A Christian’s heavenly journey with his feet on the ground. Treasures shared that are discovered along the way.
Please note that this blog has now moved to: "Senior Eagle walking with Father"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dysfunctional Families

We had lunch with friends the other day and shared childhood memories. I said that I experienced some emotional trauma as a child and was left to develop my own ways of compensating and coping with it. My parents really loved and cared for me and really did their best, but I thought ours was a dysfunctional family. Our friends' view was that most families are dysfunctional in some way, which made me think.

When we marry, both partners are in many ways incompatible. They may be a strong love for each other, together with common interests. But because of the differences, there is a lot of working out to do in the relationship. This will be just the same when children come along. However, the family is a God-arranged 'institution' to provide the ideal environment to shape us and bring us to maturity.

I list below a few suggestions of the ideal requirements for a functional family. I stress that this is not a complete list and it is ideal:

  • Both parents are present and available and demonstrate their love for each other openly and healthily.
  • The children receive affection vocally, by touch and with eye contact.
  • That communication is free and open.
  • There is a listening environment, with the freedom to express emotional pain and fears, without condemnation or shame.
  • The children are disciplined - I don't necessarily mean physical correction - in love with listening and full explanation.
  • There are shared family activities.
  • Children are increasingly encouraged to be themselves and not copies of their parents.
  • There is affirmation and validation of the children's femininity or masculinity, by word and example.
I should think the same applies within the Christian family, the Body of Christ.The difference is, there are not the same blood ties and so we have the choice to avoid confrontational people or painful situations. On the other hand, because we have the same heavenly Father, the ties are even stronger and more powerful. There's the potential for a healthy family and loving relationships, where the members can find healing, fulfilment and discover their purpose in life.

"God sets the lonely in families" Psalm 68:6 New International Version