Conflict in the Family

Introduction: Family

Family is regarded as the basic unit of the society. It is primarily composed of the father, mother and their children. Also there are two classification of a family, namely: immediate and extended family. The former refers to a classification of a family wherein the members are exclusively constituted of the fundamental members which are the father, mother and children. On the other hand the latter pertains to the family members who are either from the father’s side or the mother’s side. (White & Klein, 2002)

Family is said to be the foundation of the society because this is where the initial social order is patterned. Like the government, the power and authority is vested upon the ruler or leader. Likewise, in the family the bearer of power and authority is either the father or the mother (traditionally, the former is considered as the norm). Moreover, the children are the subordinates of their parents. However, the difference between the government in the family and the government in the society is that the former expressed more care and love rather than the latter.

Family Systems Theory

Family Systems Theory refers to the idea that the family organizes and arrange itself so as to perform everyday jobs and responsibilities. Most likely in family systems, the members of the family have given their daily tasks and roles in the house. (Broderick, 2002) Basically, the father and the mother are the head of the house. They manage, guide, direct and discipline their children in any manner that they can.

They distribute tasks for their children to perform in order to maintain order in the house. For example, if the father and the mother are way from home, the eldest child would take charge in managing the house as well as his siblings. Another example is that the daughters most likely assume her mother’s role when the latter is not in home. Likewise the sons should do their father’s work when the latter is at work or simply away from home.

In examining family systems, one can notice that in a way, there is this hierarchy among the members of the family. (Broderick, 2002) Normally or in patriarchal form of society, the father is the head of the house hence he holds the supreme authority over family matters. However, because it is the father’s duty to feed his family, the mother takes over to manage and direct the children.

The mother is also asked to do the household errands with her children to help her. The eldest child assumes the position of his/her father and mother when they are not around. The younger children should obey the eldest child as how they respect and follow their father and mother. Basically, this is how the family system goes.

Conflict in the family arises when the family or one of the family members go against such order or when one of the family members does not perform his or her function in the family. It is to be noted that as a family system, a family is viewed as a whole and not individually. Therefore, if one of the members suffers from a certain distress, the whole family can be expected to be also affected. Emotional bonding is quite definitive in the family system. Communication plays a very important role in family dwellings. More often, miscommunication and misunderstandings are the chief causes of family conflicts. (Cox & Brooks-Gunn, 1998)

One of the questions that can be asked in relation to the family systems is that to what extent the family system should be applied given the fact that every members of the family has also private or personal affairs. Does it follow that every member of the family should always appeal to what his or her family dictates? Analysis on this particular question is important because it sets the limitations of the family systems with regards to individual’s personal or private relationships.

This only suggested that even if we are all part of a family we still have our special activities that are detached from the family system. Definitely, it is important that such question should be answered in order to prevent the rise of conflict originating from this particular dilemma.


Broderick, C. B. (2002). Understanding Family Process: Basics of Family Systems Theory Sage Publications, Inc

Cox, M. J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1998). Conflict and Cohesion in Families: Causes and Consequences (First edition ed.): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

White, J. M., & Klein, D. M. (2002). Family Theories: An Introduction (Second edition ed.): Sage Publications, Inc.