Family Systems Theory

Paper Info
Page count 6
Word count 1660
Read time 6 min
Subject Life & Experiences
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US


This essay covers a mobile representative of my own family system. It identifies components that constitute the family system with reference to relevant theoretical concepts. Specifically, the model would identify how important the component is in my life, where their roles fit in terms of ecological system’s model, and whether the system is easy or hard to balance.

Generally, my family traces its origin from Taiwan. My family consists of five members, including my father, my mother, my sister and my twin sister. I am the youngest member of the family. My father has the core role in my family system. My father runs his own store, but gets help from my mother.

A system is made up of various elements related to each other through some form of regular interactions (Brown, 1999). Thus, a family is regarded as a system because it consists of various interrelated elements, which display coherent behaviors, sustained interactions and interdependence. In addition, emotional behaviors, which make human beings social, highlight complex interaction in any family systems. For every family, it is noted that the members are emotionally linked.

Importance of the family systems components in my life

Our family is organized based on roles of each of the five members, which reflect ecological system model in our attempts to relate and function efficiently. For instance, my mother is generally responsible for caring for my sisters, working around the house, making certain decisions involving the house while my father handles the money and runs his store. To function effectively, my parents have often strived to define clear roles and ensure agreement. At the same time, they have ensured that these roles are flexible, broadly defined and can be changed when necessary.

I understand that roles in my family have been influenced by our lifestyle, size of the family and our composition, as well as our cultures and experiences in life, being immigrants. Our parents have assigned various responsibilities to us as component of training.

As the youngest sister in the family, my older siblings have played critical roles in influencing my behaviors. My roles and position, in most cases, are simply to follow directions from my older siblings. Consequently, I exhibit most of their behavioral characteristics. While there are some functional deficits, my father and mother have always strived to ensure that tasks are adequately performed. For instance, when my father express stress from the store, my mother is always willing to help and thus, avoiding overload and stress on my father. While roles and positions in our family are distinct, family member roles and responsibilities have always remained clear and flexible to accommodate unique individual needs.

Our family has created an intimate environment. However, our parents have often defined acceptable and tolerated deviations in behaviors. Thus, any moment when a violation is noted, my parents and older siblings respond to reestablish the acceptable standards and promote family systems stability.

My parents have ensured that all of us take part in ensuring family stability. For instance, whenever one of my sisters is having troubles, my parents take time to talk to her and eventually help with overcoming the challenge.

I have noted that we have family rules to guide how we interact with each other and other people outside the family unit (Office of Human Development Services, 2007). For instance, my parents tend not to argue before us and solve their problems alone. Decision-making is significantly left to adults. These families, though silent and not openly noticeable, have ensured stability, cohesiveness, good behaviors, and have ensured that we have our identity in society. Rules about going out, for instance, have changed for my older sisters, whereas they are still strictly applicable to my twin sister and me. Overall, these rules help us to live together and promote family cohesion.

Power distribution reflects ecological system model in our family (White & Klein, 2008). It helps us to make decisions and overcome challenges. While we assume that at least each member of our family has certain amount of power and influence, this is not always the case. My parents have most of the power to make decisions, protect the family interests, and ensure well-being of all family members while guarding their personal interests. Still, power is widely distributed among older sisters.

My culture has clear, rigidly defined roles of members in decision-making. Thus, my father holds most of the power, but this has changed as we grow up and societal expectation in the US. Thus, in some instances, especially on matters concerning us as children, we may contribute in decision-making. My father has insisted on a strict power pattern and relations to ensure reliability and flexibility to accommodate changing circumstances. Thus, such arrangements in our family system promote individual growth and operations of the family as a single unit.

Communication is also an important aspect in our family system (Arnold, 2007). We communicate regularly within the family to express our feelings, thoughts, roles, and rules of engagement among others. Our parents and older sisters have used communication to define family relationships. We consider both relational and contextual aspects of messages. My father, for instance, would comment positively when he likes something but maintain silence when in disapproval. These aspects of communications are well understood within our family system. Thus, my sisters may react is a specific manner to avoid upsetting our father. Communication therefore defines our relationships. We expect preferences and approval from such messages.

Easy or hard to balance system

The family system balance is a delicate one. In our family, we recognize and appreciate the fact that we all have a role to play to maintain the system. The actions of our father are most likely to affect the entire household. At this time, we experience a delicate balance in the family and, therefore, appropriate readjustment may be required. Some practices may change. For instance, a simple illness or changes in working hours may affect my father’s store activities.

