Family: The laws of the clans or the family rules. All families have rules, limits, laws and ways of enforcing family rules. All families have ways of enforcing rules, limits, and the laws of their clan.
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Family and Families
Family Rules: All Families Have Rules The Family Tree
By DH Owens
Families and their rules–we all have them but some families seem to have more rules than others.
Brenda’s family: Our familyrule was that all the girls in our family had to practice the piano everyday. Mom enforced that rule with an iron hand. Strangely enough, the boys did not have to practice the piano.
Steve’s family: Our family had strict rules about the parlor at Grandma’s. We could read there, quietly, but that was all. After all, in our family, children should be seen, not heard. That was the rule!
Susan’s family: Our family was very relaxed and seemed to have no rules–but we really did have them, of course. Our family rules were just hard for outsiders to see.
Tony’s family: Our family had a strict rule that we did not "wash our linens in public." That rule has probably kept us all secretive for life.
Rules are limits on what we can and can’t do in a family. Every family knows its own rules.
Taube Kaufman in her book The Combined Family says that enforcing rules (limits) is one of the most important functions of parents.
She writes, "Limits serve as boundaries, like the walls in a room. They can be bounced against, but they will remain standing. It is these same kinds of boundaries, or limits, that children need while they are growing up."
Rules are internalized and affect our behavior and feelings long after we have left home. Some rules may prevent a family from functioning as well as it can.
For example: A rule to suppress anger does not keep people from becoming angry. But it does assure that any one who shows anger in a family setting has broken the family rule.
Other rules which were once necessary or appropriate remain in place far past their usefulness. Families strive to maintain the status quo. This perpetuation gives the family strength and the security of continuity by telling us who we are and why.
Status quo can also be stagnating. We need both innovations and maintenance of the status quo.
Families remain forever caught between the inevitability of change and the resistance to that change. Divorce or death, of course, is a major family change.
Families usually view divorce as the end of the family and some view death in the same manner. However, that is not so.
The family endures. It changes, some of the rules even change, but it endures.
Even in divorced or widowed families, there are dynamics that continue. Single parent families operate in many of the same ways that two parent families do.
Children (including adult children) can not walk away from their family, whatever the family form, anymore than they can walk away from society itself.
Note: The opinions expressed hereinare exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position ofCyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professionalwhose advice you might need to seek.