PARENTS ARE ENTRUSTED WITH SEVERAL TASKS IN RAISING CHILDREN TO ADULTHOOD:
- Teach Them How To Stay Safe And Alive
Parents must first provide safety and security, and then teach those skills to children.
Even the simplest animals protect their babies from physical harm until they are old enough to perform certain survival tasks on their own.
- Teach Them How To Live In The World With Other People
Parents must teach socialization skills (mandated acceptable behavior) so that children can survive as social animals.
Parents model the social behavior they have learned and accepted as the children observe and are included in family rituals and interactions. (watching and doing)
- Teach Them How To Love Themselves
Parents must first show their children that they are worthy of love and self-esteem and then teach them how to maintain it for themselves.
Children learn to love and esteem themselves by being shown by their primary caregivers that they are loved for who and what they are.
Healthy, nurturing family dynamics provide the child with opportunities to learn these lessons. However, many times, life events occur that are out of our control. And, sometimes, parents are not emotionally ready for the job.
Families are dysfunctioned in three main ways: They are abusive, chaotic, or emotionally void or sterile
Normalizing Dysfunction in The Family System:
The family system works like a mobile. It has developed a balance (called “homeostasis”) through the years of interacting. Children struggle to keep that balance, by identifying with their parents and “normalizing” their experiences. Pia Mellody calls this “adaptation”.
“Normalizing” or “adaptation” of dysfunction involves distorting and denying reality. This skewed way of looking at the world leads to a greater chance of misinterpreting all sorts of life events. When people grow up seeing dysfunction as normal, they are primed to pass it along to the next generation.
Unhealthy family dynamics can be found in over 95% of the families today. Does that mean we are doomed? Not necessarily. The greatest damage comes when these dynamics dominate the family environment…when they go on most of the time, day in and day out. A piece of dysfunction here and there is not the danger…it’s the over-all atmosphere of a family’s life.
NOTE: Simply identifying the family dynamics does not absolutely predict outcomes. The constitution of the child is a factor that sometimes defies logical conclusions. Children from the worst environments can grow to become very healthy, well-adjusted people, and some children from the most optimum, nurturing environments can become serial killers.