What Is the Meaning of Family Dynamics?

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Family dynamics is the way in which members of a family interact with each other in relation to their individual goals and preferences. Although the family is a unit, people are individuals. In order for a family unit to be cohesive, all of the members must find some sort of balance between personal interests and the best interests of the unit. This is where family dynamics come into play.

When there is an imbalance in family dynamics, families are often described as dysfunctional. Imbalances can be caused by many things. Sometimes imbalances are caused by a conflict of personal interests, such as one member agreeing with something with which another disagrees. Other times, imbalances may occur because one or more family members feel that another member places too much, or perhaps not enough, emphasis on an interest or goal.

Family dynamics are not completely powered by personal interests and motivations, however. Innate factors such as birth order, gender, natural disposition and perceived intelligence also play a role. Older children tend to want to lead younger siblings, whether or not they desire leadership, while boys and girls as well as spouses sometimes struggle over gender issues. Likewise, the natural dispositions of family members do not always naturally mesh. In such circumstances, considerable effort is required in order to attain a harmonious balance in the family dynamic.