The Family Systems Theory

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One important theory that guides our understanding of how families operate is the Family Systems Theory. The Family Systems Theory views families as a system which is made up of interdependent individuals that function as a unit. The relationships between the members in a family are viewed as bidirectional, for example the mother’s behavior affects the child and the child’s behavior affects the mother. The Family Systems Theory functions under the assumption understanding is possible only if you view the whole, meaning that individuals behavior is only clearly understood when you examine the family system in its entirety. One key concept from the Family Systems Theory is feedback. The feedback an individual receives from their family members…show more content…
Symbolic Interactionism, which is regarded as the most influential family theory, claims that people’s behavior is based on meanings, and that these meanings are acquired through social interaction. This theory functions under the assumption that society precedes the individual. This means that society influences the individual, not the other way around, which is shown in this theory by society giving the individual meaning to symbols through socialization. One important concept of this theory is the development of self. There is the social self which refers to an individual's desire to be accepted and fit in. There is also the looking glass self, which refers to the perceptions an individual has about themselves based on others’ perceptions. This develops in three steps: anticipating how others will judge you, interacting with others, and using the feedback they provide. Roles are another important concept in this theory. Roles refer to the specific duties or traits that are applied to a group of people in society. With different roles comes different expectations, and these expectations can change over time and in different situations. The clarity of the expectations associated with a particular role affects the enactment of a role. If the individual fully understands the duties and expectations of the role they are in, the higher quality of role enactment they will experience. In addition, the more individuals, who occupy the same role, are in consensus with each other about the expectations of the role, the less likely an individual is to experience role

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