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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
Many factors play a role in the dynamics of a family. The dynamics from earlier generations can trickle into your 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, uncles
- Single parents, or step parents
- Lenient or strict parents
- Personalities of family members
- Stay at home parents
- Communication within the family
- Personal and family experiences
- Morals and values
- Cultural backgrounds
How Labeling Can Help You Understand Your Family Dynamics
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 often 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.
6 Common Labels Children Are Given Within A Family
The Perfect One
This child is the “perfect child”. 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 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 or Narcissist
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
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 two labels.
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. We tend to carry these labels and roles into adulthood.
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. 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
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 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.
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
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.