Family issues take the form of two different focuses. One's current family and one's Family of Origin.
- First, parents understandably get concerned with how their children are doing. If their child is having difficulties they wonder about how to approach those challenges in a way that's effective.
- So, questions about parenting, parenting in relation to a child who is having difficulties or conflict between one or more children can bring people to therapy.
- It's always difficult for us to see our part in it as parents. As we get concerned, we monitor our child's behaviour more, as we monitor more we see more. We get anxious from what we see and monitor more, the child gets anxious from being monitored and doesn't function as well which only serves to promote more concern and more monitoring of behaviour. And round and round it goes.
- That child is on the path to becoming the identified problem, but their behaviour may be the product of the emotional system.
- How do you slow the process and manage yourself effectively in the face of it all?
Secondly, the focus of family issues can be on one's "family of origin."
- This takes the form of either issues from the past that still create problems (abuse, alcoholic parents, losses, etc.) or current issues between adult family members that are playing out in the family emotional system.
- Family Systems Theory would postulate that we all carry a certain amount of "unfinished business" as we grow up and then move on from our families of origin. We each have some emotional "fusion" or "stuck togetherness" that impedes our ability to be ourselves and function autonomously.
- Of course, certain kinds of events or family dynamics contribute to some of us being more "stuck" than others and this contributes to problems in our lives. But, we are all on that continuum somewhere, no one escapes it completely. - This may lead to a health issue, a personal issue, family problems or potential conflict in future relationships.
"The human family displays the characteristics of a living system.
The unit is flexible and fluid. For the family, the question is not whether individuals respond to one another, but how they respond."
"The implications of such a view are far-reaching.
Behaviour may not be the only product of relationship. The health of each family member may be directly related to the functional state of the family unit."
~ Dr. Dan Papero
"It's as if family members are living under the same emotional skin."
~ Murray Bowen M.D.
Family of Origin Issues
Family Issues & Parenting
- I don't think in terms of "dysfunctional families" since no family functions 100% and, thus, the term is a misnomer.
- It's not so much a question of "is your family functional or dysfunctional?" but rather,
- "HOW does your family function and how do YOU or others function within it?"
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
óLeo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina