Code of Ethics for a Family
The family unit can be considered or looked at as an organization, with a leadership structure and interpersonal relationships and even peer relationships. Interactions are many, and communications may flow from either vertically (from parents to children or vice versa), horizontally (between colleague, child to child and parent to parent) or diagonally, from family member to a non-member. To enable easy and smooth interactions, below a guiding code to govern the actions of each person towards everybody else is necessary. This is an example of one such a code, for a family.
- General Guiding Principles
As a unit, there are those fundamental guidelines, whether explicitly stated or simply implied, which will guide the actions of every member of the family, including non-members who associate with the family. These guidelines or principles enable proper lines of action to be determined by every party involved, after internalizing them over time. We borrow a leaf from Family therapy: A systemic integration. ( Becvar, D. S., &Becvar, R. J. (2012). To get some general principles
Every member should be joined to the others by tenets of true love, not just of feelings but also the willingness to be there for other at all times. Love is the greatest gift throughout the universe and should be expressed to all, observing all relevant parameters. Even outsiders should be partakers of the same.
- Positivity in Thoughts, Words, and Deeds
In order to serve as a good example this family ought to, the actions and deeds of every member should be filled with positivity. Since actions are manifestations of the contents of one’s mind, positive thinking should also be a pillar, and this will guide the words one speaks and ultimately the actions.
- The Art of Sharing
The differences in our lives in terms of abilities are here to stay. Even if no one lacks, it is more enjoyable to have company as all the parties involved commune together. This will strengthen the bond among all the members involved. Sharing is also an extension of love to the less fortunate and if it is to be practiced, it will have to start from the rudimentary levels of the society, the family. They sat charity begins at home.
- Futuristic Living
It is important that everyone in the organization of family embraces the reality of the present and prepare for tomorrow. Opportunity favors the prepared and so on has to always have a plan for the future, not living like there is no tomorrow even if it is not assured.
As members of an organization that is supposedly a miniature society, the family members should operate with a greater mind picture than just oneself. Think beyond the self and be accommodating. The platform presents a golden opportunity for learning interpersonal relationships which should be utilized and not taken for granted.
- Interpersonal Relationships
Since the family is a composite unit, the different members will need to interact in a defined way, which ensure an exemplary living. These relationships could be between/among spouses, among siblings, between parents and children, et al.
- a) Core Values
These are the set parameters that dictate the course of action and behavioral tendencies. They help in distinguishing right from wrong vis-à-vis the family goals. These are discussed below.
Everyone including outsiders deserve some respect and should, therefore, be accorded such as it ought. The children are to respect the parents, the spouses are to respect each and respect the children too should show each other respect. All those that associate with the family will have to be respected.
- Forgiveness and Reconciliation
In the event of a misunderstanding between any parties, all affected should be to forgive and be forgiven. Let no one take a difference too far, be ready work out an amicable solution within the shortest time possible. Also, everyone should always be ready to mediate if need be.
iii. Unity and Belongingness
All parties should always be proud of their identity and should strive to make each other feel loved and belonging. The bond between each other should be guarded jealously by all.
- b) Responsibilities
Rogoff, B., et al, (1975), in Human Development, gives us a good example of how it should be regarding responsibilities in families.
- i) The Parents
The parents/ spouses have a duty to one another, they should be ready to fulfill their duties and obligations to one another. As seen in the obligations and responsibilities of parenthood ( Archard, D. (2010). the duty of upbringing the children in the best way possible is also vested upon them.
- ii) The Children
As Rogoff and colleagues state, the children should also be involved in the sharing of responsibilities. They should, however, be given responsibilities that are overbearing, depending on their capabilities.
Application of the code
This code of ethics is meant for the members of the organization (family) and anybody else who, by association or otherwise, becomes a party or part of the same. Anybody else with a vested interest in the ethical behavior that this code defines can also ascribe to it.
Steps for implementing the code
After drafting the code, I would need to first test and fix it. When it is ready, some few steps will be followed to implement the final code.
- Communication and Awareness Campaigns.
This should be done without ceasing to engage the members and create awareness of the process of decision-making with ethics. The leadership will serve as an example, to “teach by practicing”
- Supporting context and culture
This will involve taking action against those who defy the code and communicating such action takes to all members, to create awareness of what happens in the case of deliberate erring.
- Monitoring and accountability
Every party should be held accountable for their actions. Third parties will be involved in helping strict adherence, by reporting wrongdoing or irresponsible and skewed behavior by the members.
- Training and reinforcement
As part of the awareness creation process, discussions will be set up and even have experienced trainers to educate the members concerning the code.
The litmus test
The satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the members in adhering to the code and their freedom of expression concerning the same will tell if the code s working or no, prompting the necessary adjustments.
The need for an ethical Code despite the Existence of the Law.
The law exists as a general guide to the actions of people existing in a certain region, community or nation, where such a law is applicable. It is useful in keeping order within the said locality. However, different organizations have different goals which will require distinct modes of operation to achieve. As long as such modes conform to the law of the land, then each organization truly needs and deserves its own codes of ethics, for the attainment of organizational goals.
Adams, J. S., Taschian, A., & Shore, T. H. (1996). Ethics in family and non-family owned firms: An exploratory study. Family Business Review, 9(2), 157-170.
Archard, D. (2010). The obligations and responsibilities of parenthood.
Becvar, D. S., &Becvar, R. J. (2012). Family therapy: A systemic integration. Pearson Higher Ed.
Rogoff, B., Sellers, M. J., Pirrotta, S., Fox, N., & White, S. H. (1975). Age of assignment of roles and responsibilities to children. Human Development, 18(5), 353-369.