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Family Issues

Relationships among family members strongly affect the development of emerging adults. When students leave for college, family relationships evolve over time. Often, students straddle being an adult and still being dependent on their family members financially and in other ways. Parental acceptance that adult children may want more privacy in certain areas of their lives and may want support in other areas of their lives may be 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 fun, sharing play and leisure time together.
  • Share responsibility.
  • Have shared values and independent values
  • Support one another and also value others outside of the family
  • Share and practice 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. 

Family Dysfunction

Dysfunction can be any source that interferes with a family’s healthy functioning.  Most families have some periods of time when stressful circumstances such as a death, a divorce, conflict, financial changes, 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 family members’ needs may be neglected.