Personal Life History Paper
In assignment you are asked to reflect on your own family and how family interactions/relationships have shaped your life, identify the family forces that have helped shape the person you are today, and to consider key turning points or experiences in your life that were formative in shaping who you are.
-Understand how specific family interaction patterns and events in family life influence family and personal identity and relationships. (e.g., storytelling, rituals, ways of showing intimacy, conflict management).
-Understand how family communication and patterns of interaction shape one’s values, beliefs, world view, and behaviors. Understand yourself, your connection with the world around you, and the importance of family history.
-Analyze one’s family interaction approaches and patterns to determine how these helped shape the person you are today
– Demonstrate linkages between family history and patterns of interaction/behavior have influenced you and your family (of origin or your created family).
-Critically analyze the impact of family events on identity and world view by linking significant family experiences with content from the course. This is where your genogram and other assignments can inform your personal history.
-Discuss what role family interactions may have had in influencing the person you are becoming today (e.g., the major you have chosen or the field you wish to pursue, your values, goals)
-Articulate the insights gained about yourself or your family through this life-history reflection exercise.
1. Make a list of 10 significant events that have occurred in your life. Include some that involved your family in some way. Order your list in chronological order by year/date it occurred, placing the date in parentheses after the listed event. For each item on your list, provide a 10-15-word description of each event. Include your list at the END of your paper.
2. From your list choose one event that involved your family to write about. In your paper, reflect on how this event impacted and shaped who you are – your views/values/beliefs/behaviors. Describe the event/experience/encounter in enough detail that the reader gets a clear picture. Describe what
happened, when it happened, and who was involved. (This section should be no more than 1 – 1.5 pages)
3. After describing the event/experience/encounter, analyze the situation (this section is the most
important part of your paper). In your analysis, write about how this event/experience/encounter
impacted and shaped your sense of self, your paradigm or view of the world, and your values, beliefs,
a. Incorporate into your analysis appropriate concepts from this course. Use the genogram and/or
other assignments to inform your writing.
i. For example, if the event you are writing about involves divorce, it is appropriate to
make linkages between concepts such as conflict, power, stress and coping (an others
that may fit your situation). If the event involves secrets or storytelling, draw from
concepts relevant to those topics.
b. Reflect back on your genogram to see if generational patterns or significant events in the past
might have an influence on how you and your family responded to it. Consider how patterns in
earlier generations might influence the communication patterns in your family relevant to your
i. For example, if your family experienced a major stressor in past generations, how did
that affect how they dealt with your situation? Is there a pattern of divorce in past
generations? Is there a pattern of mental illness? Substance use disorder? Does your
genogram represent resilience in your family?
ii. What impact might these patterns or information revealed about the outcome of the
event/experience/encounter on who you are (beliefs, values, world view, behaviors,
sense of self)?
4. In a brief paragraph, discuss the role that your family played in your decision to attend college and your chosen major (or, if you are undecided, in the areas of focus you are interested in). If your family had no impact on these decisions, talk about why that might be. Incorporate concepts such as decision making, power, autonomy etc. in your explanation.
5. In the final section of your paper, answer the three questions below in an integrative way.
a. How has completing the life history paper helped you to better understand….
i. Your own sense of self, beliefs, views, values and behaviors?
ii. Your family history and/or communication processes and their impact on you?
iii. The direction you want your life to take in the future (i.e., where you are going)?
1. Correctly follows instructions. Be sure to follow each of the steps outlined above.
2. Analysis: Does the writing demonstrate adequate depth of thought or analysis? Are adequate terms and concepts from the course integrated into the writing?
3. Quality of writing. Is the writing organized and easy to follow? Are spelling or grammatical errors
detracting from the story? Is there a logical flow to the paper? Does the author write in a concise and easy to follow manner?
4. Citation and referencing. Does the author properly cite the text when referring to concepts? Is there a reference list? Note: For this paper you only need to cite the textbook.
1. Provide a unique “catchy” title at the top of the page in bold. This is your “heading” for the page.
2. Provide your name, ID, date of submission, course name and instructor on a cover page (see examples paper in Canvas under “resources”).
3. Use APA style: see APA Version 7 Resources in Canvas
a. You may use the following typed double- spaced fonts: 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or 11-point Arial.
b. Your paper should have 1-inch margins all around (note that most word processing programs are set at 1.25 for their default).
c. Follow APA rules for inclusive language, grammar, economy of expression (concise writing), and
citation when necessary.
All information you include will be confidential and treated as private (with the exception of illegal activities). You are responsible for deciding what you reveal. As you know from earlier class assignments, sometimes reflecting back on family processes and events can be difficult. I encourage you to write about an experience that you feel you can handle. If a situation is a trigger for distress, then it may not be the best topic to write about. My hope is that this paper can be a fun way to pull together concepts from class while also learning more about yourself and your family. If you have difficulty writing a personal history because of family experiences, please talk with me and we can find a solution together.
Upload your completed paper to Canvas, with pages in order as specified above.
