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Five Tools to Help You Make a Strong, Stable Family

The family plays a crucial role in our growth and development, exerting a significant influence on us throughout our lives. When the behavior patterns of family members align harmoniously, it creates an environment that is enjoyable and empowering. However, there are instances when the family unit fails to function as desired, leading to various frustrations. In a well-functioning family unit, it is essential to foster the proper development of all individuals while allowing each person the freedom to express their unique personality.

happy family

What is a dysfunctional family?

Conversely, a dysfunctional family often experiences a negative atmosphere that can have detrimental effects on its members' emotional and mental well-being. This situation may instill fear in us and lead us to believe that our own families are not functioning optimally. Yet, this perception could be an exaggeration fueled by our imagination rather than an accurate reflection of reality.
Recognizing the signs of a genuine problem is vital, as it allows for necessary changes to be made without worry. So, what exactly constitutes a dysfunctional family? Contrary to the idealized portrayals in movies and TV shows of yesteryear, most families exhibit some level of dysfunction. The milder and more common cases are characterized by a lack of cooperation, solidarity, care, and support among family members. In other words, when emotional or physical harm is inflicted upon individuals within the family unit by others – whether directly or indirectly – it signifies dysfunction. Furthermore, even passive behaviors such as neglect can contribute to this dysfunctional dynamic within the family structure.
In instances where dysfunctional families are at their most extreme, they encounter numerous challenges stemming from various elements. These factors include but are not limited to: having unrealistic expectations, lacking interest in spending quality time together, exhibiting sexism, experiencing a lack of emotional connection (empathy), drawing comparisons between family members, disregarding personal boundaries and limits, struggling with control issues, feeling jealous or envious towards one another. While the term "dysfunctional family" has many definitions, its true nature remains adaptable and can differ from one family to another. Some families may exhibit some of the aforementioned traits, while others may display most of them. T
The key takeaway is that there is no such thing as a perfect family; there will always be obstacles that hinder harmonious relationships within the unit.

To determine whether your family is functioning or not, you need to ask yourself a series of questions. What behaviors, actions, and attitudes within my family do I want to enhance? Are there specific behaviors and actions that currently bother me but were different in the past? While we can't change the past, we have significant influence over the present and future. It's important to realize that you have the power to bring about change. If there are aspects of your family dynamic that bother you beyond what you feel prepared to handle, there is no reason why you shouldn't strive for improvement and create a different outlook.

child crying

How this impacts children

Examining the functioning of your family and making necessary changes is crucial, especially for the well-being of your children. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of dysfunction within the family unit due to their limited life experience and capacity for acceptance and understanding, even as they approach adolescence. Growing up in an environment riddled with numerous or severe problems, as mentioned earlier in this article, can lead children to adopt negative personality patterns.
  • Rebel: A child who struggles not only with parental authority but also with any form of authority - be it teachers at school or commanders in the army - may face labeling as a problematic individual and subsequently develop behavioral issues.
  • Scapegoat: Another damaging pattern is that of being scapegoated within the family dynamic. This occurs when a child becomes responsible for bearing blame for all familial problems. As a result, they develop a deep sense of guilt that may make them an easy target for mistreatment by others in their future relationships. Recognizing these potential outcomes underscores why addressing dysfunctional aspects within one's family structure is vital. By taking action early on and fostering healthy dynamics, we can help our children grow into emotionally resilient individuals capable of forming positive connections with others.
  • Protector: The role of a protector is often assumed by a child who takes on parental responsibilities, causing them to mature and grow up too quickly, without experiencing the carefree years of childhood. This is because they are preoccupied with resolving family issues or acting as a mediator between family members.
  • Lost: When children grow up in an environment that fails to meet their needs, even to a small extent, some may become extremely quiet and introverted. These children learn to conceal and suppress their emotions, leading to self-confidence issues and difficulty understanding that they deserve love and appreciation.
  • Manipulator: A manipulator is another personality pattern that can develop in such circumstances. These children exploit the mistakes and weaknesses of others within the family in order to achieve their own desires. Unfortunately, this behavior can persist into adulthood, leading them into situations where such exploitation is not tolerated.


