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Exploring family of origin for individuals who have grown up in extremely rigid and enmeshed families

Relationship education provides an opportunity to work with couples’ perceptions of their families of origin. In particular, it is worth exploring the possible impact of extreme, or unbalanced, family structures on how couples are likely to approach their own relationship.

A series of studies conducted at the University of Sydney have identified some key matters of concern. These studies have been conducted by postgraduate students in the School of Psychology under the supervision of Alan Craddock, a former Senior Lecturer in that School and also the former National Coordinator of PREPARE/ENRICH Australia. All of these studies used measures of family structure that were very closely related to the family of origin questions used in the PREPARE/ENRICH inventories.

The form of extreme family structure focused on in these studies involves enmeshment or extreme closeness. Highly enmeshed families may be typified by an extreme form of cohesiveness that undermines the development of personal autonomy and which results in a form of family bonding that represents an over-identification with the family.

There are two varieties of enmeshed families that occur quite frequently: Rigidly enmeshed and chaotically enmeshed.

Rigidly enmeshed families are excessively close and also have very highly structured rules, roles and routines. In contrast, chaotically enmeshed families, whilst also being excessively close, lack structure and tend to be random, unstable and chaotic.

The University of Sydney studies revealed three areas of personal adjustment that are strongly associated with rigidly enmeshed types of family of origin. These are all areas that may represent important vulnerabilities for couples, and therefore are worth noting.

(1) Relationship Attachment

In 1999, Natalie Nasr, Leah MacFadyen, Clint Marlborough, Rina Sarkis and Susan Scanlon examined the effect of childhood experiences of family of origin on adult relationship attachment among young Australian adults. One important and relevant feature of their findings was that rigid-enmeshment was a significant predictor of discomfort in adult relationships.

(2) Feelings of Shame and Sense of Parentification

In 2003, Margaret Walker studied the effect of childhood experiences of family of origin on young Australian adults’ reports of feeling a sense of personal shame and of being pressured to adopt parent-like roles in their childhood (parentification). She found that rigid-enmeshment, as a feature of family of origin, was a significant predictor of strong feelings of shame and a strong sense of being parentified during childhood.

(3) Perfectionism

In 2006, Wendy Church and Alexandra Sands investigated the relationship between features of family of origin and young Australian adults’ tendencies towards being perfectionistic. They found that family enmeshment and rigid, authoritarian forms of parenting were significant predictors of both functional (healthy) and dysfunctional (unhealthy) forms of perfectionism.

In summary, all of these studies support the view that, although family closeness and structure are generally regarded as positive in their effects, too much closeness (enmeshment) combined with too much structure (rigidity) may be damaging.

The damage identified in these studies may be apparent in couples taking a relational inventory or counselling. In particular, individuals who have grown up in extremely rigid and enmeshed families of origin may find it difficult to be comfortable in their own adult relationships and may be carrying a burden of emotional baggage with them that involves some or all of these components: A sense of shame, a strong pressure to perform perfectly and to inappropriately take on adult parent-like roles. This baggage appears to originate family of origin pressures that are associated with over-controlling and suffocating closeness. Facilitators and counsellors should be alert to these possibilities without assuming that the patterns fit all individuals who have grown up in rigid and enmeshed families.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

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The benefits of stable, loving relationships for men, women and children (and for society)

Research overwhelmingly points to the physical, psychological, emotional, social and financial benefits of stable, loving relationships for men, women and children (and our society in general).

Knowing these benefits, PREPARE/ENRICH believes and strongly advocates for relationship education across the life span to assist in the development and maintenance of healthy, committed, nurturing relationships in all their diversity.

Providing a highly valid and well researched assessment tool to assist couples explore their strength and growth areas, PREPARE/ENRICH has trained over 15,000 facilitators across Australia in the past 35 years who work with couples in all life stages to change the way they relate and how they handle conflict amongst others things irrespective of age, sexual orientation, cultural or religious background.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

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PREPARE/ENRICH – Core and Going Deeper Training Hornsby Nov/Dec

The Core Training Day includes all aspects of the Customised Version necessary to enable and accredit the Facilitator to use the material immediately.

The fee covers the programmed two day arrangement. It is preferable when the Core and Going Deeper Training days are run consecutively, that participants attend both days. If that is not feasible or is not available, you can attend the Going Deeper Training day within 12 months from the Core Training workshop, as advertised on this website.

