The Characteristics of Dysfunctional Family

Imagine the mental condition of a child brought up in a dysfunctional family. When problems such as parental negligence, rigidity, alcoholism or abuse exist in the family, the smooth functioning of the family is disturbed, leading to constant conflicts, fights, arguments, and tension.  Dysfunctional family problems that last for years come to seem normal, many people from dysfunctional families don’t recognize what makes their family dysfunctional. The specific reasons for a significant dysfunctional family are as numerous as the families that experience it.

Characteristic #1 – Addiction

Characteristic #2 – Control

Characteristic #3 – Unpredictability and Fear

Characteristic #4 – Conflict

Characteristic #5 – Abuse

Characteristic #6 – Perfectionism

Characteristic #7 – Poor Communication

Characteristic #8 – Mental Illness

Characteristic #9 – Lack of Privacy and Independence

There is an overall climate of instability, unpredictability and fear. Home is supposed to be a safe place where one finds comfort and support, but in a dysfunctional family, home can often be a place of terror, intimidation, yelling, fighting, crying, chaos and craziness.

There are poor boundaries or no boundaries. Kids don’t have the security of limits. They don’t learn how to respect someone else’s personal space, or know when their own space is violated. They don’t learn what is appropriate and what isn’t. They don’t have a clear sense of what is expected of them. They can’t determine if their behavior (or someone else’s behavior) is “over the line” if there aren’t any lines. They have to guess at what “normal” is. There is no clear guidance or direction provided for them to help them successfully navigate their way through life.

There is a lack of structure or cohesiveness. Rules are inconsistently enforced or can change unpredictably.

If you were raised in a dysfunctional family the best thing you can do is to forgive, and realize that not all people are alike.  If however you find that it has a negative impact on your day to day living and you are not coping given the way or environment you were raised in, I strongly advise scheduling an appointment with me at

No person should endure nor forced to live with those haunting memories. Together we can explore healing methods for you or your family to regain trust and find ways to deal with the things you feel are impacting your life in a negative way on a daily basis.


Damaged children – Family breakdowns

Damaged children – Children are suffering an epidemic of mental health problems due to family breakdown, body image worries and too many school tests, a report warns today. Under far greater pressure than youngsters a generation ago, they are increasingly falling victim to depression, anxiety, eating disorders and severe anti-social behaviour, it claims. The report, based on an inquiry by the Children’s Society, reveals 10 per cent of boys aged 11 to 15 and 13 per cent of girls have mental health problems  –  a some of 300,000 damaged children in total.


300,000 damage children are suffering from mental health problems (picture posed by model) Official estimates suggest more than a million youngsters between five and 16 have a ‘clinically recognisable’ mental disorder.  Today’s report  –  compiled from the evidence of hundreds of parents, children and experts  –  paints a worrying picture of a generation forced to grow up too quickly, with mental health problems ‘on the increase’. Causes of mental health problems include poor family relationships, rampant marketing leading to pressure to look attractive, binge-drinking and over-testing at school, the report says.

It also singles out poor parenting, either by a lack of affection or the failure to show authority and set boundaries.

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What causes mood swings in teenagers?

The reason teenagers suffer from mood swings, says Professor Wood, is probably a combination of sex hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, which rewire the emotional processing areas of the brain-and the constant striving for social position and independence. “They are trying to demonstrate more independence, without being necessarily given that responsibility,” says Professor Wood.

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist and author of The Key to Calm, agrees that the constant jockeying for social position is a big factor in teenagers mood swings. “They’re trying to find out who they belong with, in terms of their peers, and how they’re unique in that group,” she says. “It consumes so much of their energy and focus, so a lot of the time they appear irritable when anyone intrudes on their thought processes.”

A lack of good quality sleep may also have something to do with mood swings. “When we get tired our emotions flood our reason,” Linda Blair says.

A good night’s sleep

Sleep changes quite rapidly in early years. “There’s a stable period when you’re a young child but then, during teen years, the normal process is that you start to reduce the amount of time you sleep“, says Dr Ian Smith, director of the sleep centre at Papworth Hospital. “You go down from 10 or 11 hours of sleep to 7 or 8 hours of sleep, which is a normal amount of sleep for adults.”

Parents often let their teenagers stay up later as an acknowledgement that they are now older, but this can happen before their sleep pattern has matured to an adult sleep pattern. “It’s actually quite common that parents can’t get their teenagers son or daughter out of bed because quite a few of them still need 10 to 11 hours sleep, but they’re going to bed at 10 or 11pm at night,” says Dr Smith.

Not getting enough sleep has a noticeable effect on mood. Research has shown that sleep deprived people are worse at handling mildly stressful situations than people who have had a good night’s rest.

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