How To Understand Your Family Dynamics And Encourage Resolution

by Sheri

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What Role You Play in Your Family And Why It Is Important To Understand Your Family Dynamics

Today, I want to help you understand your family dynamics and why family members have roles.
It doesn’t matter whether your family is big or small. Family dynamics are the interaction between family members, and also applies to the different relationships that can exist within a family. When you understand your family dynamics, it will be easier for you to understand how your family functions.

Once that is clear, you can build better family relationships.


Understand Your Family Dynamics: Factors and Influences

Help you understand your family dynamics. family putting their hands together in unity falimy love and time together

Many factors play a role in the dynamics of a family. The dynamics from earlier generations can trickle into the current family. Environment, culture, location, and socio-economic factors play key roles in how family dynamics are maintained.

Other considerations and influences:

  • How many people live in the home
  • Extended family such as grandparents, aunts
  • Single parents, or step parents
  • Lenient or strict parents
  • Personalities of family members
  • Stay at home parents
  • Morals and values
  • Cultural backgrounds
  • Personal and family experiences
  • Communication within the family

How Labeling Can Help You Understand Your Family Dynamics

Help you understand your family dynamics. little girl smiling, happy child, happy kids,


Parents label their children. Why? I do not know. It seems to be a ‘thing” parents do. At least the parents of my generation. Labels given to children stick. These labels can help you understand your family dynamics, and how it can continue with you throughout your life. Roles in families are often assumed.

You might be the reliable one, naughty one, the loud one, funny one, or the quiet one. Your role can influence others expectations of you and how you behave.

Children can change and develop but labels stick. This can make it hard for children to leave behind negative reputations and start afresh. They can get stuck in their role and find it hard to get others to see a different side to them.

We all have several sides to ourselves, and are not, the one label we are given.

Labeling anyone is never the right things to do. I have been given my fair share of labels, most I did not like.

Help you understand your family dynamics. family and siblings spending time together, happy kids,

6 Common Labels Children Are Given Within A Family

The Perfect One

This child is the “perfect child”. Is from the heavens and can do no wrong.
Is responsible, respectful and successful. Family members and outsiders view this person as capable, conservative, serious, trustworthy, and strong. The label has made this child fall into the role of always being great. When this person makes mistakes, it is easy to gloss over it. After all, this child is a joy to any mother and father.

An achiever, though not always the oldest child. Often a workaholic who can identify and meet the needs of others but is without an understanding of their own needs. This is often a child who uses their success to find a sense of belonging — the one who shows the family everything is “all right,” but who is unable to feel the benefit of his/her achievements.

Negative Effects: Fear of failure, loneliness, anxiety, and anger.


The Family Scapegoat

The Scapegoat is the “problem child” or the “troublemaker”.
All the family’s problems are dumped on this child. This child helps the family take the focus off the real and deeper issues as they the family has someone to blame for everything.
Scapegoats often hear things like, “why do you always do X?”, “you are X!”, “if you didn’t do X…..”.

Parents tend to belittle, insult, and shame this particular child.
Can a black sheep get a break? No.

Sometimes their problems are caused by family dynamics, and their behaviour can be a symptom of a problem in the family, not the cause.

Negative Effects: hurt, fear of trust, rejection, hopeless, blame, and betrayal.


The Absent Child

Dare to dream. This particular child stays away from drama and confrontation. Often spends time alone and goes with the flow. Children that are in this role are often isolated. They like to go unnoticed so that anger is not directed at them.

Also, they will latch on to a family member that likes power, control, and even manipulation.

Negative Effects: Loneliness, anger, sadness, fragility, and confusion.


Have you been labelled any of the above? Are you beginning to understand your family dynamics and how you might have been affected? There are still a few more roles to explain, so let’s continue.


The Joker

The goal of the family joker is to lighten the mood and entertain. The joker is usually one who seeks attention through jest and play. Some children that are jokers can also be very needy and immature.

