The Multiracial Family: The Carters Case Analysis
A multiracial family is one where the parents have different racial backgrounds, and thus their offspring is biracial or multiracial. According to the Minority Development Model, multiracial families might discover several concerns related to their identity. A child experiences self-appreciation concerns, parents might find concerns with unequivocal appreciation, and the whole family risks struggling with group depreciation (Sue & Sue, 2016). The Carters are an example of a multiracial family as Sarah is African-American, her husband is Scots-Irish, and their son James is mixed-racial. Their main concern is that 10-grade student James identifies as African-American, and denies the other part of his heritage. James needs to understand that race is not a critical factor in being a part of the community. Moreover, Sarah requires counseling as she bothers her son’s behavior and has concerns regarding her mother with the demand for looking after her while four brothers could take care. Sarah discovers discrimination as the only woman among her brothers.
The biopsychosocial characteristics of a patient must be considered throughout the consulting practice. Gender and age are necessary for choosing the right method of communication. Socioeconomic status disclosures the life conditions of a person, and shows to which community they belong. Cultural background vastly impacts life and has to be discussed with a patient. Lastly, a consultant must examine if a person is a sexual minority representative because it affects self-image and group identification.
While working with a multiracial family, all of the characteristics listed above are important. The cultural context of family members can help understand their decision-making choices and actions. At the same time, their affiliation with a particular social group reveals their values, and economic status shows the opportunities of a family. Suppose there are same-sex parents in a multiracial family, or a child is an LGBTQ community member. In that case, a family might be severely affected by social prejudice, and these issues have to be separated from multiracial ones.
Applied to the Carter Family, the considered characteristics assisted in finding the roots of their problems. Awareness of their cultures helped to examine the historical background of their ancestors and identify their moral values. The socioeconomic status showed that the child’s education is essential, and can be defined as the reason for Sarah to worry about her son’s friends of lower status, with whom alcohol, drugs, and hip-hop style usually correlate. It was important to consider the child’s age and gender because these characteristics define his actions and choices. Sims et al. (2018) claim that “relationalities to black peer groups take on a specifically gendered form for black Mixed-Race men, seemingly despite differences in a national context” (p. 64). Thus, the consulting sessions that consider James’s characteristics can help Sarah stop worrying about his behavior.
Racial and cultural development models to work with diverse populations divide the development into five stages and reveal the main concerns and attitudes of their representatives. Approaching these models is an active counseling practice, as it shows the behavioral roots of problems. A counselor might also take benefit from the model in evaluating the progress of a patient. However, there are limitations, as these models of development include only general stages, and do not regard the biopsychosocial characteristics of a patient.
The racial identity development model effectively worked with the Carter family. It helped to identify the stages of self-appreciation and attitudes of the family and each of its members. James was at a different phase from his parents and required appropriate counseling. The relationship inside a family improved because the identity model explained the motivation of James’s actions, as well as helped parents to gain an understanding of a multiracial background influence on their son. The important limitation concerning the Carter family is that these models do not consider the other conditions of a person’s life. Thus, the deficiency decreased the level of counseling impact on Sarah as it could not assist with her mother and brothers. The extended part of the family represents diversity as well, and identity development models do not consider an individual’s family background. To overcome this limitation, Sarah was counseled directly to deal with her issues as a part of the African-American family, where she was the only daughter. It helped to discover the stage of her identity development, and choose the right way of helping.
The most appropriate strategy to resolve the conflict in the case of a multiracial family is to use the psychoeducational approach. It is necessary to give an understanding of the reasons for the actions of family members, so they appreciate each other and will not argue. The strategy to educate the Carter family will effectively improve their relationships. It will help Sarah to accept that her son is multiracial, and if James is educated about diversity with its good impacts, his self-acceptance will increase, eradicating the basis for conflicts. The strategy is frequently used while counseling the minority representatives, and it confirms the efficiency of the psychoeducational approach.
The promotion of optimal wellness is a part of the counselor’s profession and includes such strategies as a healthy lifestyle, emotional intelligence, and responsibility for the atmosphere in a family. Counselors must be aware that stressors affect multiracial clients differently and must strategically cultivate interventions considering health implications for particular types of racial stressors (Franco et al., 2020). The strategies highly recommended to the Carter family are to live healthily and to behave consciously in the family. It is appropriate because, at James’s age, emotions are difficult to control, and the environment of acceptance and care will help him reach the emotional balance. Furthermore, the calmer James is, the fewer conflicts appear inside the family, and these conditions are perfect for achieving optimal wellness.
Franco, M., & O’Brien, K. M. (2020). Taking racism to heart: Race‐related stressors and cardiovascular reactivity for multiracial people. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 48(2), 83-94. Web.
Sims, J. P., & Joseph-Salisbury, R. (2018). “We were all just the black kids”: Black mixed-race men and the importance of adolescent peer groups for identity development. Social Currents, 6(1), 51-66. Web.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2016). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. (7th ed.). Wiley.