What does family mean to you?

Part of our 3 day training course in conflict resolution skills is about values and beliefs. We spend some time exploring this topic and how different values and beliefs can contribute to conflict; different opinions, disagreements, ways of doing things. The discussion took us to the topic of families and what this can mean to different people; the make up of our families, whether we we spend time together, look after our elder members, how we integrate families together …

Scottish Widows and Centre for the Modern Family recently produced a report http://ow.ly/v52s304MYKE which considers the attitudes of and towards families in Britain. A good read and easy to see where conflict could potentially arise …

The word family is always a tricky one for me, because I am estranged from all of my blood relatives.

A book I found useful in helping me to understand my own family dynamic was ‘Families and How to Survive Them’, by Dr Robin Skynner and John Cleese. Though it’s a bit old now, I would still recommend it as a highly entertaining way to get your head around some of the roles we adopt within the family and why certain issue develop. I still sometimes refer to it when I’m trying to help someone understand certain conflicts.

Thanks for the report. I’ll have a look when I’ve got more time and look forward to seeing how this conversation develops.

Thanks Deborah, any references that individuals have found beneficial are always useful to share with others. And you are right about the word family, defining and understanding the meaning of family in the modern day is certainly one that can be quite fluid as change occurs. It would be interesting to hear other views on the word ‘family’ in the 21st century.

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