No parent wishes for their child's future to align with these negative patterns of behavior. Therefore, it is crucially important for families to change how they function both for their own happiness and the well-being of future generations. In order to do so effectively, the following tips and tools can be utilized:

The change begins with us. Here are FIVE TOOLS to help you make that change:

1. Message analysis and caution

If you have come to the decision that it is time for a transformation, the first step is to assert yourself when something bothers you. For instance, instead of escalating into a shouting match, try saying "Stop please. When you raise your voice, it diminishes the respect between us and turns into a competition of who can yell louder. Let's refrain from raising our voices and work together on solving the problem." This statement encompasses three key elements that should be incorporated in any conversation aimed at altering family dynamics: expressing a request to cease an undesirable behavior, providing an explanation for this request, and suggesting an alternative course of action. These formulations hold significant value, particularly if you are leading the change within your family unit; they enable you to articulate and convey its importance without offending other family members.משפחה לא מתפקדת: גבר מפנה אצבע למצלמה

2. Reconstruct your interpersonal connections

In order to gain the cooperation of your family, it is important to mend the relationships with each individual member. It is crucial to remember that relationships are always formed between two people. Regardless of how complicated your history may be or what sensitive topics are being discussed, strengthening your bond with each family member on an individual level will enable you to communicate openly and honestly with them. This, in turn, will help them develop stronger connections with other members of the family.

3. Let go of your ego

In the presence of conflict, there tend to be clashes of egos, and it becomes impossible to mend relationships. The ego drives us to seek control and satisfaction by overpowering others, thus hindering any efforts or strategies aimed at improving a dysfunctional family dynamic. Additionally, the ego fosters stubbornness, defensiveness, and an absence of accountability. Therefore, it is crucial to let go of one's ego and speak sincerely from the heart. When conversing with a family member about the desired change you wish to bring about, emphasize how significant this transformation is for you personally and stress that arguments will only lead to unproductive outcomes. Moreover, make it clear that achieving your goals requires their support throughout the process. Subsequently, ask for their undivided attention without resistance or causing harm while highlighting specific issues that need addressing.woman looks at herself in the mirror

4. Master the art of giving criticism in a calm manner

When we critique others for their issues and errors, we often do so with an authoritative and at times harsh tone. This approach, coupled with our own egos, causes the person receiving the criticism to become defensive and resistant to our message. Instead of demanding that these individuals cease their bothersome actions or making complaints and requests for change, it is more effective to simply point out the problem in their behavior and explain how it impacts the family unit. While it may be difficult, strive to make them feel understood; after all, you are aware of how challenging it can be to admit one's mistakes. Avoid making them feel solely responsible for the problem by carefully choosing your words and expressing yourself eloquently so as not to come across as threatening or overly critical.

5. Love encompasses every aspect

Success in transforming your family requires love, even though it may sound cliché. The positive aspect is that you are not alone in this journey. Even if you believe that your family members don't share the same level of affection as you do, remember that they are still part of the same unit and finding common ground is essential in initiating change.

To achieve this, it's important to approach your family members with a request for cooperation based on love and understanding. However, it's crucial to avoid resorting to emotional manipulation or blackmail tactics. If you think they won't take your concerns seriously or consider them unimportant, think again - you might be surprised by their willingness to understand and accommodate your needs.

In order for meaningful progress to happen, communication plays a crucial role. Opening up about your feelings and vulnerabilities can create an environment where genuine connections can flourish within the family unit. Remember that everyone has their own struggles and being receptive to each other's pain will foster empathy and pave the way towards positive change.

Ultimately, success lies in fostering a loving atmosphere where mutual respect reigns supreme among all family members. Although it may not be an easy path at times, with patience and perseverance significant transformations can occur within any family dynamic.

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