The Going Deeper Day is a follow-up and consolidation day. It includes skills training and practice opportunities for working with feedback techniques and workbook exercises. The day covers selected content and processes relevant to working with step-families, mature age couples and conflicted couples.

It may be taken when registering as part of a programmed two day arrangement, or if that is not feasible or is not available, on a day to be selected (within 12 months) from the Core Training workshop, as advertised on this website.

The Core Training Day is a prerequisite to the Going Deeper Day.

Who may train to administer the inventories?

Persons working with couples (eg. marriage celebrants, educators, counsellors) who already have formal training as a –

  • Pastor/priest/minister/rabbi.
  • Counsellor/Psychologist
  • Educator
  • Social Worker
  • Worker trained in another relevant human resource discipline

and –

  • Lay people, who also have training in the above areas, nominated by, approved by, and supervised by and accountable to leaders of the institution (eg. clergy, pastors, priests) within which they will work. We are prepared to train such individuals and couples but they need to be selected and nominated with care.  Just because they are church members and have participated in a PREPARE/ENRICH program as part of their own preparation for marriage is not a sufficient qualification. It is important to consider their knowledge and skills.
An Early Bird Discount of 10% is available if you register and pay up to 30-days prior to Facilitator Training.
 

Please refer to full the terms and conditions including the cancellation policy here: www.prepare-enrich.com.au/terms-conditions

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PREPARE/ENRICH – Core and Going Deeper Training Parramatta October

The Core Training Day includes all aspects of the Customised Version necessary to enable and accredit the Facilitator to use the material immediately.

The fee covers the programmed two day arrangement. It is preferable when the Core and Going Deeper Training days are run consecutively, that participants attend both days. If that is not feasible or is not available, you can attend the Going Deeper Training day within 12 months from the Core Training workshop, as advertised on this website.

The Going Deeper Day is a follow-up and consolidation day. It includes skills training and practice opportunities for working with feedback techniques and workbook exercises. The day covers selected content and processes relevant to working with step-families, mature age couples and conflicted couples.

It may be taken when registering as part of a programmed two day arrangement, or if that is not feasible or is not available, on a day to be selected (within 12 months) from the Core Training workshop, as advertised on this website.

The Core Training Day is a prerequisite to the Going Deeper Day.

Who may train to administer the inventories?

Persons working with couples (eg. marriage celebrants, educators, counsellors) who already have formal training as a –

  • Pastor/priest/minister/rabbi.
  • Counsellor/Psychologist
  • Educator
  • Social Worker
  • Worker trained in another relevant human resource discipline

and –

  • Lay people, who also have training in the above areas, nominated by, approved by, and supervised by and accountable to leaders of the institution (eg. clergy, pastors, priests) within which they will work. We are prepared to train such individuals and couples but they need to be selected and nominated with care.  Just because they are church members and have participated in a PREPARE/ENRICH program as part of their own preparation for marriage is not a sufficient qualification. It is important to consider their knowledge and skills.
An Early Bird Discount of 10% is available if you register and pay up to 30-days prior to Facilitator Training.
 

Please refer to full the terms and conditions including the cancellation policy here: www.prepare-enrich.com.au/terms-conditions

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PREPARE/ENRICH Parenting Version Training

The Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH is designed to guide couples through the emotions of parenting by empowering them with insight into their parenting style, family dynamics, and couple relationship. The Parenting Version is best used with any committed couple whose primary concerns are children and parenting issues.

“PREPARE/ENRICH Parenting puts you at the intersection of marital and parental dynamics and equips you to offer help, hope, and healing.”- Ron L. Deal, LMFT, LPC, author of the bestselling book The Smart Stepfamily and coauthor with David Olson of The Remarriage Checkup

Goals of the Parenting Version

  • Explore strengths and growth areas as partners and parents
  • Strengthen communication with your partner and children
  • Identify and manage parenting stress
  • Discuss parenting styles and how you work together as a team
  • Resolve couple and parenting issues
  • Increase parenting confidence and satisfaction

Parenting Content

Standard PREPARE/ENRICH couple scales adapted for the Parenting Version:

  • Parenting Stress Profile
  • Co-Parenting or Step Parenting
  • Family Spiritual Beliefs (optional scale)
  • Family Map

Scales that are unique to the Parenting Version:

  • Five Parenting Styles – Global
  • Five Parenting Styles – by Child
  • Confidence in Parenting
  • Child Behavior Issues Checklist
  • Family Communication
  • Family Satisfaction
  • Relationship Satisfaction by Child
  • Communication Satisfaction by Child

In addition to the parenting report content, new workbook exercises were designed to help couples better understand themselves, their partner, and their parenting. Some of these exercises include creating a wish list for parenting, establishing a balanced parenting style, and designing a weekly family meeting.

