My Family Genogram

Genograms are akin to family trees; however, they contain a detailed information regarding the health and relationship issues in a family. Medical practitioners and therapists use genograms to have an understanding of genetic and familial patterns (DeMaria, Weeks, & Hof, 2013). Additionally, genograms can be helpful in mapping out relationships and interactions between family members. I found the process of developing my family genogram interesting, since it provided an opportunity to discover new information about my family, including the traits of my family members. These findings were instrumental in discovering more about myself as well as explaining my beliefs and behaviors. In order to finish this project, I conducted informal interviews with my grandmother and mother. The only person I talked to from my fathers side of the family was my uncle, since my father, grandfather and grandmother from this side of the family passed away. Therefore, I opted to focus the genogram analysis on my mothers side. In addition, the aspect analyzed in the genogram relates to the family relationships, including their health history, practices, and beliefs.

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Analysis of Family Relationships

When developing the genogram, it became more evident that the family members have a considerably close relationship, especially between my mother (aged 77), my uncle aged (74), and two aunts (aged 70 and 80). I discovered that on my mothers side of the genogram, before reaching a consensus on anything, my mothers siblings together with grandparents held discussions, whereby everybody was provided with an opportunity to express his/her views. This was before my maternal grandparents passed away. The same approach continued even after they passed away as evident by the close relationships between the surviving siblings, who are in the constant communication and feel free to share their problems with each other. My maternal grandmother was a strong woman and a strict disciplinarian who believed that she had to raise her children with proper Christian values and beliefs. Moreover, we go to the church every Sunday. The same can be said of my maternal grandfather, although he was less strict when compared to my grandmother. All my maternal grandparents passed away. Overall, it can be said that the Christian background is helpful in fostering a close relationship between the family members from my mothers side.

In my family, conflicts tend to be resolved amicably. A crucial aspect of family relationships that I have discovered when developing the genogram relates to the way, in which conflicts and disagreements are handled among siblings on my mothers side. A notable observation is that these conflicts started to emerge following the deaths of my maternal grandparents, which resulted in moments of tension between the family members. After the death of my grandfather, none of my mothers siblings took the initiative of caring for my grandmother, which led to my mother, uncle and my aunts blaming each other for the loss. Despite this tension, my mothers siblings were able to settle their disagreements successfully, which I can attribute to their traits. The Big Five Personality Model proposes five fundamental aspects of the human personality, which include neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness (Bernstein, 2011). In the process of developing this genogram, I considered analyzing how these family members exhibited these personality traits and discovered that extraversion and openness were the most predominant traits among the family members. When applying the Big Five Personality Model among the family members, each individual ranks high with respect to extraversion and openness traits.

In case of a disagreement, family members always brought up the issue and talked about it in an open manner. My mothers side of the family is characterized by few secrets. They prefer arguing their way in the event of a conflict in order to end the disagreement and be done with it instead of continually fighting over longer durations. No surviving member from my mothers side of the family holds grudges. Moreover, the surviving members are of the belief that those who have already passed away did not die holding any grudges or unresolved family issues. It is my view that the effective resolution of conflicts among family members can be attributed to the openness traits among the family members.

Due to the extroverted nature of the siblings, family gatherings are often typified by vivid singing, impersonations, and theatrical storytelling. These gatherings are often loud, since every member wants to attract the attention and entertain members of the gatherings. These meetings are also characterized by family members being organized in groups, possibly debating about something. Talking is not a problem in my family. Regardless of the situation, initiating a conversation is easy with members from my mothers side of the family, since members value what each has to say.

In addition to the traits that have a considerable influence on the behavior of my family members, I have discovered that there is an expectation that the family members should value and pursue the education to the greatest lengths possible. My parents emphasized the significance of education and made everything possible to ensure that I received the best education. The same can be said of my grandparents expectations in regard to my mother and her siblings. Every member right from my grandparents to my mother and her siblings attended college, since they believe that the education increases ones chances of becoming successful; as a result, these views have been instilled in their children, which played an integral role in influencing our belief that the education paves ones living a successful life.

Analysis of Family Health Practices and Beliefs

Most of my family members from the side of my mother live or lived a sedentary lifestyle. When drafting the genogram, I found out that my mother and her siblings rarely engaged in any form of physical activity apart from occasional working. The lack of physical activity is a risk factor for various diseases that exist among the family members such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and stroke (Kaakinen, Padgett, Steele, Tabacco, & Harmon, 2014). This explains why the majority of the family members from my mothers side have been diagnosed with diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles.

Regarding the overall health of family members, it is evident that my mothers side of the family has diverse types of diseases that are likely to be passed down to subsequent generations. Although my maternal grandparents passed away as a result of natural deaths, my mothers siblings have various diseases. For instance, my mother suffers from high cholesterol and hypothyroidism. My two uncles passed away from strokes. My surviving uncle has been diagnosed with Parkinsonism. One of my aunts passed away from pneumonia. One of my surviving aunts has seizure disorder and hypertension. My last surviving aunt has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It is unsurprising that I have been diagnosed with breast cancer, since my family has a history of breast cancer. This risk is further heightened by the fact that my father passed away as a result of cancer.

When developing the genogram, I discovered that although family members live diverse lifestyles, women in the family from my mothers side are likely to have longer lifespans when compared to men. In this respect, my grandfather was the first to pass away followed by my grandmother. In addition, among the surviving siblings of my mother, women comprise the majority my mother and two aunts, with only one uncle surviving. My mother is aged 77, and my two aunts are aged 70 and 80, which is an indicator that women are likely to live longer when compared to men. This finding is consistent with the assertions made by Kaakinen, et al. (2014), who showed that women are living longer than men. For instance, in the US and other developed countries, the average lifespan of men is 72 years, which is relatively lower to the 79 years of womens lifespan (Kaakinen, et al., 2014). A closer look at the ages of my mothers siblings reveals that my older aunt has surpassed the expected lifespan for women, and my mother is almost reaching the expected lifespan. Another crucial observation when developing the genogram is that women in my mothers side of the family have lower death rates when compared to men, which explains why they constitute the majority of the surviving siblings. Therefore, I can conclude that women from my mothers side of the family are more likely to live longer when compared to men.

Conclusion

Whereas the specific beliefs and traits are not incorporated in the actual genogram that I developed, the genogram helped me in acknowledging that these beliefs and traits have influenced and are still influencing my family members perspectives on various things. Through describing the specific relationships among the family members, I was able to discover the most predominant personality traits among members of my family from the side of the mother, which include openness and extraversion. I believe these traits play a crucial role in ensuring a close relationship between the family members as well as helping to facilitate the resolution of conflicts, since family members do not hold grudges. Instead of being silent with a problem, they prefer arguing over it and reaching a resolution. Thus, there are little secrets from my mothers side of the family. The genogram also revealed health conditions that explain the increased risk for some diseases among the family members. A key trend is the sedentary lifestyle of the family members, which increases the risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, and stroke. In addition, the genogram also revealed that women are likely to have longer lifespans when compared to men.
 
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