In many ways, dysfunctional families are becoming the "new norm" in our society, affecting families in and outside the church. In this ebook, June Hunt explains the signs, characteristics, and impact dysfunctional families have on children's attitudes and behavior—revealing the ugly truth that dysfunction often produces more dysfunction. She presents practical ways to break the generational cycle of dysfunction—giving those who come from this background hope and equipping those who minister to them (pastor, church leader, or friend) with practical insight on how to help. Coming from a dysfunctional family can often make a person feel helpless—doomed to repeat the same mistakes and behaviors as their parents. June emphasizes that change is possible. Using the familiar Bible story of Joseph and his brothers, June reveals how God can use one family member yielded to Him to change the dynamics of an entire family. She also tells the remarkable true story of Catherine Brown Deeken, a woman who grew up in a shattered home with 2 alcoholics, but who now (through the grace of God) runs Rainbow Days, a ministry which supports over 65,000 children who are living in high-risk situations. Compassionate in its approach, rich with scripture, and easy-to-understand, this ebook explains how to reverse the impact of unhealthy family relationships • Includes a quick overview and key definitions. Answers— What is a dysfunctional family? What is a "functional" family? What are the dysfunctional family roles? How does being raised in a dysfunctional family affect future relationships? • Reveals signs, symptoms, and common characteristics of a dysfunctional family. Explains the 8 dominant traits characterized by dysfunctional families, including chaos, control, denial, inconsistency, emotional indifference, instability, shame, and unpredictability. • Explains how unresolved conflicts in the past often cause children to repeat the dysfunctional behavior of their parents. Includes a checklist to see if you—or someone you know—is showing signs of unresolved conflict. • Provides dozens of step-by-steps suggestions and practical ways to replace "old mindsets and behaviors" from unhealthy family relationships with God's truth. What Is a Dysfunctional Family? • A dysfunctional family is one where improper and immature behavior of at least one parent damages the growth of individuality and healthy relational skills among family members. • A dysfunctional family is one where family members are negatively affected emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. • A dysfunctional family is one where everyone is negatively affected even when only one family member experiences a problem. Dysfunctional Families Produce Dysfunctional Families Dysfunction looks different in each family. Here are some of the ways dysfunction can creep into the family unit: • Overly possessive or faultfinding parents • Poor organization or overly rigid structure • Inconsistent and indecisive parents • Emotionally abandoned children (including emotional abuse) • Overly rigid structure or lacking parental authority How Do Kids Cope? 4 Dysfunctional Family Roles Children Adopt When parents are unable to manage their lives, children learn to cope by playing specific roles in the family or "acting out" in damaging ways. Typically, the child will adopt one of four roles: • The Responsible Child The "hero" tries to fix the family problems and help create a positive family image through noteworthy achievement. This child receives positive attention but often develops perfectionistic, compulsive behaviors. • The Rebellious Child The "scapegoat" draws focus away from the family's problems and onto himself or herself with rebellious, uncontrollable behavior. This child consumes time and energy from the family members and often develops self-destructive life patterns. • The Reclusive Child The "lost child" hopes that by ignoring family problems, the difficulties will go away. This child avoids attention and is often lonely and withdrawn. • The Reveling Child The "clown" uses humor and antics to direct the focus away from family problems. This child is often highly active or hyperactive and usually seeks to be the center of attention. A child may even display a combination of these traits or progress through different stages as they attempt to manage their emotional pain…just seeking to survive. To find out more about the coping devices children us, check out June Hunt's Dysfunctional Family. How can I accept and let go of my dysfunctional past? Life is a series of choices! Here's just a few choices you (and those you are helping) can make to begin breaking free from the influence of your past. I will… • Give Christ first place in my heart. Ask Jesus to be Lord of my life. Accept His forgiveness and love. Be aware of His constant presence within me. Allow Him to lead in all I say and do. • Give thought to my present dysfunctional characteristics. Pray for God to reveal my weaknesses. Pray for wisdom to understand how to change. Pray that I will draw on Christ, who is my strength, to make changes. Pray for wise and discerning friends to enlighten and encourage me. • Give myself boundaries. Define who I am: "I am a child of God," and who I am not: "I am not a piece of property." Refuse to be manipulated or mistreated and learn to say, "No." Stop playing the victim: "As an adult, I am not powerless." • Give up resentment Consider the consequences of unforgiveness. Confess my own areas of unforgiveness. Contemplate the sins for which I have received forgiveness. Choose to forgive and keep on choosing to forgive. "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." (1 Corinthians 13:11) The dynamics of dysfunction are detrimental to the family. Discover how to cultivate your family now for the generations that follow as you establish and apply the principles of biblical truth in your own family. Look for all 36 titles in the Hope For The Heart Biblical Counseling Library. These mini-books are for people who seek freedom from codependency, anger, conflict, verbal and emotional abuse, depression, or other problems.