A Key Influence On Family Dynamics

A Key Influence On Family Dynamics

Family dynamics are ever-changing and can be influenced by a multitude of factors.  How each family member interacts with one another, and the relationship that each has with all other family members, can be influenced by a number of external factors that can include other people that family members come in contact with, the neighborhood in which they live, their financial situation, as well as a myriad of other variables.

One factor that typically affects the overall dynamics of a family more than all other factors, however, is the general make-up of the nuclear family.  A nuclear family can be defined as a person’s immediate family members and includes a set of parents and any number of children.  Other relatives, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins are part of a person’s extended family, even if any of those relatives live with members of the nuclear family.

So, what are some of the key influences that can impact family dynamics in any one family?  There are in fact an infinite number of variables that can affect how family members feel about one another and how they interact, but we have outlined a handful of variables that appear to have some of the strongest influences on the nature of a family’s relationships with one another.

When considering family dynamics, here are some questions to keep in mind that may have an influence on why the dynamics in your particular family are similar or different as compared to other families you may know or that you may come in contact with throughout your life.

Factors affecting family dynamics:

How many children are there?  One key influence on family dynamics is the number of children in any one family.  An only child household will operate far differently from a household with many children, and each will be different in turn as compared to the “typical” family that has 2 – 3 children.

Where in the “pecking order” does the child fall into (oldest, youngest, middle)?  Another factor that will affect the dynamics of any particular child within a family in relation to his or her relationships with parents as well as siblings relates to where in the pecking order that child falls.  First children generally have differences in their personality and their relationships with parents and siblings as compared to those that come after them, although of course, this is just a generality and every family, and individual within a family, will vary considerably from the “norm”.

How far apart in age are the children?  Not only the number of children in any one family has a major influence on the family dynamics, but how far apart in age each child is from one another.  For example, if children are very close in age, they will tend to have a far different relationship with one another than if there is a wide age gap between them.

Factors related to the parents.  There are many variables related to the parents of a nuclear family that will also have a big impact on family dynamics.  This can include anything from how old the parents are when they have children to what each parent’s work schedule is like (or whether one stays home with the kids).  Additionally, there are ever-changing parenting scenarios that may include single parent households, same sex parent households, step family households and changing household dynamics, such as when divorce occurs or a parent dies.

Other factors such as household finances, parenting styles and how close extended family members are can also have an impact on the overall dynamics of a nuclear family.

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