By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
The varieties of family roles.
In a previous post, and we talked about the way dysfunctional families may create roles which take the focus off the dysfunction.
Well-functioning families create functional roles, which change over time.
Healthy families require their members to be healthy individuals. Certainly, two people who have mental health issues or disabilities can come together to create healthy families. What those two people need to do is each work on themselves. Two sick people do not result in a healthy couple.
In well-functioning families, the adults need to assume the adult’s role and allow the children to be children. When the children take on too many adult duties, the structure of the family becomes unbalanced. In dysfunctional families, it is common to see young children rushing home from school to care for their preschool siblings because parents are incapacitated due to addictions.
Children who act like adults too early in life are at increased risk to have children themselves at young ages. Never having the opportunity to play as children, they are prone to engaging in excess adult play. Their idea of how to play as adults often centers around drugs, alcohol, or multiple sexual partners. Children who become adults too soon may have difficulty parenting their own children and the cycle repeats itself.
Functional families teach children adult roles by letting them babysit or performing chores but do not deprive children of their opportunity to be children.
The Partner role – Couplehood.
In healthy families, the adults need to have adult relationships. Partners need to maintain the partner relationship. Adults need time to do things with other adults. Parents need to take care to not talk to children about problems they have with their partner. For a well-functioning family, don’t make one of the children your best friend and confidant. Reserve your closest relationship for your partner.
Plan throughout your relationship for life after children. Children need to grow up and live their own lives. Couples who fail to nurture their partner relationship may find they have no reason to stay together once the children leave home.
The Parent Role.
In functional families, parents don’t try to become their children’s best friends. It’s wonderful to foster a close relationship, but sometimes parents need to tell their children no.
The Child Role.
In a well-functioning family, children need the emotional space to play and develop. Play is not a waste of time. Play allows children to try new behaviors. Pushing children too much to grow up and stop playing can result in children whose emotional growth has been stunted. Functional families do not expect children to be able to do things they are not yet mature enough to do.
Few families are always completely functional. But, Functional families encourage their members to fill appropriate roles rather than dysfunctional family roles.
David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.) Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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