Understanding Normal and Abnormal Behavior

Topics: Behavior, Family, Mental disorder Pages: 8 (2284 words) Published: February 8, 2011





Abstract The purpose of this study is to better understand the difference between normal and abnormal behavior in society. Everyone has their own perception of what is normal and what is abnormal and live their lives accordingly. The purpose here is show that there is no definite way of living and that we each live by guidelines that are formed by society and are forced onto us, which we then force onto others. In the never-ending quest for success and happiness, families are bombarded with information about how a supposedly normal family manages. Everything from raising children to resolving conflict to how often people should make love seems to be compared to somebody's idea of the norm. I also discuss the meaning of disruptive behavior in society which sets the ground for distinguishing normal and abnormal behavior.



Introduction Human behavior is different all over the world. Society is different and therefore different things are expected of different people. Most people live according to what they believe is expected by their society and culture. People believe that in every culture there is a „right‟ way to live and a „wrong‟ way. There is a perception on how people should live, work, where they should work, why they should work, what they should eat, where they should, where their kids should play, go to school, what they should study…etc. It‟s as if there is this „life handbook‟ being handed down from generation to generation which has ALL the answers. Apparently every culture has one and EVERYONE knows it by heart and expects everyone else to live accordingly. People don‟t get along, there is constant conflict between who has to have what and everyone believes they are right. Where do we draw the line between normal and abnormal human behavior? Who is right? How can we ourselves differentiate between the two so that our lives don‟t start and end in conflict? The answer is to better understand what normality and abnormality really is. The importance of having answers to these questions lies in the fact that the wider our perception is on normality and abnormality the more tolerant we are of each others‟ behavior, ideas, and life choices. Instead, most cultures have developed widely used views on is accepted and what is not, leaving very little for individuals to decide on for themselves. Each and every event that has taken place in our lives has left an imprint on our psyches. We reflect on these imprints, what we know as memories, and develop our own personal theories. When these ideas and choices clash with those of what is accepted by society, the term “abnormal behavior” seems to show its face.



One of the first things to understand is that normal is not a synonym for stable. Normalcy is ever changing. What is considered normal today will soon be replaced by what is normal in the future. Because people determine what is normal, every time societal values change their opinion of what is normal will change. The family has changed profoundly over the past 50 years. What was considered normal barely a generation ago may be viewed as quaint or hopelessly outdated. Notice how the structure of American families has fundamentally shifted in recent years: "The idealized norm of the modern nuclear family has given way to a multiplicity of family arrangements . . . The 1950's model of the White middle-class nuclear family headed by a breadwinner-father and supported by a full-time homemaker-mother is currently found in only eight percent of U.S. households. Dual earning has become the norm for married couples . . . Through the influence of the women's movement and sheer economic necessity, nearly 70...

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