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The Dysfuntional Family

Updated on December 27, 2009

Most families are somewhat dysfunctional

    Years ago someone decided to coin the phrase dysfunctional family.  Of course, noone wanted that term to describe their family.  It meant that there was something wrong with their lives with the way they were living.  With many people, that may of course be the case.  But in truth, how many of us live the life of a "dream family"?  Honestly, who would want to?  To go through everyday with no trials, no conflict of any kind?  It simply isn't possible.

     Each generation has its own set of rules to follow.  What is acceptable in today's world certainly was not acceptable 50 years ago.  The same can be said in the reverse.  For example;  a close knit family in the 1950s might have a well stocked bar in open view of children and indulge in evening drinks without thinking twice about that fact that they were sending a message that alcohol in the daily diet was something positive.  The same can be true for eating habits, smoking and gambling.

   However, in today's world,. parents will read books and earnestly watch their children's diet and keep alcohol out of the view of young eyes so that they grow up knowing it not as a necessity.  This is due to countless studies that are public and readily available to parents today.  But on the negative side, today's parents will allow their children exposure to videos and games that are well above their level of maturity and afford them with expensive non necessities so that children lack appreciation for what they have.

     In every book, movie or television show that we see, there is always some sort of conflict in a family.  There is always an alcoholic relative, a substance abuser, a deep dark secret that keeps the rest of the family from fitting in with the rest of the world.  Who are they not fitting in with?  The Brady Bunch?  Even they were dysfunctional.  Jan had middle child syndrome, Cindy had a lisp and they had some issues over the yours, mine and ours family they had built together.  There simply is no model for the perfect family that one should follow,

   What should be done is that families should look at whatever "dysfunction" has been bestowed upon them as a learning tool.  Something that can draw their family closer together and make them aware that we all have weaknesses.  Children can be taught lessons in tolerance.  Families can make themselves stronger by awareness of what can go wrong in life and how it can be worked with and at times even fixed.  Addicts can get help, we are fortunate nowdays that going to a therapist is more than acceptable, it seems to be the norm.

   So as I sit across the table from someone who is very close to me and discuss what happened in his life over the years, he is not angry or sad about the dysfunction.  He loves his family.  He understands that things happen.  People work with the tools they have been given.  They can either sink or swim.  He has chosen to swim and is staying afloat rather well in comparison to the rest of his family.



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