According to Dr. Kartika Sari Dewi, S.Psi., M.Psi., Psikolog., Lecturer of Psychology at Diponegoro University, family is the first and most important relationship, which plays a crucial role in determining individual mental health and family welfare. Family Structure Theory explains that the existence of a father, mother and children is an ideal structure that supports the functioning of the family to achieve its welfare (family well-being). Family functioning that can accommodate the basic needs and coping of its members in making adjustments to self and environmental demands is considered an indicator of family welfare.
Furthermore, Dr. Kartika stated that the reality shows that there has been a shift in the trend of family structure in almost all over the world in the last five decades due to the development of the concept of single parents, one of which is divorce. The phenomenon of divorce in Indonesia continues to increase every year, which has an impact on increasing the number of families of single mothers. The impact of divorce is not only felt by the mother, but is also believed to affect the welfare of the child. On the other hand, Family Systems Theory (FST) understands divorce not as a pathological condition in family life, but as a transition in family development.
“The research that I present is a fundamental development in Family Systems Theory (FST), which previously only explained that the quality of interaction within the family is the core of the family to be able to continue to function. It has not yet been explained how the pattern of dynamics of functioning of an incompletely structured family in terms of welfare has become the basis for the preparation of this dissertation. The argument is that family welfare can still be achieved by families with incomplete structures due to divorce. The two studies that were conducted attempted to provide an explanation that it is not the family structure that is the key to a happy family, but the quality of the interactions between its members. The uniqueness of this research is in the mother-child perspective as a family system unit that experiences structural changes after the divorce,” explained Dr. Kartika.
The first study reveals a picture of the welfare of post-divorce single mothers who are the head of the family, as well as internal factors that support in facing post-divorce challenges. The second study focuses more on the dynamics of family interaction, social support, and the role of post-divorce fathers in facing the challenges of an incomplete family in order to achieve prosperity. Both of these studies use a qualitative method perspective, which emphasizes the depth of data in understanding the psychological condition of mothers and children, after the mother’s divorce.
“Empirical evidence reveals that divorced families can have the opportunity to achieve prosperity when they have protective buffer conditions in the form of financial independence of the mother, openness in interactions and positive relationships between fathers and children, being proactive in seeking social support, and positive spirituality in the mother. The concept of maternal gate-keeping plays a key role in the quality of post-divorce family interaction.
Other findings also reveal that the role of post-divorce fathers is still needed in providing positive relationships with children. Even so, divorce still has a psychological impact on children related to the meaning of family, gender schemes, differences in perceptions of extended family support, and the emergence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE),” conveyed Dr. Kartika. (Lin/Arbi – Public Relations)