The White Family
Meet the White Family [Image 2]
The White family lives in the suburbs of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a threebedroom home. Walter and Skylar are married and have a disabled teenaged son, Walter Jr., with one daughter on the way. Skylarâ€™s sister, Marie Shrader, and her brother-in-law, Hank Shrader, live in Albuquerque as well in a neighborhood right down the street from the Whites. Their immediate families have a close relationship and see each other often throughout the week for family dinners and shopping. Walter is diagnosed with inoperable, advanced lung cancer, but does not tell his family. Using his skills as a high school chemistry teacher, he decides to begin manufacturing methamphetamine (meth) to secure his familyâ€™s finances after his death. His secrets create suspicions between him and his family members, particularly with Skylar. Walter eventually decides to reveal his diagnosis to the family, which unfortunately causes further conflict and stress as they attempt to agree on his course of treatment. The relationships between Walter and the family are continually strained as his secret meth production progresses.
Walter White Walter (Walt) White is a 50-year-old overqualified, underpaid high school chemistry teacher and loving husband and father. He feels obligated to provide for his financially insecure family, working full time as a teacher but also picking up shifts as a cashier at a local car wash after his classes. After being diagnosed with stage three lung cancer, Walt devises a plan to create financial stability for his growing family and pay him and his son’s medical bills. With his scientific background, dedication to quality, and help from a previous student (and now partner), he produces a distinctive blue color crystal meth that dominates the market. Although Walt strives to live an honest life, the numerous dangerous and illegal situations that he finds himself in warrant excuses and absences from his family. Skylar, and even Walter Jr.’s suspicions about his second life, causes distance and mistrust in their relationships. As Walt’s life in the criminal underworld progresses, it spawns levels of repressed rage and increasing heartlessness— alienating him from his family.
Skylar White Skylar White is Walt’s 43-year old pregnant wife who struggles to find a stable source of income. She has several meager side jobs writing short stories, selling items on eBay, and working as a bookkeeper. Skylar has a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law, frequently keeping them up to date with family affairs. Skylar cares for Walt a great deal, but with his recent unusual and absent behavior, she becomes increasingly irritated and guarded. As Walt continues to try to reunite his family, Skylar progressively separates herself from her relationship with him. Skylar also struggles to hold her composure and maintain a civil relationship with her adolescent son, Walter Jr.
[Image 4] Walter White Jr. is a 15-year-old teenage boy with cerebral palsy, manifested in speech impairment and motor control difficulties. Walter uses crutches to aid in walking, and attempts to learn how to drive despite his disabilities. Although Walt and Skylar try to conceal their fighting and disagreements, Walter Jr. can sense the tension and anger. Walter Jr. becomes frustrated by his parent’s arguments, leading him to act out and establish his independence. He demands being called “Flynn” and starts rebelling at school. He avoids communicating with his parents, but after finding out about his dad’s diagnosis, his attitude changes and he sets up a website to collect donations to help pay for the cancer treatment.
Walter White Jr. [Image 5]
Stage III Lung Cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. People who smoke have the highest risk of contracting lung cancer. However, lung cancer can also occur in people who don’t smoke—as in Walter White’s case. Risk factors include exposure to smoke/radon gas/asbestos, smoking, and a family history of lung disease (Mayo Clinic, 2018). Typically, symptoms of the cancer don’t appear until the late stages. The symptoms include a nagging cough that doesn’t go away, coughing up blood, chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, and hoarseness. Pain will also typically occur as the cancerous cells spread to the linings of the lungs and bones. Shortness of breath occurs from fluid accumulating in the lung space around the lungs (pleural space) causing a pleural effusion (Mayo Clinic, 2018). Tests to discover the tumor include imaging tests (chest xrays, etc.), and sputum and tissue sample analyses. Stages of lung cancer range from 0 to 5, with 5 being the most severe. At stage 4, the cancerous cells have metastasized to other organs of the body. Therefore, Walter’s stage 3 lung cancer has not yet spread to other areas of the body, but aggressive treatment at this time is warranted to ensure the cancer does not progress. Treatment options depend on the stage, but can include surgical removal (wedge/segmental resection, lobectomy, etc.), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, immunotherapy, or palliative care (Mayo Clinic, 2018).
Duvall According to Duvall’s eight stages of family development, the White family is at the fifth stage: families with teenagers. Duvall’s stages are according to families with children, specifically with regards to the oldest child. In this case, the Walter Jr. is the oldest child at age fifteen. Walt and Skylar attempt to balance Walter Jr.’s freedom with responsibility as he continues to mature. They also strive, but struggle, to maintain communication with him and create a supportive home base. Walter Jr. is still living at home attending high school, but he will eventually be moving out to go to college. At this time, the family will transition to Duvall’s next stage: families launching young adults (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, Tabacco & Hanson, 2015).
