Conflict in the family Essay

Family systems theory considers the family as one emotional unit of a group of individuals that are interconnected and interdependent from each other but is not effective if viewed in isolation from each other (Bowen 2000). Each member definitely has a role to play and house rules and authority to respect within the boundaries of the system. The developed behavior pattern is caused by and causes other family member’s behavior at the same time maintaining the same predictable pattern of behavior all throughout the life of the family system.

This behavior may lead to a balance in the family system but has a tendency to dysfunction if disrupted with disagreements and conflicts within the members believed to be intensely interconnected emotionally.

Family members solicit each other’s attention, approval, and support. They are seen to react to each other’s needs, expectations, and distress profoundly affecting each other’s thoughts, feelings and actions. The interdependence functioning of the family system is explained by their connectedness and reactivity. This is obviously demonstrated when a change in the persons function is predictably followed by a reciprocal change in the function of other members. Although members of the family unit differ in their degree of interdependence, they are always present for each other to some degree of mutual support. The emotional interdependence evolves to promote its cohesiveness and cooperation to protect, shelter, and feed their members.

Conflict in the family

Conflict within the family siblings would mean opposing views regarding specific issues. Parental intervention may develop a resolution method to attempt to manage conflicting views through negotiation or plainly avoiding conflict by recognition of the disagreement which does not need any further action to be taken at that time. In many cases of family conflict between siblings, parents would want to build an agreement which aims to work for both siblings pertaining schedule or use of certain things that brought the conflict. Over time the conflict seems to duplicate events in differing subjects as a natural course of family life history.

The existence of conflict may lead to personal and professional growth as long as it is being resolved effectively especially if it concerns opposing views between a parent and a child. Family members will develop stronger mutual respect and renewed faith in their own goals without undermining other member’s efforts and contribution. It makes siblings relationship strongly bonded turning it into an effective coordinated teamwork. Effective communication pattern in family decision making process disagreements nurtures change and development in terms of the systems of interaction between family members with great emphasis on psychological, emotional health and well being of each member.

Family conflict and the movie Kramer vs. kramer

Family conflicts when left unresolved by ineffective communication patterns do not give any feedbacks as to the emotional status of the parties concern especially the adults. Feedback is the only way one can produce change in a system. If one of the partners is insensitive while the other one withdraws and hides emotions, like Joanna and Ted Kramer, then the relationship will flow in separate directions (Benton 1978). Still the love and the respect and care for each other exist inexplicably amidst the custody court case of Billy.

If conflicts between family members were not addressed at an earlier stage it will make the system completely dysfunctional as portrayed by Joanna walking out on Ted. It portrays the role of Joanna functioning as mother and father to Billy while Ted is always out on his job. The family system automates the adult partner to assume the obligation and the responsibilities of the other partner when he does not have enough time to perform his obligations to his sibling. The members support and care for each other amidst emotional imbalance brought about by the conflict.

A question and its rationale

The concept of intense positive emotional involvement transformation into intense negative emotion signifies the involvement of highest level of attachment, affection, and commitment characterized by the intensity, complexity, and duration of relationships of each member bonded together within the family system. This intensity suggests that managing conflicts in families is much difficult at times where consequences are predicted to be more damaging. What makes a battered wife stay with his husband despite the intensity of the situation? Why do most abused children prefers to stay with their abusive parent? What makes betrayed wives practiced martyrdom and stay with their gallivanting husbands?

The ambivalence of family relationships makes each member perform the dimensions of love and hate at the same time including respect, friendship, resentment, jealousy, rivalry, and disapproval. Frequent display of bonding behavior may help lessen intensity of family conflict yet still largely depending on which dimension is most active within the systems emotional structure. amily relationships last a lifetime which declares that a person’s parents and siblings will always be who they are, being a parent and a sibling. Some families who have a lot of conflict may still have the ability to function well. All families go through a conflict where they are often insular in form. This means obeying their own rules and resisting outside interference. These often lead to long, tangled, and painful conflicts often resulting to extremities such as domestic violence or divorce.


Benton, R. (1978). Kramer vs. Kramer. Retrieved May 12, 2007


Bowen Center for the Study of Family (2000). Bowen theory. Retrieved May 12, 2007