7 Different Family Dynamics Roles And Their Strong Impacts

Family Dynamics
Kevin Delvecchio

Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.


Family is rather important for anyone and family dynamics are what helps us understand our family system. Family plays a crucial part in the upbringing of a child and their shaping for the future. Family members rely on each other for physical, economic, and most importantly emotional support.
We accept families to be social support for an individual, all families are not the same. This is what we will cover in this article through family dynamics.

What Is Family Dynamics?

To be precise family dynamics are patterns of interaction between different members of the family. These patterns can be both healthy and unhealthy varying with different families.
This pattern of interaction includes the roles of different family members and factors that influence interactions between different family members.

What is Family Dynamics?
CDC on Unsplash

Family dynamics are very different from every other family. 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 same hand, a family that is not very supportive could have regular arguments and constant disagreement.
And there can be families with a mixture of everything. The influence on family dynamics is due to many reasons but one thing very important is the structure of the family for a person’s bringing up.

Different Family Dynamics And Structures

16 family dynamics2 scaled
Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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 family dynamics.

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 not comfortable talking to their parents may feel the absence of cousins or some other family members. This isolation and loneliness may lead to stress.

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.
This type of family makes children responsible as from an early age they are performing household chores. 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.

Joint family

These types of the family were prevalent 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 mental.
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 working of family.

Grandparent Family

There are some cases when children’s bringing up is by grandparents instead of parents. This type of family structure is rather uncommon but still present. This happens when a child’s parents’ presence is important in a certain other situation and can’t be regularly present in their child’s life.
This can happen if they are in lockup, undergoing medical treatment or their occupation is such that don’t allow them to present. This is where grandparents come to fill the gap of parents and prevent the children to go into foster care.
There are certain advantages to this setting. Children are grown 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 structure is a gap in a generation that can lead to conflicting views and opinions. The old age of grandparents can also make them feel tired many times. Besides, grandparents can sometimes find it difficult to manage financially.

Impact of family dynamics

Varied family dynamics can impact members of the family in a lot of ways. On a broader term, we can have two types of family dynamics, healthy and toxic. Both these types can have a significant influence on its members.

Healthy Family Dynamics

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

Healthy Family Dynamics
National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Every member is responsible for their role and responsibilities. Members have to share tasks among themselves based on age and ability. Everyone has a right to voice out their opinion and everybody is present when important decisions take place. Most importantly there is room for forgiveness when it comes to healthy family dynamics.
This type of relationship, respect, and understanding becomes the backbone of the member of a close-knit family. There is always emotional and financial support. Children that come out of such families have better performance in all aspects of life.

Toxic 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 completely 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 type of discrimination among the siblings by parents or other elder members causing a dysfunctional family.

Toxic Family Dynamics
Anthony Shkraba on Pexels

Parents of toxic family dynamics can practice unhealthy control or over control for their own self-centered reasons. This forms an environment of dominance and members generally don’t have 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 violence. This 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 get rid of them.

Roles Within Family Dynamics

16 family dynamics5 scaled
Rajiv Perera on Unsplash

These different types of family structures and dynamics compel the members of the family 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:

1. Hero

These are the members of the family that everybody knows about. They are the one who is most talented and an achiever in the family. The hero also maintains 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.

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 for the family as a whole. They are always trying to please people and placate the matter.
They mediate in between conflicts to stop them from escalating. This role many times is 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. These minor issues when are not talked through or not allowed to let outcomes bite back even harder.

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 of paying most attention to the ‘scapegoat’. This member more often than not is the victim of some difficulty. It can be mental illness, physical appearance, or behavior patterns.
They are often blamed as the reason for the upheaval of family dynamics, which may not be true. This is because they are often very adaptive and their illness is not their fault.

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 are able to divert the attention of the family through their jokes, or some other talents.
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 to relieve stress or any other mental baggage of other family members through their antics.

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 out advice to someone who is sick. When a family member is at some fault or they are an addict, the caretaker would always be there to cover up on their behalf. They would try their best to keep the person away from the family criticism.

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.

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.
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 even alienated in their own home.
What really 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.

Family Dynamics

As we have seen different types of family dynamics, it is understood that every family is different from each other. The relation between various members varies within a family. The health of each member be it physical, financial, or mental health, all are majorly affected by family dynamics.
We have seen how toxic family dynamics can cause fatal harm to the personality and behavior of an individual, they end up being an alcoholic. This way the toxicity will never end, they would form abusive relationships with their children as their parents did with them.
That is why it is always advised to practice the habits of healthy family dynamics, 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 therapies.
These 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.
For more such articles click here.

Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here