Understanding Family Dynamics
Can we all get along? Many people simultaneously love and hate their families. The interaction between family members is at the core of family dynamics. Each member must co-exist with every other member. Culture, the number of members, the number of children, and other elements all play a part in the overall ecosystem. Family therapists often use a genogram to better understand the family—a diagram that maps each member’s relationship to others.
We joke about the woes of family disharmony—the obnoxious uncle, the ne'er-do-well son-in-law, the histrionic aunt, the little sister who always steals the show. Yet having close familial relationships may afford a person higher life satisfaction as well as lower rates of depression and disease. There are so many things to consider when thinking about family networks: birth order, the only child, rivalries; these are just a few factors that come up when studying the family.