Understanding Family Dynamics

Familial relationships are amongst the first, and therefore, most foundational relationships of one’s life. With this, it is becoming increasingly important to be aware of their effects on children because of associated lasting outcomes. Parents are encouraged to understand family dynamics, not only to improve their relationships, but also to enhance their child’s life. 

Defining Family Dynamics

To help families better understand ways to promote healthier family dynamics, the National Center for Biotechnology Information first clearly defined the term as, “the patterns of interactions among relatives, their roles and relationships, and the various factors that shape their interactions”. The NCBI article explains issues in family dynamics that are of concern, such as health, wellness, and recovery outcomes, as well as the clinical significance of the topic, which focuses on health-related outcomes. 

Why Are Family Dynamics Important?

In the existing research, the impact on health outcomes becomes critical in why healthy, adaptive family dynamics are important. Marital satisfaction can support the health and well-being of parents, which translates to more adaptive parent-child relationships that provide a multitude of positives, including cognitive, behavioral, physical, and mental health  (Lincoln, 2015). For more information on how to promote healthy family dynamics to achieve positive health outcomes for all members of the family, view the articles provided by healthychild.org on family dynamics. Some particularly helpful linked articles include:

  • Family Relationships: This short video shows Dr. Michael Rich explaining the value and importance that parent and sibling relationships hold in a child’s life. He also gives some helpful suggestions on ways to foster strong bonds within your family.
  • Normal Functioning Family: While there is no such thing as a “normal family”, this article explains the basic elements that are found to promote healthy family functioning.
  • Feeling Overwhelmed With Parenting Demands?: Knowing that being a parent can often be overwhelming and stressful, this article offers some tips and tricks on how to bring it back down when you’re feeling maxxed out. 

Series Navigation

The Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series highlights several early childhood topics to support parents and caregivers who are caring for young children. Use the list below to navigate through each series topic:

Learn more about the series.

Request free printed materials from our Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series.


Picture: A young baby looks up at the camera.
Line separator