Posted: May 25th, 2022
Family Management Styles Framework (FMSF) was originally developed to help families caring for a child with a chronic illness or chronic condition (Knafl, et al., 2016). However, the Family Management Styles Framework can be extended to address family functioning in other situations. Applied to my own family, the FMSF offers insight into how we might handle an unforeseen situation in which a family member were to be unexpectedly diagnosed with a chronic condition. In fact, the FMSF can offer a family like ours, which typically does not suffer from crises, a means by which to prevent and plan for unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, the FMSF can help families build resiliency.
We are a close-knit and happy family consisting of me, my husband, his parents, and our two children aged 6 and 8 years old. The Family Management Styles Framework can help my husband and me, and also my in-laws, in developing the coping mechanisms and crisis management techniques that would be most effective in our situations. Should anything happen to our young boys or to us, I would want my in-laws to possess the most effective and evidence-based frameworks with which to address the issues in a competent manner. Likewise, I would like my husband and I to recognize how the FMSF applies to us and how it can help us with daily life and also for managing difficulties.
One of the parameters of the FMSF framework is the degree to which the family can be considered family-focused or focused on the condition in question (Knafl, et al., 2013). As we do not have a specific condition but rather, a hypothetical condition, it is impossible to provide an immediate assessment of our situation. However, we demonstrate a family focused attitude and behavioral patterns given the way we address other issues. For instance, we came to a consensus that it would be beneficial to all of us to live in an extended family situation instead of separate from my in-laws. Even though many other families in the United States choose to live in a more nuclear setting, we determined that our family would be better off with the children having the benefit of a strong relationship with their grandparents. Likewise, the extended family setting benefits my in-laws.
Family management is itself a concept that directly refers to the ways parents manage all the facets associated with a child’s chronic condition. The specific issues could be psychological in nature, or they could be related to the acquisition of knowledge and information. Therefore, the FMSF helps families like ours identify role differentiation and role clarity. Our gender roles and norms in the family might come to the surface as we explore applying the FMSF. Is one parent focused more on certain aspects of the condition than the other, causing conflict or communication difficulties? These are the kinds of issues the FMSF model can help us to identify and understand. Even families like ours, which experience relative harmony and minimal conflict, may confront difficulties when a chronic condition impacts members of the family. It is important to understand role dynamics and the most effective ways to mitigate communication problems in order to ensure ongoing relationship health and personal health too.
When families are family-focused, like ours, we demonstrate significantly better coping mechanisms and problem solving skills, which can lead to improved outcomes for the child or adult impacted by the chronic condition (Knafl, et al., 2013). The Family Management Styles Framework offers a nonjudgmental approach to understanding family dynamics, applied to specific situations involving ongoing chronic conditions. Although it was developed to address the needs of families with children enduring chronic conditions, the FMSF can be easily applied to situations involving aging parents. Balancing the demands of work, or in my case, education, with caring for the needs of the family, can prove challenging but a framework like this can illustrate points of strength and opportunities for change.
Knafl, K., et al. (2013). Patterns of family management of childhood chronic conditions and their relationship to child and family functioning. Journal of Pediatric Nursing 28(6): 523-535.
Knafl, K., et al. (2016). Family management measure. UNC School of Nursing. Retrieved online: http://nursing.unc.edu/research/office-of-research-support-consultation/resources/family-management-measure-famm/
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