Negative Effects: Confused, needy, dependent, not taken seriously.


The I Can’t Be Bothered Child

This child is somewhat of a floater. Never quite grounded and doesn’t become too attached to their goals and heart’s desires. This child knows that things can change from one moment to the next, and finds themselves having to constantly adjust to situations. They might have a feeling of not being considered when decisions are made about the family, and about them as an individual.

Negative Effects: worry, isolation, pain, fear of change, dependent.


The Bully

Oh, my! So the bully is a child that finds it hard to transition. They see themselves as victims of other people’s actions and behaviour. They are never responsible for the negative things that happen to them. It is always someone else’s fault. Also, the bully is arrogant and has a huge ego. The bully might at times feel bad after hurting someone else, but this feeling of sympathy or empathy lasts only for a very brief moment. They bully will continue to manipulate and inflict pain on others rather than facing their own pain.

Negative Effects: manipulative, egoistic, playing the victim, plotting against others to get their way.


There Is Some Good In All This

Help you understand your family dynamics. little boy adn his grandfather,family dynamics, happy and loving extended family

Ok, so most of these roles and family dynamics do not sound uplifting and encouraging, I know.

However, when you understand your family dynamics, and the roles and labels of your siblings and family members, you will gain insight on what makes them act the way they do. Some children may be a little of a mix between the two.

We tend to carry these labels and roles into adulthood. These labels can affect who you are and what you become. The type of person you are, what profession you choose, and how you treat people.

An adult child may have several of the above characteristics at one time, or may play a different role within the family at different times or depending on who they are responding to. The way your family treats you and responds to you in your early years and all the way through your teen’s impacts how we see ourselves later in life. Our interaction with the world and self-perception is a reflection of this.


How Do I See Myself And The World?

Experiences shape our lives, right? So when we grow up and become parents ourselves we either want to model the same household we had growing up, or we want to do it completely differently. Sadly, many of us will unconsciously begin to repeat the same patterns we learned as children.

I love to keep my home decorated with these little family reminders.


Our understanding is correlative to our perception. – Robert Delaunay


Change Is Good

Help you understand your family dynamics. family putting their hands together in unity fmily walkng togeher on the beach

When you can step outside of yourself in order to see things from a different, non-judgemental perspective, you will be able to make changes.

Change things in your life you do not like. Reflect on your family values and the things you hold dear. Make changes to the things you don’t want a part of. Labels can play a lasting role in self-esteem, behaviour and personality.

It will be tough at the beginning, but you need to do what’s right for you.

Words have power. Telling your child that he or she is lazy and will never achieve anything in life, is likely going to set the stage for a child to be just that.

Giving your child encouragement, and letting them know you love and support them because you have the confidence that they can achieve success, will also steer that child in that direction.

If you’re struggling with family dynamics or are experiencing poor communication in your family, you might want to consider consulting a family therapist.

I have heard way too many people say, “I would never go to a therapist!”, or “What the hell can a therapist tell me about my life that I don’t already know?”

The answer is A LOT. You can learn so much about yourself. Therapy can help you handle emotions from problems or stressors, even if they aren’t dramatically life-altering or traumatic. Therapy helps you manage your emotions and learn to see things from a different perspective.

 What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are. – C.S. Lewis


What Else Can Therapy Tell Me About Myself?

Only 30% of communication is through speech. The rest is non-verbal communication, such as voice tone, eye contact, body posture and actions. You can use therapy to communicate underlying feelings and meanings.

How to make proper eye contact, keep your voice steady, and relax your body posture and actions in order not to come off as aggressive.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” Harvey Fierstein


understand family dynamics and deal with resolutions

Communication and Listening Skills

Having good communication skills will help you understand your family dynamics by being both a good communicator and listener. Have you noticed that when you are really listening to another person, you tend to stop what you are doing and look at the person directly?

