How Were Families Meant to Be
(Days are long and Life is short)
The meaning of family: Any group of people closely related by blood or marriage, such as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins. (From dictionary.com)
The traditional family is the formation of interlocking circles of influence. Actual intentions for the family unit have each circle with determined roles. Family relationships provide resources that can help an individual cope with stress, engage in healthier behaviors, and enhance self-esteem, leading to higher well-being. Taking a closer look at society and what has happened over many years has been the degradation of the family’s intended purpose of providing a healthier lifestyle. Children feel secure and loved when they have strong and positive family relationships. Positive family relationships help families resolve conflict, work as a team, and enjoy each other’s company. Positive family relationships are built on quality time, communication, teamwork, and appreciation of each other. Societies resemble the success of family unit applications by fulfilling the intended roles each member play. These are the building blocks of society. Families play a compelling role in social development. Parenthood bears the primary obligation to introduce a philosophy of education and socialization as well as instill values of citizenship and belonging to a society. A parent can help you deal with stress by giving you a sense of peace, purpose, and forgiveness. It often becomes more important in times of emotional stress or illness.
These expectations when they are gone unheeded create the demise of civilization and society. A family can improve our confidence and make us feel loved. This becomes the foundation of strength that never falter but instead keeps us strong in becoming better people.
A family composes the learning of values of love, respect, faith, hope, caring, cultures, traditions, and everything else that concerns us through our families. The publication “Inner Change”, who has coined the saying “Raise Standards, Heal Families”, Outlined its position on family roles:
Common Family Roles
The following are several roles that can exist within a family:
- Hero: This is the “good” and “responsible” child. This person is a high achiever, carries the pride of the family, and he/she overcompensates to avoid looking or feeling inadequate. He/she is often a good leader and organizer and is goal-oriented and self-disciplined. Sometimes the hero lacks the ability to play, relax, follow others, or allow others to be right.
- Rescuer: The rescuer takes care of others’ needs and emotions and problem-solves for others in the family. The rescuer might have difficulty with conflict. He/she takes on the role of rescuer in the name of helping others, though it is often to meet his/her own needs, such as relieving anxiety. This person doesn’t realize that sometimes helping hurts. He/she also lives with a lot of guilt and finds it challenging to focus on him/herself.
- Mediator: The mediator can be a rescuer-type although he/she works to keep peace in the family system. This person does the emotional work of the family to avoid conflict. He/she acts as a buffer, and does it in the name of helping others, although it may be for his/her needs. This can be a healthy role depending on how the person mediates.
- Scapegoat/Black sheep: This is the person the other family members feel needs the most help. Usually, this is the family member in need of treatment or in treatment. This person often shows the obvious symptoms of the family being unable to work through problems. The person may have strengths such as a sense of humor, a greater level of honesty, and the willingness to be close to his/her feelings. Yet there can also be an inappropriate expression of feelings, and the person may experience social or emotional problems.
- Switchboard: This person is the central information center in the family. He/she keeps track of what’s going on by being aware of who is doing what and when. This person has strength in being the central person to go to and understanding how the family is doing. However, this person focuses on everyone else’s issues rather than his/her own.
- The power broker: This person works at maintaining a hierarchy in the family with him/herself at the top. His/her safety and security in life depend on feeling in control of the environment around him/her.
- Lost child: The lost child is the subservient good child. He/she is obedient, passive, and hidden in the family trauma. He/she stays hidden to avoid being a problem. Generally, this person is flexible and easygoing. However, he/she lacks direction, is fearful in making decisions, and follows without questioning.
Clown: The clown uses humor to offset the family conflict and to create a sense that things are okay. This person has a talent to readily lighten the moment, but he/she hides his/her true feelings.
Cheerleader: The cheerleader provides support and encouragement to others. There is usually balance in taking care of his/her own needs while providing a positive influence on those around him/her.
Nurturer: This person provides emotional support, creates safety, is available to others, and can be a mediator. He/she focuses on having and meeting emotional needs, usually in a balanced manner.
Thinker: The thinker provides the objective, reasoning focus. His/her strength is being able to see situations in a logical, objective manner. However, he/she may find it difficult to connect emotionally with others.
Truthteller: This person reflects the system as it is. At times the challenge is how that information is relayed. Other members in the family might be offended or avoid the truthteller because of the power of the truth he/she holds. Strength occurs when this person is coupled with another positive role, such as a nurturer or cheerleader.
After reading these roles, ask yourself which ones you identify with and what ones would you like to see more of in your family. After being a mentor, coach, and teacher for many years I have come to complete confidence that the family contains the capability of shaping society. Historically, our neighborhoods that were inbred resembled the values and cultures that existed at the time. From your point of view, what are the variables that have most affected the circumvention of the roles of the family today? What plan would you foresee to educate the natural roles of a family dynamic?
Share this point of view and have your discussion of ideas to ponder.
Until another day, “Peace”
Gary R. Carlson