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Family Systems

Updated on July 11, 2014

Factors that influence unhealthy devlopment

There are several different factors that can affect the relationship between Family Systems and Healthy Development. These factors can be both internal and external or both. Substance abuse, environmental stimulus’s’, neglect, malnutrition, abuse, economical status, and more can contribute to either a positive or negative impact on the family system. The family system is considered to be the most perilous phases of an adolescent growth development. The two factors that will be discussed in detail are neglect and economic status and how it plays a major role in the relationship between family systems and healthy development.

Neglect is considered to be a form of abuse. It occurs when a parent and/or provider fails to cater to one’s essential needs for development. Neglect can be in the form of physical, educational, medical, and/or emotional. When a parent uses the uninvolved parent style, the child unfortunately suffers from neglect. “Uninvolved parents show virtually no interest in their child, displaying indifferent, rejecting behavior” ( Feldman, 2014, pg. 253). The parent tends to flourish the child with basic room and board as well as clothing and feeding, but detaches completely from their child emotionally. This type of parenting can lead to a very unhealthy family system causing the child to become emotionally detached with society as well as numerous other factors. “Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove, and therefore, child protective services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm or mental injury to the child” (, 2013). Physical and cognitive development in this type of abuse is typically impeded, and the child may grow up feeling useless or uninvolved in multiple situations.

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Role of economics

The role of economics also plays a valuable role in the healthy development of family systems. There are several factors to consider however when analyzing a child’s development when correlating it to the affluence of their environment. For instance, some may argue that the wealthier the household the better off the child, but how is this really proven? Have you ever heard stories in the newspapers where some physician or other wealthy, prominent individual child has committed suicide? How was there well-being proven through affluence? This may be true in certain households in regards to being able to insure superior health awareness in their children. Children from wealthier homes may exhibit more confidence within themselves. This could come from being better dressed, or better established than their peers. “Some narcissistic traits—such as authority and self-sufficiency—can be healthy, says Robert Horton, PhD, a psychology professor at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind.” (Novotney, 2009). Too much self-sufficiency however can have adverse reactions for the child causing their overdeveloped egos doing more harm when trying to build healthy relationships with friends, family, or mates. Children that develop out of poorer homes may tend to suffer from low self-esteem and can face several challenges throughout their development. For instance, some children could face challenges with poor medical assistance due to lack of financial funding for safe living environments. This could put the child at risk for developing severe illness such as asthma that can be developed from lower-income housing that contains mold accumulation. Not all children however are at risk of developing illnesses or low self-esteem. Some children from these types of homes are flourished with care and love, and end up developing a huge sense of self-gratification.

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What if the child does not belong to me?

What if the child being neglected does not belong to me? This is a typical question asked when deciding if action should be taken if one observes neglect or improper treatment. Just because a child is not directly related to an individual, does that make it necessary right not to intervene? This is a difficult decision because healthy development could also consist of cultural values. If the child is of another culture, would you have the right to intervene? Or would you look at the child as being a child that needs the appropriate care regardless of their race or culture? People witness abuse and neglect everyday, and allow it to get unreported due to an idea that "It's none of my business". Healthy child development starts when early intervention occurs. A child is everyone's business. Regardless of the relationship a person has with the child, it is everyone's duty to encourage a healthy family system.


Ultimately one can discern a healthy family system by the method of parenting that emerged within the household. Ideally, the authoritative parenting method should be used to produce ideal childhood development. This type of parenting consists of standardized rules, but doesn’t lack the love and emotional support that the child needs. Reasoning for while there are rules within the home are established. Children that develop through this household are more likely to have a sense of independence when they grow up, and are able to follow the rules. They may also show little signs of emotional detachment. Childhood development is more regulated and children from authoritative households tend to be more: “successful and likeable” (Feldman, 2014). Emotionally they tend to also be more self-regulated.

References: (2013). What Is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the

Signs and Symptoms. Retrieved from Are the Major Types of Child Abuse and Neglect?

Feldman, R. (2013). Development Across the Lifespan, 7th Edition: Pearson.



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