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What Factors Affect Family Life and Relationships?

Divorce can force a restructuring of a family.
The financial health of a family can have a big impact on its dynamics.
Alcohol or drug addiction can alter a family's relationship with an individual member.
Unhealthy families can have negative or even toxic family lifestyles.
Uncontrolled emotions can damage a relationship.
The inability to effectively communicate can have a large impact on family life.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2014
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There are a number of factors that affect family life and relationships, both those within the family and outside the family. Family lifestyle is one of these factors that encompasses a number of smaller issues including everything from the eating habits of the people in the family to the way they communicate with each other, and even the kinds of friends they have. Another significant factor is the structure of the family itself, such as whether it is a two-parent or single-parent family, or whether additional step-parents are part of the extended family. Socioeconomic status is another extremely significant factor since this is related to the amount of income a family has, as well as where and how they live.

The personalities and individual issues of people in the family certainly affect family life and relationships. If one member has a temper, for example, arguments might be more common, leading to strained family relationships. More serious family issues, such as abusive people in the family, or people with addictions to drugs or alcohol, can also lead to problems. Other factors can affect relationships in both positive and negative ways, such as when couples separate, divorce, or remarry.

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Changes in family structure are one of the most significant factors that affect family life and relationships. When a couple divorces, or a single individual or single parent gets married, it becomes necessary to restructure the family dynamic, and each member of the family will have to get used to the new structure. Kids frequently have a difficult time adjusting to changes in family life such as this. Often it will be necessary to find new ways of communicating to ensure everyone gets along as well as possible.

Another large factor is finance. Changes in employment status, for example, can have a big impact; it can also affect where people live, where children go to school, or the type of home that a family lives in. Social pressures from the neighborhood may change the dynamic as well. Even smaller things, such as activities that the family enjoys doing together, can be changed based on a variation in employment status or finances within the family. These are just some of the largest factors affecting family life and relationships; every family is different, and different situations or changes within the family can have a smaller or larger impact on certain relationships than others.

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disciples
Post 7

Does anyone have any information about the lasting effects of divorce on family relationships. I am 19 and my parents split up three months ago. I am away at college and away from a lot of the drama, but I am still really struggling to figure out what my family is now. Are we still a unit, or do I have two families now?

summing
Post 6

One issue that can have a major affect on family life and relationships is money. Unfortunately, I have experience with this first hand. My brothers and I ran a family business that was started by our father for many years. Three years ago we were forced to close down and it has strained the entire extended family.

Some of us were better prepared than others and there is a lot of blame about what caused the business to close. My brothers and I have always had a great relationship, but for long periods we have avoided speaking to each other. I wish that money didn't have such a powerful effect, but it can corrode even the strongest relationships.

Crispety
Post 3

@Cafe41 - I think that if a member of the extended family moves away, it also affects the family dynamic. For example, my sister recently moved to New York City spending about 70% of her time there while the remaining 30% of her time in Miami.

This does affect how often I see her. For example, we used to have dinner once a week, now we may see each other a few times a year. It is really a drastic change in the relationship.

I also had my mother in law move closer to us, so we are spending more time with her. I think that this is what happens in a lot of extended families because people are always coming and going.

cafe41
Post 2

@SauteePan - I know what you mean. My husband's family relationship tree is really extended because his mother married three times and so did his father.

He has a variety of step siblings and half siblings that really makes for a large family gathering during the holidays. I think that he had relationship problems with his stepmother because according to him she never seemed to have treated him the same way that she did her biological children.

I think that blended families are really challenging because feelings like this almost always happen. Family counseling for a family like this can really make a distressed family work better together.

I read that this is why second marriages traditionally have a 70% divorce rate which is why family therapy is critical when a blended family is involved.

SauteePan
Post 1

I think that families that spend a lot of time together really tend to seem more cohesive. I know that I am always with my immediate family and love spending time with my husband and children. We are very close and my husband and I always go to our children's school functions and soccer games.

I do have relationship problems with my sister though which tends to strain our relationship because she tries to undermine my rules with my children because she feels that she knows more than I do about raising children.

She is very critical and does not understand why my children have to read every day and go to supplemental math program twice a week for enrichment.

She raised her son differently which I don’t criticize but education is a priority for me and I want my children to have a competitive edge in school.

I really want them to live up to their potential which is something that my sister doesn’t understand. I think when family member either from the immediate family or extended family do not respect a person’s beliefs it can lead to a lot of problems.

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