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Family Dynamics

Goals

To determine background research on the topic Family Dynamics to build a webinar with supporting evidence that includes articles, case studies, and possible exercises related to the concept.

Early Findings

  • Family dynamics exhibit patterns of relationship building, or interactions between family members with each family system and its dynamics unique.
  • Traditional individual therapy focuses on problems in a linear manner (event A caused problem B). Family systems theory, in comparison, views problems in a circular manner, or a systemic approach (both A and B are seen to exist in the context of the relationship by influencing the other).
  • People who have close familial relationships have a higher well-being and lower rates of depression and disease throughout their lifetime.
  • In a functional family, parents strive to create an environment in which everyone feels safe, heard, loved, and respected.
  • Functional families provide a resilient foundation, privacy, accountability, an apology when needed, allow reasonable expression of emotions, gentle teasing and sarcasm, allow for growth and change, embody co-parenting skills, working relationships, provide clear boundaries, eat meals together, and follow the golden rule.
  • Parents must take time to reflect on their own stress levels because children often observe and react to their parent’s emotions.
  • Strong cultural traditions have to a certain extent protected families from conflicts.
  • Family dynamics have a strong influence on the way young people see themselves, others and the world, and influence their relationships, behaviors and their well being.
Case Studies
  • Parents ignore the pesky behavior and instead put their focus and energy on the positive attributes their kids exhibit to build stronger family relationships.
  • Resilient children have what it takes to get up and try again. They are more flexible than many of their peers who are easily overwhelmed.
  • Parents dole out punishment together and never go behind one another’s back nor withhold anything from each other concerning their children.
  • Social policy and popular culture promote a two-parent nuclear family as an ideal structure for raising successful, healthy children, but the reality of family life in America looks very different.
Worksheets
  • The Healthy Boundaries Tips worksheet presents standard advice for creating healthy boundaries with topics that include values, assertiveness, and setting limits.
  • Small Talk Discussion Cards are a fun therapeutic activity for kids that asks a simple question about one of three topics, along with a more challenging 'Digging Deeper' question or activity.
  • The Setting Boundaries worksheet teaches clients to set healthy boundaries by covering language for speaking assertively, boundary-setting tips, examples, and practice exercises.
  • Family Questions is a fun activity that is great for breaking the ice in family therapy. Each family member answers a question about themselves, and then guesses how other family members will answer.

Proposed next steps:

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