I. Financial Base:
The first function is to provide a financial base for the family and obviously
two households can’t run on the same income, as one so there is usually
big adjustment to be made here with everyone having a somewhat lowered
standard of living. It also often means that if one person such as the
Mom has been working part-time or not working she needs to evaluate whether
she should go back to school, get some more training, should she work
full-time and that can be a very major decision that effects everyone
in the family. Men too often make changes in their career as the family
goes through divorce.
II. Raising Children:
The second function of the family is to provide a base for raising the
children and just as a change in finances can really change everything
it can also change child raising because Mom may have been home with the
children most or all of the item and now she may need to return to work
or school and the kids are in daycare more or are left on their own more.
They’re with one parent or another most of the time, rarely with both
parents and often with other caretakers. The younger a child the more
up-setting this issue is because the youngest children simply don’t fully
understand what’s happening. Older children can also be left more responsible
for younger ones than they might be.
III. Social Exchange:
The third function of the family is social exchange with other people,
other families, other couples and very often by the time of the divorce
a couple finds that they are quite isolated from other families and couples
because there’s been enough tension that they’ve withdrawn from other
people a good deal. So often a family is feeling somewhat isolated at
the very time when they need the most support.
IV. Safe Atmosphere for Adult Relationships:
The fourth function is to provide a safe atmosphere for a sexual relationship
between the adults. Obviously this is a common human need and parents
as they move away from the relationship with their spouse are thinking
eventually about dating again and making a sexual relationship, wanting
to think about remarrying and this often a difficult decision making process
for parents to determine how to have a sexual relationship especially
when they kids at home and how much do they involve the children in relationships
with new adults without making the children fearful of love lost.
V. Division of Labor:
The fifth function of the family is division of labor. Usually a couple
will divide things up so one is responsible for keeping the family finances,
one is responsible for the yard work, cooking, grocery shopping. But when
a couple divorces each one has all of the functions of the household which
they need to be responsible for and that can be very overwhelming when
an adult is working full-time and goes home to all the responsibilities
of the household plus on their own helping the children with their homework,
helping them with projects. It is and can be very overwhelming so often
families need much support getting through this process.