Have you ever noticed how certain family members always seem to take on certain roles or behaviors during family gatherings? Why do you think that is? Family dynamics refers to the ways in which family members interact with one another, communicate, and relate to each other. The family dynamic is constantly built from day one of the marriage. Sometimes our family dynamics shift from healthy to unhealthy, and the reasons for that shift can vary. But every family dynamic has two components: a structure and an affect. The structure includes the rules and roles while the affect includes the strength of the relationships, emotional atmosphere of the home, and the family values. If you can take some time to answer these questions about your family, you may gain some insight into strengthening your family dynamics.
Questions Around Structure:
• What are some of the basic rules of the home?
• Are the rules fair, realistic, and reasonable?
• How are rules determined, communicated, and reinforced?
• What are the rules for ownership?
• Are the rules aligned with Scripture? Specifically for the area of ownership, consider Acts 2:44, “All things common”; Matthew 5:42, “Give to him who asks of you.”
• How else can Scripture inform your parenting decisions?
• Do the rules constantly change? Yes today, 10 min from now no? Or are the rules consistent and consistently reinforced? Are parents aligned with each other on each rule and its reinforcement?
• Does each family member have a role or responsibility in the day to day operations of the household? The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is a cute book from my childhood primarily about how the next Easter Bunny was chosen, and the book also talks about family roles and responsibilities.
Questions Around Affect:
• Generally, how are the relationships in the home?
• How well is everyone connecting? What can you intentionally do to improve those connections?
• Realize that relationships go two way. For example, Heather to Rob and Rob to Heather. (Think about that for each person in your family. A family of 5 would have 40 relationships to monitor and nurture.) What can you do to inject love into your family this week?
• Is anyone acting out because of circumstances (for example major change, divorce, illness, change in school/employment, being bullied elsewhere) i.e. grief? OR acting out because of revenge “payback” (eye for an eye)?
• What are the values in the family?
• What is the family Identity?
• “Soukups love each other. Soukups work hard. Soukups eat healthy.” We call these values and rules around identity “the family dance.” What happens when everyone is “dancing the waltz” and suddenly one person stops and begins “dancing the robot”? Does everyone dance the robot? What kind of “change” messages or “change back” messages are being sent?
• Is there common language for building healthy behaviors like (sharing)?
Discuss these questions with your spouse and pray about it. Let me know what you are working on in your home.