Types of Families – Part 2

Types of Families – Part 2

We’re looking at the types of families based on the research of David Olson and his associates at the University of Minnesota, and their development of the FACES IV inventory.  In the last posting, we looked at the Cohesion scale, and now we will look at the Adaptability scale.

The Adaptability scale, or Flexibility scale looks at the quality and expression of leadership and organization in the family.  In addition, it considers role relationships and how negotiable the family rules are within the family.

At one end of the Adaptability scale is the Rigid family style.  These families are very authoritarian, and could be likened to a militant style family.  Leadership is clearly defined–everyone knows who is really in charge.  There are many specific rules, and punishment for breaking a rule is also clearly defined.  Boundaries in this family are also very rigid and since the rules are clearly defined, so are the boundaries.

In contrast, at the other end of the Adaptability scale is the Chaotic family style.  In these families, there is really no one in leadership, or else you could also say, everyone is a leader.  Real leadership is sporadic and usually comes with a brief attempt at solving a crisis.  Each individual is basically a law unto themselves.  Rules are unwritten and unspoken, and subject to change at any time.   As a result, discipline, for the most part, is missing.  People come and go as they please, and if you are an outsider observing this family, you see no patterns or order in their relationships with each other.

In the balanced zone in between the extremes on the Adaptability scale you will find the Adaptable family style.  Here leadership is clear and flexible.  The person in charge of this family can be reasoned with.  Rules are fair and sensible, so discipline is healthy and adjustable to the situation.

In this family, problems are discussed, and the discussion leads to decisions.  That’s because there is plenty of communication going on between the membersin this type family.

In the next posting, we’ll put these scales together and discuss the resulting five types of family.

Question:  Where would you put your family on the Adaptability scale?

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One Response to Types of Families – Part 2

  1. Trish says:

    Striving for adaptable but afraid I’m too close to chaotic a lot of the time. Constantly struggling not to let my son see how much chaos there still is inside of me, despite everything I’m doing to make it go away.

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