Taken From Rooney, Rooney, And Strom-Gottfried: Exercise

Read the following case situation which was presented by a team member who is a social worker during a recent team meeting:

The client is a 21-year-old university student, currently living in the home of her parents. The young woman was eight years of age when her parents immigrated to the United States. Even though they have accepted many US customs, they are reluctant to give up customs and beliefs from their country of origin. In fact, the parents believe that some of the US values are problematic for the family, and they have been selective in the values that they embrace.

In the initial session with the social worker, the client talked about her desire to move into her own apartment closer to the university campus. In her culture, it is common for a single female to live in the home of her parents until she is married. So the question of her moving out and living alone is out of the question. When she talked to her parents about her desire to live alone, her father threatened to make her quit her studies at the university, believing that she had been unduly influenced by popular US culture.

The young woman works part-time on campus, so she would have the financial resources to rent an efficiency apartment. Her finances are, however, limited by other factors. For example, she tells you that one implicit family rule is that all family members contribute a portion of their earning to help the part of the family living in their country of origin.

The social worker who presented the case believed that the family rules were rigid, and further that the attitude of the parents shortchanged the direction that the client wanted to take in her life. The social worker also asserted that she should have the right to pursue her own goals, which included managing the money that the client earned. In concluding the case presentation, the social worker indicated that she had encouraged the client to pursue a goal of achieving independence. She also asked the client’s permission to meet with her parents so that she could educate them about the rights of young adults in the US.

1. What is your initial reaction to the situation?

2. What are the beliefs and values that guided the social worker’s perspective in this case?

3. Discuss the clash between the specific values clash of the parents and the values of Western society.

4. Describe the ways in which the parents manage the family’s internal and external boundaries.

5. Describe the implicit rules and decision-making patterns in the family that govern family members’ behavior.

6. As you listened to the team member’s review of the case, what comments would you have wanted to make