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Darling & Turkki 2009

Darling & Turkki 2009 - A Publication of the...

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C AROL A. D ARLING Florida State University K AIJA T URKKI University of Helsinki* Global Family Concerns and the Role of Family Life Education: An Ecosystemic Analysis We surveyed colleagues from 4 international professional organizations involved with fami- lies in order to examine global family concerns and the role of family life education from an ecosystemic perspective. Our sample represented 6 continents and 50 countries. Survey results indi- cated that family education and related course- work were available in all continents along with considerable public interest in family education. International public concern about family issues was related to population characteristics, values related to parenting and childrearing, interest in family and health legislation/regulations, and public interest in family, parent, and marriage education. Because of globalization, today’s families live in a world that is complex, interconnected, and con- tinuously evolving because of changes in the economy, environment, technology, and migra- tion (Stiglitz, 2007). Global impact also occurs when regions experience the ravages of environ- mental disasters, war, and terrorism that affect families worldwide, as they deal with not only the physical and emotional pain of the actual acts of nature and terrorism but also the fear and despair that encompass them. World health issues are also paramount as various countries are facing the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, along with the distress about containing the emergence of new diseases (Adams & Trost, 2005). Further- more, because of economic globalization, work-family issues are becoming increasingly important. There have been greater pressures for workers to accept lower wages, longer hours, and fewer benefits, or companies will move their factories to another country. Thus, countries are not implementing family-friendly policies to help families balance work and caregiving responsi- bilities (Heymann & Bunim, 2006). This results in widening demographic, economic, political, and ecological disparities; societal concerns related to the role of women, purpose of marriage, and increasing divorce rates; as well as interna- tional migration and a disconnection of family members between their nuclear and extended families. Some families maintain communica- tion, but quality time is lost and family members are not present for significant family transitions, thereby losing important contacts over time. Globalization involves the process by which experiencing everyday life is becoming standard- ized (Moran, 2003). Thus, it is important to pro- mote a global consciousness about families that involves personal and public concern about (a) becoming aware of how interconnected the world is and how our actions are linked to family and environmental well-being; (b) having a breadth of knowledge about the world and the systemic Department of Family & Child Sciences, Florida State Uni- versity, P.O. 3061491, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1491 ([email protected]).
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