Alle gute Gabe und alle vollkommene Gabe kommt von oben herab, von dem Vater des Lichts… Die Bibel

Becoming a Happy Family

Erstellt von William

12. Dezember 2020

Roles play an extremely important part in healthy family functioning. Most researchers agree that the establishment of clear roles within a family is directly connected to a family’s ability to deal with day-to-day life, unforeseen crises, and the normal changes that occur in families over time.

Since so much of what shapes a young person’s future is often determined by what they experience within a family, it’s worth spending time on this vital topic. Within a family, each person takes on a unique role and set of responsibilities. For the family to develop supportive relationships, healthy communication, mutual respect and teamwork, it’s important for each member to understand roles and responsibilities. Young people can help the family grow in positive directions.


Roles play an extremely important part in healthy family functioning. Most researchers agree that the establishment of clear roles within a family is directly connected to a family’s ability to deal with day-to-day life, unforeseen crises, and the normal changes that occur in families over time. Family Roles are patterns of behavior by which individuals fulfill family functions and needs.

 Types of Family Roles

Family roles are the recurrent patterns of behavior by which individuals fulfill family functions and needs. Individual members of families occupy certain roles such as child, sibling, grandchild. Along with roles come certain social and family expectations for how those roles should be fulfilled. For example, parents are expected to teach, discipline, and provide for their children. And children are expected to cooperate and respect their parents.

As family members age, they take on additional roles, such as becoming a spouse, parent, or grandparent. A person’s role is always expanding or changing, depending upon his or her age and family stage.

Instrumental and Affective Roles

Individuals within a family have both instrumental and affective roles to fulfill. Each serves an important function in maintaining healthy family functioning. Instrumental roles are concerned with the provision of physical resources (e.g., food, clothing, and shelter), decision-making and family management. Affective roles exist to provide emotional support and encouragement to family members. Both sets of roles must be present for healthy family functioning. In addition, families must also consider issues of roles allocation and accountablility.


There are many roles within a family; however, researchers have identified the following five roles as being essential for a healthy family.

Provision of Resources

Providing resources, such as money, food, clothing, and shelter, for all family members is one of the most basic, yet important, roles within a family. This is primarily an instrumental role.

Nurturance and Support

Nurturing and supporting other family members is primarily an affective role and includes providing comfort, warmth, and reassurance for family members. Examples of this role are a parent comforting a child after he/she has a bad day at school, or family members supporting one another after the death of a loved one.

Life Skills Development

The life skills development role includes the physical emotional, educational, and social development of children and adults. Examples of this role are a parent helping a child make it through school, or a parent helping a young adult child decide on a career path.

Maintenance and Management of the Family System

This fourth role involves many tasks, including leadership, decision making, handling family finances, and maintaining appropriate roles with respect to extended family, friends and neighbors. Other responsibilities of this role include maintaining discipline and enforcing behavioral standards.

Sexual Gratification of Marital Partners

A satisfying sexual relationship is one of the keys to a quality marital relationship. This role involves meeting sexual needs in a manner that is satisfying to both spouses.

Vater und Kind


The assigning and carrying out of family roles can be a difficult task, requiring tremendous effort on the part of individual family members. However, listed below are some guidelines that can help families make this process easier, leading to healthier functioning.

Establish Clear Roles

Roles should be clearly identifiable. Individual family members must know and acknowledge their roles and responsibilities. For example, in healthy families, mothers and fathers have a clear understanding of their role as parents. They are to provide physical resources (e.g., food, clothing, shelter), discipline, and a supportive, nurturing environment that facilitates their children’s physical and emotional development. Families that are having difficulties often find that their family roles are not well defined and individual members do not understand what is expected of them. Establishing clear roles helps a family function more effectively because each member knows what he/she is expected to accomplish. If these individuals fail to fulfill their roles then other family members might have to do extra work, making them feel resentful and overburdened, thus hurting the functioning of the family.

Allow for Flexibility

Flexibility in roles is essential in a healthy family. Family roles naturally change over time. They also may change during times of crisis, such as when a family member becomes seriously ill or unexpectedly dies. The difference between healthy and unhealthy families in these situations is the healthy family’s ability to adjust and adapt, which often requires a temporary or permanent shift in roles. In the case of illness or death, it is sometimes necessary for other family members to take on additional roles (e.g., becoming a financial provider). Flexibility in roles is essential in a healthy family.

Allocate Roles Fairly

In healthy families, every member is responsible for fulfilling certain roles. These roles are spread among the various members so that no one is asked to take on too many responsibilities. Problems arise if one family member is forced to fulfill too many roles. An example of this is when fulltime working mothers are expected to take care of the children and complete the majority of household tasks with little assistance from other family members. It is important to discuss, as a family, each member’s understanding of the roles he or she has been assigned. If someone feels overburdened and unable to fulfill that particular role, then changes may be needed. In healthy families, children are required to take on appropriate roles of responsibility within the family.

Be Responsible in Fulfilling Family Roles

Families that function well have members who take their roles seriously and do their best to fulfill their duties. Members who fail to take their roles seriously, or who refuse to carry out their roles, can create significant problems for the entire family. An example of failing to fulfill a role is when a parent does not provide adequate physical and emotional support for his/her children. There are many problems that can result from this failure, including behavior problems, depression, and low self-esteem. Willingness to take responsibility for one’s roles contributes to a healthy family.

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