Understanding how families function is an essential part of life and provides a great deal of value for individuals, both within and outside the family unit. A deep understanding of family dynamics can have far-reaching implications, such as promoting healthy relationships between parents and children, providing better opportunities for young people to thrive in their own lives, and helping to create stronger communities.
In the United States today, traditional nuclear families—which consist of two married heterosexual adults raising children—are becoming less common (Buskirk & Siddiqui 2020). However, many nontraditional families are just as successful at nurturing their children into adulthood as traditional ones (Kissinger et al., 2014). Therefore, it is important to recognize that there is no single “ideal” family structure or functioning; rather, each family has its own unique characteristics. Understanding these differences can be beneficial for all involved by helping to facilitate strong communication between members and promoting open dialogue about issues that may arise. This can help foster greater understanding among those in the household and lead to more harmonious relationships overall.
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