Friedman (2011) introduces some very interesting theories in the book Generation to Generation. There are many theories including those on family therapy that I would like to learn more about in the future because I believe it could be helpful in a human services counselling profession. However, there are several concepts in the book that I did not necessarily agree with.
One concept that I feel is misconstrued is that of multi-generational transmission. In an example from the textbook, Friedman (2011) suggests that the history of a specific family shows that marriages break up after the first-born birth of a daughter so generations down the line should be cautioned of this so that they may learn to break the multi-generational transmission.
I guess I find it hard to believe that this would be due to the family makeup structure rather individual issues within each couple.
I believe in multi-generational transmission in the arena of generational curses such as addiction, alcoholism, disease, depression, divorce, poverty, etc. However, I find it difficult to believe that the specificity of the circumstances (birth of a firstborn daughter) being the cause of the marriage breakdown in each of the generations.
Therefore, I don’t disagree with the theory of multi-generational transmission; I disagree with the concepts or circumstances in which Friedman (2011) states are the causes that need to be evaluated and differentiated from in the examples he provides in the text.
Personally, I believe that family influences the development of the following generation and therefore, each family member learns its values (good or bad) and characteristics from the generation before including different patterns of sin. This plays a part in the transmission of multi-generational issues.
In the example given by Friedman (2011), the issue being transmitted from generation to generation was divorce/marriage breakdown, but I do not believe that it was due to or caused by the birth of a firstborn daughter.
Therefore, the next bride should be cautioned about divorce being a generational curse in the family so that she differentiates herself from the cycle rather than being told to be aware of marital issues after having a firstborn daughter.
Scripture is consistent with generational curses that are transmitted from generation to generation. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before your life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (ESV).
Generational curses are thought to be caused by rebellion towards God. Addiction has been a generational curse in my family, and I am taking a stand to break that curse off the generations to come. I don’t know exactly where it began, but it has been going on for far too long.
Generational curses or multi-generational transmission does not have to continue; it can be stopped. The scripture says to choose life so I choose life for me and my family that will come after me.
Friedman, E. H. (2011). Generation to generation: Family process in church and synagogue. New York, NY: Guildford Press.