These skills will help you agree to disagree. Having good communication in a family does not mean you will agree on everything. Far from it! However, you will listen and communicate your views to one another in a more respectable manner. You will not be quick to judge or take offence to the opinions of others. It does not matter if you are an only child, have ten siblings, a step-dad, half-sister, or an adopted cat. Communication should always be open and positively oriented.

“Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.” – André GideClick To Tweet


Create Your Own Happily Ever After

Help you understand your family dynamics. couple hugging, their own appiy ever after

We are all capable of change, and therefore family dynamics cannot remain the same forever.

Are you stuck in your role and label in your family? Step out of your comfort zone and do something about it.

Your family may not want to see you for the real you or be open to experience your authentic self.

That is just fine, create your own story. Be the real you and those who love you for it will see that.

Those that matter will love you flaws and all.

Families are individuals forced together through blood, involved with each other not by choice, but by birth.
Personalities will clash, opinions will differ. Learn to deal with each others’ levels of growth, maturity, goals, wants, and needs. Everyone is an individual with different ideas and views.

This world would be boring if we all were programmed the same way.

It is essential for families to have open communication. When there are disagreements, it’s important to consider the other’s views and try to reach a compromise. A happy family is loving, accepting and non-judgmental.

It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George EliotClick To Tweet

Have you been labeled by your family? Do you understand your family dynamics? What is your role?

Share you thoughts with me in the comments section below.

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Crystal Gareau January 1, 2018 - 10:57

This post resonates well with me on so many levels. It’s full of great information and its very helpful. AS I was reading each label, I could see myself agreeing, saying oh this is just like my kid. It was very eye-opening.

Rakhi Parsai December 14, 2017 - 02:26

I couldn’t agree more with you that understanding your family and each member is the key to have a strong family that is happy and lives happily together. Labeling is something that even I am against and it should not happen at all as it leaves good and bad marks both, bad more I guess. Very very nicely written post it is on a subject that we usually miss.

Jillian December 12, 2017 - 00:37

This really is such an important topic. For years I didn’t understand my family dynamics and it really can cause issues. As an adult, it makes much more sense. lol. I love my family. I am thankful I understand our dynamics better now. 😉

Diana December 10, 2017 - 20:47

Great post, Sheri! Love so much your style of writing!
By the way, I saw the family reminders in your post. Never thought about buying something like these, but it’s so amazing! I’m gonna do it when I’ll have a family!

Chasity December 10, 2017 - 20:09

I enjoyed reading this article. After reading the different labels, it is kind of hard to pick what my children are because all three have exhibited or still exhibit some of the different characteristics.

Jamie December 10, 2017 - 19:09

I’ve never thought about family dynamics quite like that. I love looking at each individual child and how to look at their strengths and weaknesses and change your behavior to break out of that stereotype.

Stefanie December 10, 2017 - 11:59

I loved where you said “words are powerful”. It’s so true. I give my son daily affirmations because I need him to know that he is powerful and smart as he grows up

Afroza Khan December 8, 2017 - 12:41

What a wonderful article. I feel like it’s always a learning process to understand and better the family. People are always evolving and changing.

Sudipta Dev December 7, 2017 - 12:25

I am so glad you highlighted this issue – it gets more complicated when there are large extended families living together, which is common in a country like India. Interestingly, my own observation has been that often the blacksheep surprises everyone after growing up. He /she turns out to be the most successful and is there for the family.

Sneha Lodha December 7, 2017 - 07:12

I agree with you by judging and labeling the children we are only discouraging them. Even the children with perfect label might find it hard to share problems with anyone as their life was supposed to be perfect which is not possible.

oyibo December 6, 2017 - 00:48

Hmm! Very insightful and informative post. Labeling is never a good thing because it sometimes divides the family, it makes some kids feel less important and some feels too important and even those that feel important sometimes lives in fear of the ones that are seen as the backship of the family.

Tara December 7, 2017 - 22:57

I don’t know where my first comment went but again, I love this post. Labeling never leads to anything beneficial!

