A healthy family should create and sustain and environment which promotes emotional and physical health and psychological well-being for its members. To fulfill this function, families should know how to nurture, support, encourage, protect, communicate, create boundaries and structure, have fun and work together as a team. What does a healthy family look like? The answer to that may be as varied as there are families; however there are common characteristics that can be found in functional families.
Integrated Theory of Functional Families:
What Works in Families and What Doesn’t Work
“If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable - each segment distinct.” Letty Cottin Pogrebin
In earlier times a family was traditionally thought of as two parents with children, but this is no longer the structure of the majority of the families today. The percentage of single-parent families, step families and blended families has increased significantly over the years. The nuclear family is a thing of the past. What type of family is more functional? A two parent home bringing in two incomes, but no one has time for each other or a single parent who works hard to make ends meet but always makes time for his or her children.
Distinct Roles and Clear Boundaries
“The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.” Kendall Hailey
There is a certain amount of role fluidity in functional families. Clear role definitions are identified as an important characteristic of family functioning and essential for a family's ability to adapt to changing situations. Related to the concept of role definition is the issue of power. Who decides what and how it is decided are indicators of the role structure in the family. From a Minuchin standpoint, within healthy families there is a clear recognition that the parents are... [continues]
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