Updated: Jun 7
Family roles in psychology can refer to the roles that each family member plays in the overall functioning of the family unit. It is important to recognize that each family member has their own unique role, each contributing to the family's overall well-being. Understanding the roles that each family member plays can help provide insight into how the family functions as a whole.
But these roles are often toxic.
Dysfunctional family roles can be complex and deeply rooted in the family dynamic. Common dysfunctional family roles include the hero/golden child/saint, the lost child, the scapegoat/black sheep, the mascot, the caretaker, and the mastermind. Each role has its own characteristics and serves as a way for family members to cope with difficult home dynamics. It is important to recognize these roles and the associated challenges to create healthy family dynamics and relationships.
So, how do we escape, or avoid succumbing, to these roles?
One way to mitigate dysfunctional family roles is to focus on effective communication. Encourage family members to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions openly and honestly. This can help create a healthier, more respectful atmosphere in the family. Additionally, it is important to ensure that everyone in the family feels appreciated and that their needs are taken into consideration and given priority. It is vital to create boundaries and to be consistent with them. Lastly, it is important to try to remain calm in difficult situations and to approach disagreements with empathy and understanding.
Do you know what role(s) you and your family members occupy?