Perez case study
According to the age-stage approach to personality, almost all people undergo a period in life, which is called midlife transition. It has been defined as the re-evaluation of various life aspects, associated with the realization of time limitation and the approaching death. The main challenge of this period is to cope with disillusions about the dreams and goals, which have never been achieved. The second question to answer for the people during midlife transition concerns the future life strategy, which often involves marriage challenges and maturing children. The result of the transition is often the decision about the future course of actions, which can either maintain the previous life structures, or introduce changes, such as divorce and switching jobs. If these changes are not reasonable, it is possible to talk about midlife crisis, rather than simple transition (Colarusso, 1992).
According to Erikson the main task of Maria and Luis at the stage of midlife transition is “generativity” or the attempt to create better conditions for the new generation. Unless this aim is pursued, people are likely to fall into “stagnation”, or the phase of self-indulgence (Nevid, 2007). Following generativity motivation, Luis and Maria move to the U.S. in order to change their life and to provide a better future for their children. However, their midlife transition period did not only include relocation, but also a number of other challenges, which were described by Levinson. Thus, the death of Ramon increases the pressure on Luis and brings up thoughts about inevitable death and life limit. Health problems aggravate the situation and create the atmosphere of instability and life fragility. Maria, on the other hand, has to make another life-changing decision: her late pregnancy in the atmosphere of financial hardship and uncertainty is less than desirable. Moreover, both Maria and Luis are concerned that their generativity task is not fully accomplished, since they cannot provide their children with the best opportunities. Thus, the fact that Rolando has to give up college and to take responsibility for the whole family makes both Luis and Maria feel their guilt. This situation is likely to affect their self-identities, lower self-esteem and to create the sensation of hopelessness and failure.
Moreover, since Luis and Maria are the most influential members of the family, due to their age and position, as well as they are the only providers, the crisis in their lives has negative consequences for the family as a system. The goals of the family members diverge with every new challenge, creating major communication problems, while Luis and Maria fail to perform their coordinating roles in the family, to exercise power and to make decisions (Thomlison, 2010). Therefore, the future unity of Perez family mostly relies on the ability of Maria and Luis to take charge of the transitions in their lives and to bring together various interests in the family.
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Nevid, J. S. (2007). Psychology, concepts and applications. (2nd ed.). Boston, MA:
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Thomlison, A. (2010). Family assessment handbook, an introduction and practical guide to
family assessment. (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.