A Functional Family

Is family happiness for real? Can family life really be described as “fun”? Attitudes, conflicts, personality differences, and outside stresses can all be factors to make family life less than idealistic. Yet some would say:

“Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song.”

“Family…like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”

With family life challenges described as “low notes” and “different directions”, is it possible to keep functioning with fun, love, and unity within the family? Isn’t everything supposed to run smoothly, everyone get along, and nothing ever go wrong? To be honest, no!  There is no “perfect” family in which everything is always fun and everyone always gets along!

Yet, despite the myriad of situations that call for instant solutions within the family, at the end of the day, after the battles of disagreement calm and the dust settles, we can learn to acknowledge, value, and even celebrate the differences between family members. Each actually can contribute to the common good of a functional family!

How does the functional family allow for differences, and autonomy? How does the functional family strengthening each member’s gifts, talents, and passions? How does the functional family implement a consistent structure with family rules while dealing with the differences and conflicts?

Consider incorporating some of these Characteristics of Functional Family System:

  • 1.)Problems are acknowledged and resolved.
  • 2.)The five freedoms are promoted: the expressions of perception, feelings, thoughts, desires, and fantasies.
  • 3.)All relationships are dialogical and equal.
  • 4.)Communication is concrete, specific, and behavioral.
  • 5.) Family members get their needs met.
  • 6.)Family members can be different. Allowing for each to have autonomy is key. Find each other’s strengths and assets. This will be crucial to establishing a solid working relationship.
  • 7.)Parents do what they say. Children WATCH what their parents DO, not what they SAY. Be careful! You will get caught and then must be prepared to own up to the incongruence with your family member. Making amends, models appropriate accountability,  and it is a great teaching moment, while offering healing and connection to one another.
  • 8.) Family roles are chosen and flexible.
  • 9.) Atmosphere is fun and spontaneous. Laughter heal many things and provides an opportunity to see thing in a fun and loving spirit.
  • 10.) The family rules require accountability from every member. This especially includes the adults.
  • 11.) Mistakes are forgiven and viewed as learning tools.
  • 12.) The family system exists for the individual. The family can either edify or tear down each member.

Consistently implementing these characteristics can produce a functional famiy. Yes, family fun can be real!

Need to talk? Our counselors are flexible with their schedules and some even work weekends! Call us right now at 972-234-6634. We’ll return your call within 60 minutes (really!), or you can schedule an appointment using our online appointment system. We do look forward to meeting you.

Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.