The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


How do marital problems play out in the family dynamics?

Because families are seen as integrated systems, problems in any subsystem can influence the functioning of the family as a whole. In a typical nuclear family, the marital subsystem has more power than other subsystems. Minuchin is very attuned to power hierarchies within families. In families with children, parents are necessarily on top of the hierarchy, with the most power over the system as a whole. When there are problems between the parents, this affects the rest of the family. For example the children might develop behavioral problems in response to the marital difficulties of the parents. Certainly if the parents cannot act as a coordinated team, this disrupts the family as a whole.


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