How Dysfunctional Family Affects The Future Of Children Research Paper

Length: 6 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Children Type: Research Paper Paper: #33283680 Related Topics: Family Counseling, Intimate Relationships, Child Abuse, Family Health
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Dysfunctional Family and Its Impact on Children's Future

A dysfunctional family can be described as a family characterized by constant and regular misbehavior, conflict, and behavior that become accommodated by members as part of normal daily life. As a result, family dysfunction can be regarded as any abnormal situation that interferes or disrupts the normal functioning of a healthy family. While healthy families are not perfect since they experience misunderstandings, conflicts, and tension, they differ from dysfunctional family in the sense that these conditions do not occur all the time. Moreover, these conditions are not accommodated and accepted by family members and as usually addressed as soon as they emerge. For dysfunctional families, these conditions persist to an extent that they are regarded as part of normal everyday life. These conditions have tremendous impact on the health and well-being of family members. Dysfunctional family has significant psychological and social impacts on the future of children who are mostly affected by the conditions.

Overview of Dysfunctional Families

As previously mentioned, a dysfunctional family is a family that is characterized by chronic and regular problems that interferes with healthy family functioning. While most families have periods and situations where normal functioning is disrupted, stressful circumstances are constant and regular in dysfunctional families ("Growing Up In a Dysfunctional Family," par, 5). As a result of the constant and regular conflicts in a dysfunctional family, the needs of family members are not met consistently, which generates considerable psychological and sociological problems. Family members in a dysfunctional family tend to accommodate and accept misbehaviors and conflicts are these conditions become more frequent and difficult to deal with.

Based on this introduction, the major factors that contribute to a family becoming dysfunction are chronic and regular conflicts and acceptance and accommodation of these conditions. While conflicts are inevitable in a family context, constant misbehaviors and conflicts that are accommodated as part of everyday life are the catalysts of dysfunction in a family. As the conflicts and misbehaviors become more severe, family members increasingly find it difficult to resolve them. Consequently, each family member becomes more comfortable with these conditions despite their negative effects on individual and family health and well-being. Moreover, family members develop new measures of coping with the conditions through accommodating them and interfering with healthy functioning rather than dealing with them.

Types of Dysfunctional Families

There are various kinds of dysfunctional families because of the differences in the factors that contribute to chronic and regular misbehaviors and conflicts that are increasingly accommodated and accepted by family members. Some of these kinds of dysfunctional families include neglect dysfunctional families, physical abuse dysfunctional families, sexual abuse dysfunctional families, emotional abuse dysfunctional families, alcohol or substance abuse dysfunctional families, and domestic violence dysfunctional families (Young par, 4). Neglect dysfunctional families are those where family members, especially children are ignored, neglected, and abandoned by parents or caregivers. Physical abuse families are those families where children or other family members are constantly subjected to physical beaten while sexual abuse ones are those where members experience promiscuous behavior. While emotional abuse dysfunctional families are those where children experience psychological torture due to certain conditions, alcohol or substance abuse ones are characterized by drug addiction that result in absentee parents. Domestic violence dysfunctional families are characterized by physical or emotional abuse between parents. Given the impact of these conditions on healthy functioning of the family, none of these types of dysfunctional families is worse than the other since they have relatively similar psychological and sociological impacts on a family's well-being.

Major Characteristics in Dysfunctional Families

Based on its definition, a dysfunctional family has some major characteristics that differentiate it from normal healthy families. Some of these major characteristics include chronic and regular conflicts that interfere with healthy functioning of the family, exposure of family members to stressful situations, psychological and sociological distress, and forceful acceptance and accommodation of stressful conditions by family members. These various characteristics are not only the causes of dysfunction in a family but must also take place for a family to become dysfunctional.

What Goes Wrong...


Some of the major things that go wrong in dysfunctional families include deficient parents, controlling parents, alcoholic parents, and abusive parents (Benton & Lambert par, 10). Deficient parents harm their children through parental inadequacy, which makes it difficult for them to effectively cater for the needs of their children and other family members. In contrast, controlling parents generate dysfunction by failing to enable their children assume responsibilities that is suitable for their age. In essence, these parents continue making decisions and dominating their children beyond the necessary or acceptable age. Alcoholic parents contribute to family dysfunction by being more chaotic and unpredictable since they can be strict and indifferent at times. Abusive parents use various kinds of abuse to cause physical, psychological or social distress on family members, which in turn generates dysfunction.

