Dysfunctional/Functional Families


The term “dysfunctional families” carries the connotation that the family is not functioning as it should.  The functioning family conceptually consists of a Mom, a Dad and one or more children in which the parents provide for the children’s needs and everyone “gets along”.  It used to be that it was the Dad who went out to work and “brought home the bacon” and Mom stayed home to cook, care for the children and generally maintained the home as a bright loving space for everyone.

We all know that World War II changed that and women entered the work force to help provide for the family when the men went to war.  Currently, working Moms tend to be the accepted norm and women have generally struggled to juggle family and work responsibilities.  This situation creates challenges for couples and when there is no co-operation between them, there is discord and perhaps a subsequent breakdown in the relationship.

 A breakdown does not have to occur and the family does not have to function according to an image that was created in a time when life was less complicated than today and when there was no question as to the role each family member was expected to fulfill.

 To me a “functional family” is one in which the adults or adult provide the necessities (food, clothing and shelter) for themselves and their charge (children) in a safe, warm environment for everyone. Each member is allowed to reach their potential – through education or work or recreational or other pursuits – with encouragement and support from the other members.  The members care for each other and respect each other and demonstrates this caring in words and deeds.

What does a “functional family” mean to you?

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