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6 Family Behaviors That Are Totally Dysfunctional

How to spot them and deal with them productively

By Caila Ball and

Dysfunction No. 3: Fighting dirty  Some family members always seem to be in the boxing ring. There is room for disagreements within families, but only if everyone learns to fight fairly.

"Make your point and keep it simple," says Novell. Becoming abusive, immature or obstinate during a disagreement eliminates the chances of the fight resulting in a productive outcome.

(MORE: A Final Flight for a Daughter and Her Irrepressible Mother)

Dysfunction No. 4: Dependency-driven resentment  Having cared for your children when they were young, you may hold the expectation that they, too, will care for you when you need it. Be wary of relying on your children to take you in, however, without fully hashing out details and any lingering issues or arguments between all parties involved.

Even disagreements from the past you believe have blown over may come to the forefront with the topic of co-habitation — along with resentment and other emotions you may not even be aware of. “[Grandparents] may be taken by surprise at how their children feel toward them,” says Novell.


Dysfunction No. 5: Relative strangers  For grandparents, distance, limited time, family conflict, and any number of other factors may be obstacles in developing strong relationships with granchildren. Despite an increased effort to bond, your grandchild may treat you as a bit of an outsider. “It’s not rejection, but it’s a different developmental aspect of the child getting to know that grandparent,” says Novell.

Caila Ball Read More
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