7 Different Family Dynamics Roles and Their Strong Impacts

Family is important for everyone, and family dynamics help us understand our family system. Family plays a crucial part in a child’s upbringing and their shaping for the future. Family members rely on each other for physical, economic, and, most importantly, emotional support.

All families are not the same. This is what we will cover in this article through family dynamics.

1. What Is Family Dynamics?

To be precise, family dynamics are patterns of interaction between different family members. These patterns can be both healthy and unhealthy, varying with different families.

This interaction pattern includes the roles of different family members and factors that influence interactions between different family members.

family dynamics
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Family dynamics are very different for every family unit. There are interactions that one family may have and other families could be completely unaware of.

For example, a supportive family generally has relations that give love, care, and encouragement to their family members, and on the other hand, a family that is not very supportive could have regular arguments and constant disagreements. And there can be families with a mixture of everything.

2. Different Family Dynamics and Structures

family dynamics
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Before going any further, it is important to understand different family structures that lead to varied dynamics. We will also see how these variations impact positive family dynamics.

2.1. Nuclear Family

Nuclear families aim to raise children with togetherness while making them independent. This type of family generally consists of two parents with children.

While these types of the family make a person financially independent and the parenting is rather stable, there are certain disadvantages.

For one, there are chances of loneliness because of no extended family nearby. Children who are uncomfortable talking to their parents may feel the absence of cousins or other family members. This isolation and loneliness may lead to stressful relationships.

2.2. Single Parent

The culture of single parenting is rising very much. It is a family where there is only one parent raising children. There can be many reasons for the same. The parent can be married but divorced or widowed, or they may even be single.

family dynamics
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This type of family makes children responsible from an early age, as they perform household chores to help their single parent. The relationship between children and parents is very strong, and a child generally grows out to be independent.

One common disadvantage this type of family faces is economic instability.

2.3. Joint family

These types of family dynamics were commonly prevalent earlier, but the culture is gradually shifting from them. This type of family has all the extended members living together, including grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

There are many advantages of a joint family. A person doesn’t feel lonely living in a joint family. There is the constant support of the members of the family, especially during emergencies, be it financial, social, or emotional.

While you always have somebody for you, it can be overwhelming too. There is a lack of privacy, and everybody is present in everybody’s business. Apart from this, there can be a financial burden if all the members are not contributing to the work of the family.

2.4. Grandparent Family

There are some cases when grandparents instead of parents do children’s upbringing. This type of family structure is rather uncommon but still present. This happens when a child’s parents’ presence is important in other important situations and can’t be regularly present in their child’s life.

family dynamics
Photo by Kadyn Pierce on Unsplash Copyrights 2022

This can happen if they are in lockup, undergoing medical treatment, or their occupation doesn’t allow them to be present in their children’s lives. This is where grandparents come to fill the gap between parents and prevent the children from going into foster care.

There are certain advantages to this setting. Children grow to be more affectionate and have a higher level of moral value, thereby forming strong family relations. Children who grow up with their grandparents are also more aware of their origin and culture.

The major drawback of this family structure is a gap in multiple generations that can lead to conflicting views and opinions. The old age of grandparents can also make them feel tired many times because the previous generations were much different from ours. Besides, grandparents can sometimes find it difficult to manage financially.

3. Impacts of Family Dynamics

Varied family dynamics can impact members of the family in a lot of ways. In broader terms, we can have two types of family dynamics, healthy and toxic family. Both these types, especially with toxic behavior, can have a significant influence on their members.

3.1. Healthy Family Dynamics

A well-functioning family inculcates healthy family dynamics. Members belonging to healthy families find it easy to communicate with each other. They accept each other and express their love and compassion for each other.

Healthy Family Dynamics
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash Copyrights 2020

Every member fulfills their role and responsibilities. Members have to share tasks among themselves based on age and ability. Everyone has a right to voice their opinion, and everybody is present when important decisions take place. Most importantly, there is room for forgiveness regarding healthy family dynamics.

In this type of family relationship, respect and understanding become the backbone of the family. There is always emotional and financial support. Children who come from such families may perform better in all aspects of life.

3.2. Toxic/Unhealthy Family Dynamics

While healthy family dynamics are essential for a happy and fulfilled citizen, not everybody is lucky enough to be born into it. Many individuals are victims of toxic family dynamics. This type of family dynamic is opposite to the one we discussed earlier.

In a toxic family, there is no emotional support of any kind. And if this is not enough, often there is some discrimination among the siblings by parents or other elder members, causing a dysfunctional family.

family dynamics
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash Copyrights 2016

Parents of toxic family dynamics can practice unhealthy control or overcontrol for their own self-centered reasons. This forms an environment of dominance, and members generally don’t have an equal say; not even their opinions are heard.

There are some cases when the parent is an alcoholic or drug user. Such cases reverse the roles of parent and child. Children have to grow faster than their age to become responsible. These cases also involve abuse, which can be physical, financial, emotional, or psychological.

Toxic family dynamics create distance between the parents and children. The isolation can make the members emotionally detached or depressed. There are also greater chances for members to develop some toxic habits. These may include embracing drugs, alcohol, or self-harm.

