Leonora and Joshua are having disagreements about Leonora returning to work after staying home with their child, Christa, who is now 3 months old. There is constant rejection and retaliation as Leonora demonstrates anger by yelling at Joshua. Joshua continues expressing his opinions about the cost and care of day care centers and wants Leonora to wait until Christa is 5 years old and starts kindergarten. Leonora feels that if she is out of the workplace for 5 years it will be extremely difficult for her to re-enter and will have to start her career from the beginning and move backwards with salary and benefits. They both feel stress because of the economic pressures as well as freedom to continue the lifestyle that they were accustomed to before Christa arrived.
Tension and conflict continue and this problem is unresolved. Your assignment is to work through this conflict in three positive ways by using the information from your readings and lecture. Under each positive solution, you must outline what both Leonora and Joshua needs to say or do to work through this problem. Given the scenario, your role and the information provided by the key players involved, it is time for you to make a decision.
Leonora and Joshua were experiencing many changes in their family life and workplace. A new baby fitting into their home, family, and work, and then there was Mark, Joshua’s son from a previous marriage. Mark is now in the preteen stages and will soon be celebrating his 12th birthday. Many discussions on parenting and the differences of raising a newborn and a 12-year-old carried further, and sometimes lasted days. There were days of silence, no communication, and no effort to resolve these problems. Communication was difficult and emotions were at a high level of disturbance for both parties. Physical and emotional stress was taking over their intimacy and they constantly disagreed about work, expenses, school, day care, family, and returning to work. One of the most difficult topics was work and family. Leonora realized that Joshua was faced with problems at work, divorce difficulties, and not receiving an increase in salary for the past two years due to the recession and economy. This certainly did not help their marriage. She was receiving her benefits from work as family leave and childbirth, but decisions had to be made about work and family. These differences of opinion led to many boisterous expressions, sabotage, and sleepless nights.
- How do we learn to listen actively?
- What are the major sources of conflict in marriages and families?
- What are the various conflict management strategies that people use?
- What are the most productive conflict management strategies, and how can we implement them in our families?
- What is the difference between destructive and constructive conflict?
- How do we learn to make decisions about child care?
- How do we share jobs, roles, and responsibilities?
- What decisions do we have to make about a two-career marriage and a two-earner marriage?