“It brings to light dimensions of parenting that couples aren’t always aware of, especially when distressed. Also, it is good that it addresses the complexities of stepfamilies. I especially like the ‘Parenting Styles’- very useful.”

Getting Started

  • To get started with the Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH, you will need to become PREPARE/ENRICH Certified by attending a Workshop.
  • Once trained, Contact Us to activate the Parenting Version in your facilitator account.
  • The cost to activate the Parenting Version is $40

Available for PREPARE/ENRICH facilitators only

Please refer to full the terms and conditions including the cancellation policy here: www.prepare-enrich.com.au/terms-conditions
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Text, Twitter, Tweet… No screens at bedtime or during family time

According to a recent survey, we are fast becoming (if not already) an always-on mobile society. Our addiction to our favourite device and the apparent need to check regularly and respond instantly must be in response to our growing fear of missing out or perhaps our love of being always-on.

For children, this obsession can start early but needs to be tackled by parents to ensure good habits are learnt and distractions from mobile technology don’t impact negatively on their health and learning abilities.

Here are some tips:

2. No screens at bedtime or during family time.

You don’t have to confiscate their phones, you can get an app that can automatically block activity at a certain time or when a time limit is exceeded.

By installing a child control app on all devices that your children use, you can set various time limits for the Internet, PC or mobile device and even specific programs, apps and websites. some even shut the device down automatically, displaying a lock screen.

In your search browser, type ‘manage your kids screen time’. Use the app as a starting point for conversations about screen use, not as a replacement for them.

Reference:

Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016: http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/tmt-mobile-consumer-2016-final-report-101116.pdf

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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PREPARE/ENRICH – Core and Going Deeper Training Parramatta July

The Core Training Day includes all aspects of the Customised Version necessary to enable and accredit the Facilitator to use the material immediately.

The fee covers the programmed two day arrangement. It is preferable when the Core and Going Deeper Training days are run consecutively, that participants attend both days. If that is not feasible or is not available, you can attend the Going Deeper Training day within 12 months from the Core Training workshop, as advertised on this website.

The Going Deeper Day is a follow-up and consolidation day. It includes skills training and practice opportunities for working with feedback techniques and workbook exercises. The day covers selected content and processes relevant to working with step-families, mature age couples and conflicted couples.

It may be taken when registering as part of a programmed two day arrangement, or if that is not feasible or is not available, on a day to be selected (within 12 months) from the Core Training workshop, as advertised on this website.

The Core Training Day is a prerequisite to the Going Deeper Day.

Who may train to administer the inventories?

Persons working with couples (eg. marriage celebrants, educators, counsellors) who already have formal training as a –

  • Pastor/priest/minister/rabbi.
  • Counsellor/Psychologist
  • Educator
  • Social Worker
  • Worker trained in another relevant human resource discipline

and –

  • Lay people, who also have training in the above areas, nominated by, approved by, and supervised by and accountable to leaders of the institution (eg. clergy, pastors, priests) within which they will work. We are prepared to train such individuals and couples but they need to be selected and nominated with care.  Just because they are church members and have participated in a PREPARE/ENRICH program as part of their own preparation for marriage is not a sufficient qualification. It is important to consider their knowledge and skills.
An Early Bird Discount of 10% is available if you register and pay up to 30-days prior to Facilitator Training.
 

Please refer to full the terms and conditions including the cancellation policy here: www.prepare-enrich.com.au/terms-conditions

comment Add Comment

Text, Twitter, Tweet… Cyber bullying is most likely to occur behind a closed door

A recent study claims that there is anecdotal evidence of parents needing to lock away their children’s devices for fear of midnight video watching, texting, and gaming.

According to the Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016 – we are fast becoming (if not already) an always-on mobile society. Our addiction to our favourite device and the apparent need to check regularly and respond instantly must be in response to our growing fear of missing out or perhaps our love of being always-on.

Here are some tips:

  1. No technology in the bedroom. The number one recommendation from experts in addressing cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is most likely to occur behind a closed door.

For children, this obsession can start early but needs to be tackled by parents to ensure good habits are learnt and distractions from mobile technology don’t impact negatively on their health and learning abilities.

Reference:

Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016: http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/tmt-mobile-consumer-2016-final-report-101116.pdf

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf