The family dynamics we grow up with become the foundation and template for future relationships and one’s own future family interactions. Dynamics are the spoken, and unspoken, rules and manner with which we interact and navigate with people and potential conflicts. Research of family patterns and dynamics has identified six broad types of family dynamics: some healthy, some not so healthy.

Six Types of Family Dynamics

By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

  • Authoritative: This dynamic has parents who take an active role in leading and directing the family. They create rules and consequences but take the time to explain why the rules exist and their purpose. They are respectful, open to input, and are warm and caring in their approach. They avoid threats and use positive reinforcement whenever possible. This is probably one of the healthier styles with the best future outcomes for family members.
  • Authoritarian: This dynamic is highly rule bound, strict, controlling, and puts a high premium on compliance and obedience. This mentality often expects blind adherence without explanation often emphasized with comments such as, “Because I said so.” This dynamic tends to be lower on affection, support, and love.
  • Uninvolved: This dynamic often has family members who are disengaged and unavailable to each other. They co-exist and cohabitate but display little interest or support for each other. They may have a permissive approach driven by a general lack of concern.
  • Communal: This dynamic emphasizes family as a community. All members are responsible for contributing to the greater good of the family. There is a sense of equality, all voices are heard, agree on rules, and tackling challenges. This dynamic bolsters interdependence.
  • Competitive: This dynamic creates an air of competition among members of the family. People are often vying for attention and recognition. Although they may have drive and ambition it often sets the stages for rivalry and resentments toward each other.
  • Alliance Based: This dynamic ends up creating coalitions among members who end up in opposition against other family member alliances. There is a thinking of safety or strength in numbers. These alliances often become enmeshed with each other and have poor boundaries. Blended families are often primed for this dynamic as feelings of loyalty to their family of origin are pitted against the new family members.

If you are interested in learning more about your family dynamics and how it influences your approach to relationships, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an appointment with one of our providers for a more thorough assessment.  Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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