Jo Ann Wentzelís Parenting Articles













Working as a Family

By JoAnn Wentzel


Working together as a family takes practice when most people are used to only going in their own direction. A family unit implies a group of people who stay together for the good of the whole. Family, whether related or an unrelated group bound by love must keep foremost in their mind the purpose of family. A family is supposed to care for one another, support each other during times of difficulties and keep each other safe.

The role of each member of the group is important, but the inner workings of the whole group seems to matter more. Family dynamics include why everyone does what they do in their interactions with other family members. People assume and assign roles which every family member acts out. This deep subject is one for a therapist to decipher, but the average person can understand the basics.

Try to keep to traditional roles and not pick members of the family who are always the caretakers, or always the blunt of the joke, or the scapegoat for example. Each person must be a respected and loved member of the family. Each person must be valued for who they are and their real contribution, not a role you force them to play for your own benefit.

The parents in any family are supposed to be the ones that care for the children, protect them, provide for their needs, and shelter them. The children are supposed to be having fun while learning what they need to become functional adults. The kids are supposed to be children and adults should be adults. It sounds simple enough, but evidentially, it isnít.

Too many times I have seen kids being forced into adult roles and trying to help their parents grow up. When the childís need is put after the parentís need, we have a problem. Role reversal, where children are the care takers all the time and parents are the helpless children is not only scary, but dangerous. When lines get muddled and boundaries unclear, strange relationships and unhealthy homes develop.

Parents, must remember their goal is to help kids grow healthy and into mature, well-rounded people. The childrenís role is for them to learn what they can and take the time to be a child while young for a more successful adulthood.

Families must work together for the good of a family. Everyone must do their part and try to get along with all family members. You cannot be selfish or go your own way if Ďdoing your own thingí results in negligence of the family. If each one of us supports, helps, listens to, pays attention to, and loves the other members of the family, most problems will be stopped before they start. This attitude should even continue with extended family for the support everyone needs.


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