In any relationship, we need to see if the people around us are good or toxic. When there are actual problems within the family, it can be hard to see. Salvador Minuchin, a family therapist, suggests that a healthy family is one that can handle problems. And this depends on whether the proper boundaries have been established within the family. When the gap between parents and children becomes too small or too big, the family type becomes hazardous to everyone involved.
Bright Side looks into family types that are not healthy for anyone in the family.
In extreme cases, one parent is very strict while the other parent is too lenient. The tension between the parents who cannot agree on how to parent will make children act up to test the limits, or withdraw altogether. Children might also find loopholes in the parenting system, by asking permission to do something to the more lenient parent.
Basically this happens when the parents have very little communication with each other and pretty much live separate lives, for example, one parent takes control of the children, while the other is busy with work. One parent would then rely on the child, sharing their frustrations and secrets with the child. These might even be something against the other parent, hence pushing that parent further away. Worst case scenario, the parent that is being pushed out would turn to someone else to have an affair with or take comfort in an addiction like alcoholism.
This happens when one parent becomes a dictator in control, while the other parent joins the kids as a victim. The children would see the powerless parent as their peer. The parent in charge is likely to be abusive and a bully, but the other parent might influence the kids to attack the controlling parent. One parent would feel frustrated and lonely, the other will feel hurt and abused while the kids get caught up in the middle.
The family hierarchy is all messed up when the children are given the power to manipulate the parents. Sometimes this occurs when parents suffer from an illness or an addiction, so they are unable to take control. The kid in charge would act up and feel entitled to do whatever they want.
Fights between parents and kids are not unusual, but it is not healthy if they are always arguing. The reasons could be due to a generation gap. Parents expect their kids to act the same way or better than they did when they were younger. And the kids expect the parents to be more understanding about things. The tension and miscommunication will eventually pull them apart.
At first glance, this family might look united, but actually there is one member that is often left out. It could just be that the isolated member feels like the black sheep in the family because they are different than the rest of the family members. But it could also be the case that the family’s focus is on someone else and that they forget to give the lonely member the attention they need. In the end, the member might just cut ties with the family.
Have you seen any of these kinds of families in real life? Can you name any other family types that would leave wounds on their family members?
Illustrated by Alena Sofronova for BrightSide.me