Monica December 5, 2017 - 19:42

This is such a thoughtful post! It me think about my family and the early years! It was really really interesting and helpful post! Thank you for sharing! ❤

Tara December 5, 2017 - 19:36

this is so interesting and thorough. I love all of this advice!

Julia Elizabeth December 5, 2017 - 19:35

Such an important topic and I really enjoyed reading how you approached it 🙂 I’m the only girl of 4 children so I often felt misunderstood and excluded from a lot of the sports and video games.

thestyletune December 4, 2017 - 11:48

This was sunch a thoughtful post, made me think about my family dynamics and labels as a child!

Stephanie December 4, 2017 - 11:06

What an interesting post. Labels can be really negative but the family set up is complex and hard to get right sometimes x

thestyletune December 3, 2017 - 20:27

this was such a unique and thoughtful post, encouraged me to understand mine!

Globalmouse (@globalmouse1) December 1, 2017 - 21:21

This is so thought provoking and is really making me think whether I subconsciously label. It’s so important not to do this.

Cătălina Nini December 1, 2017 - 20:56

I am always stunned of how beautifully your blog post are: clean, clear and always educating. I haven`t been label in my family, maybe because I was the first child. But I do believe labeling can create problems.

Patricia G. December 1, 2017 - 17:41

I agree that labeling others has many negative impacts. One thing I learned about when people label each other–even those outside their family, is what Mother Teresa once said: If you judge someone, you have no time to love them. How true that is! I also agree about seeing a therapist. Mine has been very helpful to me, and has helped me to slowly overcome my depression.

Made Adayasa December 1, 2017 - 14:35

A very informative post . I don’t know where to start to comment , we are just two in our family . Married for almost 6 years but we don’t have children yet . Only me and my wife living in one house .

kirstyralph11 December 1, 2017 - 14:08

A very though provoking post. The family dynamic is a complex and tricky one to get right sometimes but I like how you’ve identified issues and brought them to the attention of others. I think change is always good and whilst it can be difficult to start it’s worth doing in the end. Being encouraging to not only the children but your partner will go a long way to happiness.

emilynncaulfield December 1, 2017 - 05:53

Interesting topic to think about! Labeling in general has always felt strange to me, I never understood why we needed to label each other or ourselves. Why can’t we just be? Lovely writing, very powerful messages in this. Thanks for sharing this with me! ♥

alisonrost December 1, 2017 - 05:30

I’ve seen families label people so often and every time it makes me sad. Who among us are the same people we were when we were fifteen, or even thirty? I still think back to some of the labels that were given to me when I was younger and even though many of those people aren’t alive anymore, I realize how much I was definied by the things they said I was (or wasn’t). Great food for thought. x

Afshan Nasim December 1, 2017 - 01:07

Labelling someone is never a good thing, almost as judging one book because of its cover isn’t either. People can change and/or can go through phases. Also people can have bad experiences in life. So putting a label isn’t a good one.

Sheri @ A Busy Bee's Life January 1, 2018 - 11:17

You are right Afshan, because people change, grow, evolve, just as we are supposed to, so labeling someone to give off a negative impression of them is terrible.

eliza December 1, 2017 - 00:11

Again and again Sheri, I enjoy reading your post. I can say, because I feel that – I was labelled as an achiever to our family – because in early age they saw me excel in my academics and other curricular, active and strong. And yes, you’re right I’ve been to some fears like rejection and failure. Though thru time and experience, with God’s help I have learned to over come it little by little. But I myself, may not adapt the labeling culture as possible to my future children – not really a big fan of it.

Claire Bear December 1, 2017 - 00:06

Definitely meaningful and strong post. Labelling can happen with you knowing, and I think labeling one another can judge them right away from people not knowing them. It’s great to raise the awareness for this.

beautyqueenuk (@beautyqueen_UK) November 30, 2017 - 22:01

I am definitely the absent child for want of a better label, though I do live a few hundred miles from my whole family x

Vlad Vaida November 30, 2017 - 21:24

Such a great post, loved it! Labeling kids is a very bad thing as of its often ineffective and may trigger other problems as anxiety later on in life due to the pressure they are put on.

