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Dysfunctional family is a disastrous unit where repeated malfunctioning is a rule. Its effects can be realized far later, when they achieve an enormous form of destructive psychological effects on children. The sub-standard environment meted out to the child by such parents may (in some cases) be attributed to the unpleasant memories of their own childhood.

Characteristics of a Dysfunctional Family
  • Lack of trust and absence of security
  • Absence of the feeling of love and belonging
  • Lack of understanding between family members
  • Parents fail to nurture and support the children
  • Needs and desires of the child are always neglected
  • Verbal, physical, or sexual abuse may be a part of the family
  • Family member(s) create an "unpredictably unhealthy environment"
  • Disputes develop on petty issues, like, money, love, work, or almost anything
  • Negative dealing of stressful situations
  • Family values and rules are rigid and illogical
  • In rare cases, overprotecting the child may cause an adverse effect
Serious Impact on Child Psychology
Parents' distorted attitudes can have a traumatic effect on the children. Such unnatural relationships gradually become the norms of the child's life. While adapting to deficient parents, every child displays different manifestations. Some of the following traits may be visible singly or in combination in the affected child:
  • Feeling of loneliness
  • Being too hard on oneself
  • Finding it hard to relax and enjoy
  • Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Extremist responses and decisions
  • Problems forming intimate relationships
  • Adopting themselves to abusive relations
  • More concerned in helping others, apprehensive to seek approval
  • Taking over more than they can handle
  • Incompetent handling of anger, frustration, and hatred
Children Conforming to Atypical Roles
Child having a sensitivity threshold that's very low may exhibit disorders, like, study problems, drug or alcohol addiction, and other disturbances in the family. In some cases, the family dysfunction is attributed to the child even if he is not causing significant trouble (the truth maybe otherwise though difficult to prove). Some growing kids can use humor to rescue themselves, and act as an entertainer in groups, while few love to stay in complete social isolation. Rarely, some children play more than one of the above roles causing increasing pain and confusion.

Good Parenting - Spot the Tell-tale Signs
None of the parents wish to really hurt their children by choice, but they should 'intentionally' be more sensitive to the child's feelings. Family disputes are an inevitable part of life, but it should not be an accepted pattern. Each family member should also preserve his own space and not invade others', and still be able to express freely, discuss, and opine. Parents need to focus on the plight of the problem child, who will manifest as either - the over-achiever or the silent sufferer. However, there is one thing in common that can be enforced to each of these personality types - a sincere attempt to understand them, the attitude of being more like a friend than being a parent or sibling.

Support their Needs and Help the Child Recover
Seeking support from parents, friends, and other companions whom the child can trust, helps a lot. Encourage the children to express their feelings, and most importantly, keep them away from deficient members who are likely to hurt. Be patient, react optimistically despite your limitations. A break from daily chores, involvement in recreational activities, and pursuing a favorite hobby can work wonders for the entire family.

One prominent accomplishment of a difficult childhood is that, the child is fine-tuned to being adjustable, and that helps him pull through adversity. The best way to prevent dysfunctional relationship is to detect it at the earliest, find ways to cope with it through communicating, counseling, and transform the conflict into a productive life plan. Empowering yourself through this tough situation will transform you into an outstanding person and help live life to the fullest.