems. The students live in or near a city of 20,000 population.

      The class holds...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 157-166)
  10. List of Films
    (pp. 167-169)