Family Culture & Religious Traditions v The White family does not have any religious affiliations v Their family culture is culture is built upon respecting, loving and supporting one another. Although at times these values are not upheld. v Family meals and meetings. Skylar’s sister and brother-in-law join frequently for family meals since they live close by. No other family is in the picture v The family is not seen doing many other activities together inside or outside the home
Family Strengths Family Weaknesses v Caring and devotion to one another v Support from their extended family v Humor and laughter v Intelligence, with everyone having their individual talents v Bringing new life into the family as Skylar is pregnant
v Financial instability with increasing medical costs v Two family members with chronic diseases v Secrets, lying, suspicions and excuses leading to fighting and tension v Walt involves himself in dangerous situations which could cause harm to the family
Family Communications The White family’s lack of honest communication is their weakest quality. Walt strives to have quality conversations and include Skylar and Walter Jr. in his day-today activities. Deep down he wants to communicate to Skylar that he is involving himself in illegal and dangerous activities in order to create financial stability for the family. But, he knows if he reveals to them the details of his habits they would disapprove and not understand his actions. Due to Skylar’s increasing suspicions, she tends to be passive aggressive in her actions and words. Walter Jr. feels as though he is being excluded from knowing the details of the family, causing him to close off and not communicate his feelings. When he does express himself, he tends to lash out in an angry tone.
Family Assessment and Intervention Model The Family Assessment and Intervention Model focuses on how families respond to stress by creating lines of defense and resistance. It is important in this model to build on the family’s strengths, as families are ever-changing systems interacting with the world around them. The stressors have the ability to challenge and/or penetrate the family’s lines of defense— throwing them off balance. From there, adaptation and reconstitution are critical for the family in order to regain their strength (Kaakinen et al., 2015). In the case of the White family, Walt’s illness has penetrated the family’s lines of defense causing a need to adapt. Walt has turned to manufacturing crystal meth behind his family’s back in order to make enough money to provide for his family’s needs. Skylar has taken it upon herself to work any possible job to earn money. The dynamics surrounding Walt’s illness has subjected the White’s to constant stressors. According to this theory, it is important to identify the White family stressors. Not only has Walter Jr.’s illness caused financial and emotional instability, but also the added stressor of Walt’s diagnosis has taken the family over the edge. The ongoing stressors surrounding two chronic illnesses in a family have made it difficult for the White’s to use their strengths and lines of resistance. Due to this, family communication and trust has suffered. Despite being bombarded by stressors, the White family has a few strengths including caring for one another, family mealtime, and help from extended family. By using these strengths wisely, the family can adapt and reconstitute to restore their stability (Kaakinen et al., 2015).
Interventions 1. Facilitate open family communication and obtain each family member’s perspective (Kaakinen et al., 2015). • •
All family members will participate in an open discussion and feel comfortable verbalizing their true feelings regarding Walt’s recent diagnosis and its effect on each family member. Walt will express his true feelings/wishes regarding his course of treatment and make steps towards telling his family the truth and reasoning behind his actions Skylar will focus on confronting her issues with Walt in a mature manner All family members will feel heard, validated and understood.
2. Integrate psychosocial professionals into the oncology care in order to positively influence the wellbeing of the patient and family (Portella, Silveira, Silva, Tarouco, Kohler, & Krüger, 2016). • • •
The White family will use coping skills when feeling stressed, sad or scared. The family will recognize their strengths and use them to develop problem-solving techniques and improve family processes The White family will have access to counseling, support groups, and community resources.
3. Include psychospiritual avenues for the family to explore to ensure every physical, psychic and social dimension of the individual is addressed (Portella et al., 2016). •
Walt will demonstrate a willingness of increased hope by having a positive outlook on his prognosis Skylar will attend spiritual support meetings to maintain her sanity Walter Jr. will seek out and maintain relationships with his friends at school
References Kaakinen, J., Duff-Gedaly, V., Hanson, S. & Coelho, D. (2015) Family health Care nursing: Theory, practice and research (5th ed.). F.A. Davis: Philadelphia. Mayo Clinic. (2018). Lung Cancer. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20374620 Portella Ribeiro, J., Silveira Cardoso, L., Silva Pereira, C. M., Tarouco Silva, B., Kohler Bubolz, B., & Krüger Castro, C. (2016). Nursing care in oncology hospitalized patients: diagnosis and interventions related to psychosocial and psychospiritual needs. Revista De Pesquisa: Cuidado E Fundamental, 8(4), 5136-5142.
Picture References [Image 1]. Retrieved from https://girlslikegiants.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/breaking-bad-against-family/ [Image 2]. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F %2Fwww.slantmagazine.com%2Fassets%2Fhouse%2F2932%2Ftv_breakingbad0213.jpg&imgrefurl=http %3A%2F%2Fwww.slantmagazine.com%2Fhouse%2Farticle%2Fbreaking-bad-mondays-season-2-ep-13abq&docid=kndU8glnEofcZM&tbnid=YGlZE7sy8-ZwrM %3A&vet=10ahUKEwj9qfD74uDZAhVDxGMKHb2ABMsQMwg8KAcwBw..i&w=1920&h=1080&bih=703&biw= 1280&q=breaking%20bad %20family&ved=0ahUKEwj9qfD74uDZAhVDxGMKHb2ABMsQMwg8KAcwBw&iact=mrc&uact=8 [Image 3]. Retrieved from http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Walter_White [Image 4]. Retrieved from https://www.salon.com/2013/09/29/why_flynn_is_the_real_hero_of_breaking_bad/ [Image 5]. Retrieved from http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Skyler_White [Image 6]. Retrieved from http://www.sickchirpse.com/bryan-cranston-is-a-nutter/ [Image 7]. Retrieved from https://www.marketplace.org/2013/09/27/wealth-poverty/income-upshot/walterwhites-cash-high-school-teacher-meth-kingpin [Image 8]. Retrieved from http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/File:Season_2_-_White_family.jpg [Image 9]. Retrieved from http://gottawatchit.com/tv/television/breaking-bad-5x11-confessions-get-out-ofjesses-way/
Published on Mar 13, 2018