Click here to read more about toxic family dynamics and how to eliminate them.

4. Roles within Family Dynamics

family dynamics
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These different types of family dynamics and structures compel the family members to take on some particular family roles. These roles are what define the personality of the members.

These roles also become essential when there is some crisis going on within a family. So let’s see what these roles are:

4.1. Hero

These are the members of the family that everybody knows about. They are the most talented ones and an achiever in the family. The hero makes sure to maintain healthy family dynamics and also keeps the pride of the family in society.

Although the hero member is very talented, there are chances that they will set some difficult standards for the rest of the family, which can be difficult to keep up with.

4.2. Peacekeeper

There is one family member who, intentionally or unintentionally, is always resolving conflicts. They try to keep the peace between family members and the entire family. They are always trying to please people and placate the matter.
family dynamics
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash Copyrights 2019

They mediate between conflicts to stop them from escalating. This role many times is often played by children when they see their elders fighting.

While they desperately try to keep peace and prevent family breakdown at that particular time, unfortunately, sometimes, in the process, they cover up problems. When not talked through or allowed, these minor issues let outcomes bite back even harder.

4.3. Scapegoat

You may have guessed a scapegoat is the general ‘Black Sheep‘ of the family. They are the ones who are often deemed to misbehave compared to all other members of the family. It is generally assumed that they are the reason behind every wrong happening in the family.
This is the reason members claim the need to pay most attention to the ‘scapegoat.’ More often than not, this member is the victim of some difficulty. It can be mental health issues, physical appearance, or behavior patterns.
They are often blamed as the reason for the upheaval of family dynamics, which may not be true

4.4. Mascot

The mascot is that carefree person after listening to whom everybody cracks up. Mascots are a critical part of a family as they can divert the family’s attention through their jokes or some other talents.

family dynamics
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You would find them holding the attention of everybody during a family gathering, keeping them together. This diversion not only serves as a distraction but plays a major role in relieving stress or other family members’ mental baggage through their antics.

4.5. Caretaker

The caretaker is the one always looking after the members of a family. Their role is somewhat similar to that of a peacekeeper. They are also trying to negotiate and pacify any chaos for the sake of all the family members.
The caretaker is also the one always giving advice to someone who is sick. When a family member is at some fault, or they are stuck in a situation, the caretaker will always be there to cover up on their behalf. They would try their best to keep the person away from family criticism.

4.6. Helper

This is the one person you can always turn to whenever stuck somewhere or in need. They would listen to you and try to solve your problem. They would make it their own responsibility to come up with a solution. They have great contacts and always know the right person for any task.
They are also always there when you are going through some emotional turmoil. They will listen to your problem with an open ear without any judgment and give you the best advice they can. One can easily place trust in the helper.

4.7. Lost Child

While all other members are playing a particular role and trying to keep up with everyone, the lost child always flies under the radar. They generally stay quiet and keep everything to themselves.

family dynamics
Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash Copyrights 2019

They usually keep to themselves in any gathering or social event too. While this makes them unnoticeable, they are quite observant. But this closed-off nature can sometimes make them feel isolated or alienated in their home.

What tempts us to give them the title of a lost child is that they try to avoid crossing paths with anyone and becoming the reason for a problem. But remember, that doesn’t mean they are forgotten.

5. An End Note on Family Dynamics

As we have seen different types of family dynamics, it is understood that every family is different from the other. The relationship between various members varies within a family. The health of each member, be it physical, financial, or mental health, is majorly affected by family dynamics.

family dynamics
Photo by Luana Azevedo on Unsplash Copyrights 2020

We have seen how toxic family dynamics can cause fatal harm to the personality and behavior of an individual. This way the toxicity may never end; they might form abusive family relationships with their children as their parents did with them.

That is why it is always advised to practice the habits of healthy families, where there is love, acceptance, and encouragement. If one finds it difficult to adapt to healthier family dynamics, they can always take outside help through family therapy. It’s always a good idea to have a family therapist.

 Family dynamics are the ones that shape the path and character of an individual. It also influences how the person will interact with people outside the family, making these family dynamics extremely crucial.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

6.1. How important is family dynamic?

Family Dynamics helps us to understand the family system. It helps us to understand the interaction and behavior among all the family members.

6.2. What are poor family dynamics?

Poor family dynamics is when the family has toxic or unhealthy interactions, or no interactions at all, among the family members. The family members are emotionally detached or depressed because of the unhealthy environment.

6.3. How to have healthy family dynamics?

Healthy family dynamics consist of healthy and supportive communication with compassion. There is emotional and financial (if possible) support from every member of the family where each member is free and comfortable to talk to each other.

6.4. How do you fix a family relationship?

Be understanding! Try to understand each member of the family practically and emotionally, especially in difficult situations. Be supportive and patient with each other when needed.

For more such articles, click here.

Infographic That Presents A Statistical Analysis of Families In The US
Icy Health


Edited by Pooja Motwani

Last Updated on by Aditi Gautam


Mimansha Jain
Apeksha soni

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