This situation is most likely to have implication for every member of the family. This implies that my mother would play an active role in running the store while some of my older sisters will run the house. The situation would interfere with the family established pattern of activities. On the other hand, my father may be able to notice my mother’s potential in solely running the shop, our input at home and overall well-being of the family. These changes in our family situation imply that we must always strive to ensure the balance and effect changes on the system if necessary to manage potential negative impacts on some members of the family.

We must also balance our relationships with individuals outside the family, as well as our internal boundaries. Inside our family, for instance, we have subsystems, including parental and sibling subsystems. These boundaries are defined, clear and maintained. I tend to think that our interactions with our parents are frequent and could be engaging, but the boundaries are not blurred and therefore no confusion expected. Our family members are there to support each other. Our parents have defined rules on engagement with outsiders. For instance, there are individuals to gain access to the family, including certain neighbors, friends and relatives. I consider our family boundary to be a closed one, but open to few external relations.

As previously stated, our family traces its roots in Taiwan. Thus, it has changed through time. Sustaining these long distance relationships also reflects a delicate balance in the family system. Through all stages of stages of our family development, power distribution, roles and rules definition and communication processes, we have experienced notable transitions. However, we consider these changes as normal processes in development and not stressful for the family.

On our family, we face a transition from oriental culture to western culture. This family lifecycle is important to us as we seek to establish links with members of our extended families, colleagues and neighbors. We respect our elders and believe that their age give them control over us. I believe that we have lost much emotional contact with our relatives in Taiwan because we rarely travel home.

The family system consists of multi-generational systems and several subsystems, can only be understood within the context of time (Anderson & Sabatelli, 2010). Several past generations have influenced our family unit. Therefore, we always strive to understand our linkage among extended family members because of values, expectations and other issues that we expect to be passed from generation to generation. This issue is critical source of influence in our family, particularly in my parents. I believe that we are deeply rooted in our family system. Thus, it has been able to influence who we are, our thoughts, communications, and our perceptions about self and other individuals in contemporary society (Ferguson, 2010).

These orientations would eventually affect our marriages, love and structures of our new families. Decisions about relationships with extended families in places of origin are important for all families to avoid potential family feuds. Therefore, we have always strived to maintain positive relations, avoid cut-offs and exploit every opportunity that enhance contacts. The family as a system may require support and nurturance from extended members and other external relations.


This case covered a mobile representative of my own family system. Our family system consists of interrelated aspects, showing coherent behaviors based on sustained interactions and relationships among members. The family system consists of various elements with unique characteristics, but they depend on each other to function effectively.

My family system is a structure that shows interrelationships among various components, including relationships with my parents and older siblings, relatives and other external relations. It also highlights rules and roles of family members, communication, power distribution, multi-generational changes and decision-making. Through ecological system approach, one can understand how these elements relate and help in strengthening the family unit, promotes its stability amidst constant changes from within and without the family.


Anderson, S. A., & Sabatelli, R. M. (2010). Family Interaction: A Multigenerational Developmental Perspective (5th ed.). New York: Pearson.

Arnold, L. B. (2007). Family Communication: Theory and Research. New York: Pearson.

Brown, J. (1999). Bowen Family Systems Theory and Practice: Illustration and Critique. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT), 20(2) , 94- 103.

Ferguson, S. J. (2010). Shifting the Center: Understanding Contemporary Families (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Office of Human Development Services. (2007). Family Systems Theory. Web.

White, J. M., & Klein, D. M. (2008). Family Theories (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Cite this paper


EduRaven. (2021, October 19). Family Systems Theory. Retrieved from


EduRaven. (2021, October 19). Family Systems Theory.

Work Cited

"Family Systems Theory." EduRaven, 19 Oct. 2021,


EduRaven. (2021) 'Family Systems Theory'. 19 October.


EduRaven. 2021. "Family Systems Theory." October 19, 2021.

1. EduRaven. "Family Systems Theory." October 19, 2021.


EduRaven. "Family Systems Theory." October 19, 2021.


EduRaven. 2021. "Family Systems Theory." October 19, 2021.

1. EduRaven. "Family Systems Theory." October 19, 2021.


EduRaven. "Family Systems Theory." October 19, 2021.