Families are now often shaped by divorce, isolation from other generations of the family and constituted by step-parents, step-children and step-siblings. All of the these mean that many of us now live in blended families with unrelated individuals with different belief systems and who have been shaped by different experiences and family rules.
Children and teenagers also have significantly more freedom than previous generations and whilst freedom and choice can be positive, both come with responsibility – something parents can find hard to instil in children at times.
What has not changed is that it is in our families where we develop and establish a relationship to ourselves and others. Families can either be nurturing safe places where we learn about exploration, respect and boundaries, all the way through to abusive, toxic environments where self-expression and boundaries are non-existent. And statistically over half of us grow up in families and with relationships to our primary caregivers where we do feel safe, secure and wholly loved.
If your family felt like a difficult environment whilst you were growing up then you may feel anxious about starting a family of your own. Through working through how your family of origin has affected you and bringing into awareness the unspoken rules that were taught and passed down in your own family of origin, you can start to take more conscious choices about what may be being repeated in the here-and-now of your own family.