The following sets of demographic differences were selected: one stay-at-home parent/dual career and secular/religious. In the case where one of the parents is a stay-at-home parent the following issues may need to be addressed: how the stay-at-home parents feels; potential lack of self-actualization for the stay-at-home parents; financial issues and how they are addressed; whether the stay-at-home parent feels isolated due to spending most of the time with the children. When it comes to the working parent, it might be that he/she feels overworked and overloaded with responsibility. In addition, when only one of the parents works, issues of dominance and subordination (especially, from a financial perspective) may cause discord.
If both parents are working, they may encounter issues in regard to who earns more, how the family budget is distributed; their working schedules may impact who gets to spend more time with the children. Full-time jobs could get in the way of spending quality time with each other and the children. In any case, for each of these scenarios it is crucial that each party expresses his/her concerns and is heard by the partner; following this, potential solutions to existing issues need to be sought during the therapy sessions.
When it comes to the secular/religious category, if the couple is secular, I would presume that their social network could be more diverse, but it could also include fewer people (yet, not necessarily). As the counselor, I would aim to explore the extent of social support that the couple gets from their community. If the couple is religious, they could potentially have a wider support network, given that church communities are rather tight-knit. I am paying special attention to this aspect, since for parents of young children (and especially same-sex couples) it is highly important to have a strong support network (Goldberg & Smith, 2011). In each of the abovementioned cases, I would aim to find out how the couple’s worldview (secular or spiritual) affects their relationship and childrearing; either way, religious or not, each couple has a set of values and principles that guide them in their family life. It is crucial that the couple agrees on these values.
- Goldberg, A. E., & Smith, J. Z. (2011). Stigma, social context, and mental health: Lesbian and gay couples across the transition to adoptive parenthood. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(1), 139-150.