Personal Life History Paper
Personal Life History Paper
1. My high school graduation (June 2017)
2. My big sister’s wedding (December 2019)
3. My grandmother’s death (November 2016)
4. My big sister’s graduation (June 2014)
5. My small brother’s birth (January 2005)
6. Family trip to Europe during summer vacation (August 2018)
7. Thanks Giving Holiday (2013, November)
8. The reunion with my uncle (My Mother’s brother) (January 2020)
9. Covid outbreak during social distancing period (June 2020)
10. Funeral of Joe (Former Highschool classmate) (February 2019)
My elder’s sister wedding back in 2019 has been the most profound event in my life since it had a major impact on my general wellness at the time and has worked to reinforce the fragility of life and the importance of family and friends. This was the last time I got to spend truly meaningful time with her, and since then, we both have never had the time together for ourselves. Up to this point, my sister had been my best friend; we had spent most of our childhood together because my younger brother was rather young, and as such, we did not have many relatable things to do. She went to pursue her undergraduate in an institution near our home, and in all this period, she was always around and available for me and my needs as well as I was for her. We became increasingly close, even after she got employed and moved. Her move out of the house was among the last times; we would come to spend time as a family the way I had always figured we would. She moved to another city in the hopes that the job was temporary and that she would come back, but in this city, she met her future husband, and things became serious quickly. She introduced her to our parents at around the same time I was finishing high school, and after a short while, they had already planned for their wedding. While growing apart was inevitable, I had not expected the change to be this drastic, and it impacted me heavily, as she now had a whole new life with new friends, and we would only talk once in a while. Her wedding day was the first event that the larger extended family had come to our hometown and the last our nuclear family ever spent together, lasting only a week. The event was generally very ordinary, but she was getting married and moving to another state. I was joining the school in a different location as well. My father was now working on the road meant that only my small brother and mother would be at home at any given point, essentially transforming our childhood home into a deserted place; my mother always mentions that the wedding was the last time she saw all her children in one place.
Growth is inevitable, and the social structures that we have depended on for emotional, physical, and social support are bound to change. This is an important aspect that I have come to learn, as well as the role of my family in my childhood is bound to change as I transition into adulthood. While I cherish these moments and the ability to form meaningful bonds, connections, and interpersonal relationships, I always knew a day would come when we will always have to part ways but still maintain the relationships we have. The uncertainty that change brings is particularly the hardest to deal with, as one never knows how different their life will be in a couple of years, whether they will have the capacity to maintain the same relationships they have now or whether they will have different ones. The wedding and its implications have made me very apprehensive of starting new interpersonal relationships with people at this stage in my life; I have come to value smaller companies of friends, as opposed to larger groups, I have come to define friends relative to the event that we share in common, and also come to cherish the role of my family in my upbringing and mentorship. My family’s transition to this new stage in life has been equally stressful, especially for my parents. Key characteristics I have observed are that my father, who did externally show any emotional affection, started being more open to using affirmative words and started frequently calling to talk to me and tell me about his day. This has allowed for a greater interpersonal connection with him. My mother, on the contrary, has been less talkative, exhibiting stress, which she mostly attributes to being tired, and she has been increasingly complaining about how we are never home. My youngest sibling rarely calls or talks to anyone and appears to be more connected to his friends from school. All these seem to be their coping mechanisms to the changes in life.
[Genogram: My Family Tree]
The experience of sibling marriage as a stressor of family relationships has been a recurrence in older generations. This can be seen on both sides of the family. Generally, after the wedding, the aunt, sister or mother, moves and becomes closer with the uncle’s brother inlaws or father’s family, respectively. This often results in the unintentional reduction of ties with their maternal family members in favor of their adopted as a culture generally dictates that a female relative joins the male side of the family, which in most cases has been the family she is marrying into. The resulting event is a gradually diminishing contact with their blood family as they try to become acquainted with their new family and, in this event, lose their tie with them. My father’s side of the family has been very close to us, and we practically know most of the members, but this is not the same for my mother’s side. This is why I met my mother’s brother for the first time in January 2020, aside from when I was young and could not remember. My sister’s marriage is also perpetuating this phenomenon as she has been more inclined to where she married than where she grew up.
The need for better social and public planning is a constant that has played more heavily on my conscience than it has for others around me. This has been critical in pointing me towards my major. Still, the most important inspiration comes from my parents, who have always stressed the attainment of education and worked to ensure that we all get the education we deserve. My father particularly has been my biggest inspiration regarding education, having attained his postgraduate just when I was joining high school. They played a major role in my decision-making process, sending me to a variety of counselors and educators and enrolling me in short courses that would better guide me in trying to situate my specific major.
Up to this point in my life, the family unit has been the single most important contributor to my development, informing on my perception of social processes and interpersonal relationships, and emotional wellness. They have cultivated a sense of responsibility in me and allowed me, albeit indirectly, to develop a sense of independence. The personal history paper has allowed me to develop meaningful connections of the world I live in and create a deeper understanding of how the family cultivates and perpetuates social relationships. I will seek a closer relationship with my parents and siblings after marriage, but that is not any time soon. I seek to concentrate on my education and develop a foundation for a robust career at the moment while maintaining closer family ties.