Rhian Westbury November 30, 2017 - 10:25

I do agree that good communication skills are a must and it’s what you need to have a good family relationship x

Kaz & Ickle Pickle (@IcklePicklex) November 29, 2017 - 22:24

This is such an interesting read. I am a single mum to four and I am thinking about our dynamics now! Kaz

Akamatra November 29, 2017 - 22:07

We became parents 17 months ago. We have been reading about child psychology and one of the things we swore to never do is label our daughter. We’ve been labeled by our parents and we know not to do it to our kids!

Sheri @ A Busy Bee's Life January 1, 2018 - 11:15

That is one of the best things you can do for your child self perception and emotional development. Congrats on your little one.

Sarmistha Goswami November 29, 2017 - 18:32

A very thought provoking, meaningful post. It is indeed important to understand your own family. Thanks for sharing.

Anna November 29, 2017 - 14:54

Interesting read! I used to feel I was the black sheep of the family but as i’m growing older and wiser; I realizing it’s upto me to make changes and labels don’t hold me back to do the things I want to do and achieve in life.

Sheri @ A Busy Bee's Life January 1, 2018 - 11:14

Yes Anna, that term/label “black sheep” has always been something I have disliked. You do what is right and best for you! xoxox

Rachel November 29, 2017 - 14:43

Lots of interesting points – I was always labelled the quiet one, and I think it became self perpetuating. Because I was labelled as such it encouraged me to continue those behaviours, I grew in confidence over the years though. My partner and I are interested int herapy, not because we feel we have a problem, but because we feel liek it could be a real learning opportunity and a place to grow and learn to appreciate each other even more.

Sheri @ A Busy Bee's Life January 1, 2018 - 11:13

I agree with you Rachel, many people think therapy is only for people with “problems and issues”, but therapy is also a way of seeing things from different perspectives and growing as a person.Good choice!

Ana De-Jesus November 29, 2017 - 01:08

I agree, labeling is never ok and you are right in saying that labels can stick, which can have a negative affect on a child’s perception of themselves. This was an interesting insight into family dynamics.

thesparklenest November 29, 2017 - 00:09

Such an interesting post, thank you for sharing. My children are still so young, but I will bear this in minds they grow older and their personalities start to come through more.

Sheri @ A Busy Bee's Life January 1, 2018 - 11:12

Hi, I think that will be a great idea. My little one is two and a half, and his personality is coming out nicely. 🙂

Amalia November 28, 2017 - 17:52

OMG, you are so right! We grow up with this labels and I don’t understand why! It should not be like that in my opinion and it’s good to be the change you want to see in the world, it starts with us, right? So at least with my kids I”m breaking this ‘traditions’!

Sheri @ A Busy Bee's Life January 1, 2018 - 11:11

Oh absolutely, if you break the tradition now, it is unlikely that your kids will label theirs. I would never label my son, I believe in speaking positive affirmations and helping a child grow and learn,not doing things that could damage their future.

John Adams November 28, 2017 - 13:48

I am so glad you mentioned step parents. I am a stepson and steprelatives are often overlooked (especially male ones, although I think we can thank Disney for that!). I also found what you said about labelling children very interesting. It can be very damaging.

hobbisl38 November 28, 2017 - 13:24

I so agree with you on the problems of labelling in general. I think labelling someone as a bully, for example, does absolutely nothing to address and deal with the problematic behaviour.

Sheri @ A Busy Bee's Life January 1, 2018 - 11:10

So true! Yes, they are behaving like one, and the act is also being carried out, however, just giving someone that label will do nothing for them to help alter their actions. Often times, it only makes it worse.

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