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The Normal Functioning Family

What is a normal functioning family?


The term 'normal' has a broad definition but there are certain characteristics that are generally identified with a well-functioning family, also referred to as a healthy family.


It should be noted that no family is perfect; they all experience bouts of yelling, squabbles, misunderstandings, tension, hurt, and anger, but it is not constant.  

In healthy families, children and parents can make mistakes and these mistakes are accepted and they are dealt with appropriately without hurting the individual who made the mistake.

Emotional expression is allowed and accepted and family members can freely ask for and give attention.

Healthy families allow each member to pursue his or her own interests, and they encourage each other in the development of their various talents.  One child in the family might like music, while another child might be athletic and another might prefer to debate.  They are all encouraged and supported in their chosen area of talent.


Children are consistently treated with respect, and they do not fear emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. Parents can be counted on to provide care for their children. Children are given responsibilities appropriate to their age and are not expected to take on adult responsibilities.

The healthy family has open communication and everyone in the family feels a sense of belonging and the love that exists provides feelings of  security and each person within the family feels important, valued and respected.


You will also find that there is ample humour and fun in the healthy family despite the hectic daily demands that are still to be met.  The family has rules which everyone knows and respect, but in most cases, the rules are flexible and can be bent to suit a particular situation. Eg.  Bed time might be at eight o'clock for the children during the school week, but in the event of a day off from school, children might get to stay up later.


Children in healthy families know that they can speak to their parents and rely on them for everything.  On the other hand, the parents know and respect their role and responsibilities to each other and to the children and they do their best to honour such roles.


Healthy families have structure and rules and because of that each member knows how far they can go and what is expected of them.

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