Over the years family violence has dominated the media where millions of families go through the devastating effects in the family structure. Many have attributed these forms of violence to the way society perceives women as well as their positions in the family. The women are perceived inferior and have a limited value at personal levels, which in most cases, leads to power conflicts between the man, as the head of the family, and the wife. It also leads a number of children and women to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by a member of the family (Rodriguez 173). In some instances, the victims die due to the injuries they suffer, while others remain traumatized by the whole ordeal. The children in such situations often fall victim of circumstances that include: unemployment, poverty, alcohol, drug abuse, mental illnesses or even death. Schools and mental institutions have reported an increase in children who display externalizing behavioral problems that include physical and verbal aggression, defiance, lying, stealing, truancy, delinquency, physical cruelty and other criminal activities (Schoenfeld 41). These issues bring about the difference between what a functional family and a dysfunctional family is as well as analyzing dysfunctional environments among families in the United States.
Dysfunctional families are those that are engaged in violence, conflicts, misbehavior and abuse or even neglect of the children. These families are presented by environments where parents are the major results of co-dependent adults who may also be affected by circumstances like addiction of substances such as alcohol or drugs. This may be accompanied by untreated mental illness. Traditionally, the family was considered as the core foundation and stabilizing force in the society. The media headlines have grabbed the attention of the public by reporting incidents of spouse beatings, child abuse, sexual abuse, murder, drugs and substance abuse or even alcohol related accidents. These incidents are characterized by activities or rather environments such as alcoholism, violence and other obsessive and compulsive disorders that dominate the emotional climate in millions of American families (Rodriguez 183).
Arguments, divorce, runaway children or emotional cutoff between family members have been some of the turmoil these families have undergone. Many people leave their homes with the belief that they will be able to forget their family and childhood problems. This is curtailed by the fact that even after they leave, they still face the same challenges, feelings and relationship patterns that they left the family environment (Schoenfeld 47). Families living in these types of environments fail to provide for their children’s emotional and physical needs. The communication with these families limits the children’s expression of feelings and needs. The children are noted to have low self-esteem and feel that their feelings are not being considered.