Not all families are the same, the following five family styles are examples of five different family dynamics that are most common. Each can include extended family as they are likely to be intergenerational patterns. While four have some strengths they will also show an imbalance between individuality and relationship. Compare with the Bonding family where these two factors are in balance. Children from a Bonding family are more likely to be high achievers and find their place in society, while still maintaining healthy family connections.
The Chaotic Family- are not interested in each other, just themselves; friends, career, sports, money, travel??
Children are easily neglected, ignored and quickly learn to look after themselves for food, school, rely on other families for food and company. They may drift off into gangs for a sense of belonging. They may resort to crime to get what they want/need to survive. These children often become selfish and demanding, suspicious of others. They will most likely repeat the parenting cycle they know, driven by the need to "Look after No. 1".
The Ruling Family
operates around external rules which children are expected to know, without much instruction about how things should be done. 'Shoulds', 'oughts' and, 'musts' become instilled in the children's minds, which rule their adult life. The family emphasis is on obedience, doing and achieving, which if done well will make the parents pleased. Bringing up the child to know 'who they are' is ignored.
These children grow up seeking approval from others through their achievements and can become very driven people.
The Bonding Family
- like each other, look out for one another, and have a positive attitude towards life. Parents prepare their children through listening, encouragement, acceptance, offering choices and firm but fair discipline.
Children grow in confidence and self-esteem, empathy and respect for others, and are equipped for life with strong social values. They are happy with themselves and others.
They become resilient to life's surprises, able to cope and problem solve, lead well and adapt to changing circumstances.
The Protecting Family
Children may grow into taking control of this family, simply through manipulating one parent who is driven to be always liked and approved of by the children. A single parent who is very conscious of the responsibility he or she has, may work hard to keep the children happy, save them from any problems or consequences of their behaviour, to make their life better. If both parents are in the house, one may set limits, and the protecting parent will break them or do them herself/himself in order to keep things peaceful and everyone happy.
This leads to children who lack confidence and the ability to follow instructions at school and later at work. They grow up thinking the world owes them, and become discouraged and angry when that doesn't happen.
The Enmeshed Family
lives, moves, thinks, acts, believes as one person, usually a parent who decides for all. Parents force this identity onto the children, who comply in order to be approved of and feel secure in this family. New friends, new ideas and opinions are angrily discouraged.
Children grow up insecure and have difficulty thinking about and planning their life or having an ambition. They may be easily manipulated by others when parents are not around. They are not equipped to discern between good or poor choices.