Family Articles

You can choose your friends, as the saying goes. While it is indeed possible for people who essentially start out as strangers to get along and love each other, these kinds of bonds do not form automatically nor overnight.

Why Do I Cry When I Get Mad?

Have you ever gotten so mad that you start to cry? The anger builds and builds until it bubbles over. And you want it to seem righteous and dignified until your eyes betray...

She Wants Children/He Doesn’t: Can The Relationship Work?

Relationships are filled with highs and lows. One of the most tangible aspects of any relationship is communication. It’s not tangible in the physical sense but in an emotional...

How To Cope With A Narcissistic Family Member

The word “narcissist” is often thrown around to describe difficult personalities. But in reality, although many people may demonstrate certain narcissistic qualities or...

How Can Stepfamilies Achieve Success?

On many occasions, stepfamilies face unique challenges when it comes to achieving success. The extent and gravity of challenges can depend upon how big the stepfamily is,...

Seven Ways To Thrive As A Step Family

The process of learning how to thrive as a stepfamily is an art. It takes a good amount of trial and error and a lot of patience. Depending on which parental role you are in,...

My Husband Chooses His Family Over Me. What Can I Do?

When you get married, typically, you leave your parents’ home and join your spouse. But the in-laws are still just a phone call away. And, while in moderation, a phone call...

The Most Common Dysfunctional Family Characteristics, How To Spot Them, And What Can Be Done

For people involved in a dysfunctional family, it can be especially difficult to realize and clearly see the dysfunctional characteristics present in their family. Dysfunctions...

Are You The Family Scapegoat? Signs You May Be, And What You Can Do About It

Tolstoy once said: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its way.” Dysfunction in the family unit can take almost as many forms as a snowflake...

How To Stop Thinking About Your Crush

Remember your first high school crush? Sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach, a fast heartbeat that feels like it’s going to pop out of your chest? You constantly daydreamed...

What Is A Family Of Origin? Definition, Perspectives, And Importance On Your Relationships

Much is said about how childhood trauma and triumphs can influence your health, relationships and self-esteem in adulthood. Childhood is far more than just your experiences...

Recognizing the Signs of Enmeshed Family Relationships and How to Manage

Enmeshment is a dysfunctional relationship style that’s characterized by too-close relationships. This style is usually found between family members. Although closeness...

Family Therapy: Theories, Modalities, And Efficacy

Family therapy is a form of therapy in which an entire family is engaged in therapy, to reach a group resolution, rather than an individual seeking out personalized therapy...


What is family?

The definition of family in the traditional sense is "a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not." Family definitions vary, however, and there are more kinds of families than just the traditional family unit. When we hear the word, "family," we often think of a person's immediate blood-related family members. 

What kinds of families are there? 

  • There are many kinds of families. Family can relate to any of the following: 
  • Nuclear or traditional families 
  • Extended family (family members outside of your immediate family) 
  • Single-parent families (families with only one parental figure present) 
  • Stepfamilies 
  • Childless families 
  • Family by choice (which is often comprised of a group of people that aren't related by blood such as friends and romantic partners)

All families are unique and have different structures, traditions, and ways of being. Some people have an excellent, stable relationship with their nuclear or traditional family, whereas other people consider their central family to be the people that they chose to include in their lives as a part of their family by choice. 

What if I'm not close to my immediate family? 

If you're not close to your immediate family, it's okay. You may find yourself building a family of your own or establishing a family of choice with those who are not related by blood. Not everyone is born into a stable family environment, and ultimately, you have to do what's best for you. Particularly if your family is or was abusive, you may find yourself straying from them, and that is perfectly okay and healthy. It doesn't make you "less than," and it doesn't mean that you won't have close connections in life with people that you consider family. Family, again, can mean so many different things. Having close connections and a healthy level of support is what matters the most.

Conflict in families

All families fight from time to time, but if your household feels uneasy on a continual basis, it might be time to see a therapist. You can see a therapist or counselor on an individual level and talk about family issues and any other stressors in your life, or you can decide to see a mental health provider together as a family. A marriage and family therapist can help you learn to work together as a unit and resolve issues together. In therapy, your family members will all get a chance to speak their mind. You will get to know your family members better and will learn how to ensure that everyone's needs are met and that everyone is heard. 

What if my family doesn't like my spouse or partner?

Let's say that you are in a healthy committed relationship with your partner that is truly good for you, but is not supported by your family. Family members often have strong opinions about the spouses of the individuals within the unit. Particularly if this is an issue within your immediate family, they may voice their opinions in a way that is hurtful to you. In this case, what you can do is set a boundary with your family. Family members don't always make it easy to set boundaries. However, you have every right to do so and don't need to do it in a way that is unkind or abrasive. 

Get help 

Therapy is an excellent place to work through family issues of any kind. When it comes to family, family therapists are likely your best bet in terms of what to look for when finding a new provider. However, if you are looking to talk to someone one on one about other issues, you might explore other options that are more unique to your needs. Whether you see someone online or in your local area, it's important to ask for help when you need it. The providers at Regain are here to help you and your family members work through any obstacles so that you can maintain a healthy family unit.

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.