Differences between Functional Family and Dysfunctional Family

As evident in the previous analysis and discussion, there are significant differences between a healthy or functional family and dysfunctional family. While both types of families are not perfect, they have several differences in terms of how the work. One of the differences between these families is that in a functional family, members have the freedom to ask and give attention to the various issues in the family while dysfunctional family is characterized by lack of free communication lines. Secondly, a functional family has explicit and consistent rules that govern interactions within the family while a dysfunctional family does not seem to have consistent and explicit rules for interactions and behaviors. Third, a functional family has some flexibility to allow adaptation to individual needs and specific situations while a dysfunctional family does not have flexibility and is characterized by little adaptation to personal needs and specific situations. As functional family promotes adaptation and flexibility every member is encouraged to pursue personal interests while a dysfunctional family does not promote the growth of individual members. The final difference is that a functional family honors boundaries between individuals while a dysfunctional family does not honor individual boundaries.

Effects of a Dysfunctional Family on a Child's Development and Future Experiences

The chronic and regular conflicts and misbehaviors have considerable impacts on family members, particularly children. As a result, a dysfunctional family can have devastating effects on the life of a child in relation to his/her development and experiences in future life ("Dysfunctional Family and Childhood Problems," par, 1). One of the most important elements in a child's development is for the family to provide love, care, and kindness. Since a dysfunctional family does not provide love, care, and kindness to the child, it contributes to destructive psychological effects on the child's development and growth. These psychological effects are attributed to the fact that the family environment plays an important role or function in determining how a child is raised. A dysfunctional family generates significant psychological effects on the child's development due to neglect, insensitive parenting roles, and long-term deprivation. Therefore, one of the impacts of dysfunctional family on a child's development is the effect on the psychological growth of the individual.

Apart from psychological effects, a dysfunctional family affects a child's development through affect his/her behavioral traits. The conditions in a dysfunctional family forces children to have distorted attitudes and views towards other family members, especially adults. The behavioral impact of a dysfunctional family on a child's development is evident in various traits like constant feelings of loneliness, bitterness towards others, difficulties in developing intimate relationships, hatred, anger, and depression. In some case, a dysfunctional family affects a child's physical development, particular when the child is subjected to physical abuse or domestic violence. The physical effects on the child's development are largely dependent on the type and extent of physical abuse of the child.

The effects of a dysfunctional family are increasingly likely to prevail in the child's development into adolescent and adulthood. Therefore, this type of a family impacts a child's future by affecting the child's attitude and perspective towards life. Generally, the impact of any kind of abuse during childhood because of the devastating conditions in a dysfunctional family progresses and affects adulthood (Young par, 14). During adulthood, a child from a dysfunctional family tends to have physical, emotional, psychological or social problems, particularly when interacting with others.

Differences of a Child Raised in a Dysfunctional Family and One from a Functional Family

Given the differences in the conditions of a functional and dysfunctional family, there are several differences between children raised from these two types of families. First, children from a functional family tend to be healthy while those from a dysfunctional family tend to have physical, emotional, psychological or social distress. Secondly, a child raised in a functional family tends to be responsible for their decisions and actions while one from…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Benton, Sheryl A., and Dorinda J. Lambert. "Dysfunctional Families: Recognizing and Overcoming Their Effects." Kansas State University: Counseling Services. Kansas State University, n.d. Web. 31 May 2015. <>.

"Dysfunctional Family and Childhood Problems." Indian Child. Indian Child, 23 Apr. 2015.

Web. 31 May 2015. .

"Dysfunctional Family - Growing Up In A Dysfunctional Family." SCU Wellness Center. Santa Clara University - The Jesuit University in Silicon Valley, 2004. Web. 31 May 2015. <>.
"Dysfunctional Family Relationships." Counseling and Psychological Services. Brown University, n.d. Web. 31 May 2015. <>.
Young, Joy M. "Portland Lifestyle Counseling, LLC." 6 Types of Dysfunctional Childhoods You Should Know About. M. Joy Young, n.d. Web. 31 May 2015. <>.

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