Family Issues

Relationships among family members strongly affect the development of emerging adults. When students leave for college, family relationships evolve. Parents must readjust their identities both as parents and as partners, developing adult-to-adult aspects of parent-child relationships. Parental acceptance that adult children want more privacy in certain areas of their lives is part of this process.

Family Dynamics

Healthy families

  • Communicate, listen, and value time to talk together.
  • Affirm and support one another.
  • Develop trust among family members, and take care and time to mend breaches of trust.
  • Have a sense humor, sharing play and leisure time together.
  • Share responsibility.
  • Teach right from wrong.
  • Value and practice service to others.
  • Share spiritual or religious beliefs in positive and meaningful ways.
  • Respect the privacy of one another’s confidences.
  • Negotiate rules and compromises mutually.
  • View problems as a normal part of life, develop problem-solving techniques, and seek help when necessary.
  • Respond to change. 

Resources on Family Relationships

Family Dysfunction

Dysfunction can be any source of interference with a family’s health function. Most families have some periods of time when stressful circumstances such as a death, a divorce, or a serious illness negatively affect the family’s function. Healthy families return to normal functioning after crises pass. In dysfunctional families, however, problems are chronic and children’s needs may be neglected as negative parental behavior patterns dominate children’s lives.

Online Resources on Family Dysfunction