Family Systems Essay

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The Effects of Healthy Family Systems and Childhood Development Danielle Whitebread HSCO 502- Liberty University Family systems are important in children’s growth and development for many reasons. Murray Bowen, John Bowlby and Erik Erickson’s theories of family systems, attachment and trust describe how family systems are important to a child’s physical, emotional, spiritual and social development. The family systems theory was originally introduced by Dr. Murray Bowen. Dr. Bowen’s theory was used more in the clinical setting as a therapy involving the entire family system. Bowen’s theory explained that instead of one being seen as an individual, they were a part of a larger group; a family system. Within a family system, each member has their own role and the entire system has a set of rules which they follow. Within this family system there are also boundaries and limitations which may cause dysfunction at times. For example, if a mother becomes depressed and the father has to assist in her role, the family’s roles will change and upon adaptation of the role shift, it may cause a sense of dysfunction (Caffery & Erdman, 2003). John Bowlby adopted the family systems approach theory in relation to his attachment theory. Bowlby’s theories focused more on attachment styles whereas Bowen’s theory was centered specifically on the family as an organization. Bowlby theorized that children have the most successful development within an extended family system. He also believed that the child’s interactions with their caregivers within the first few years of their lives shaped their views of themselves and interactions with others (Blewitt & Broderick, 2015, p. 117). Bowlby in particular believed that the family system was important for a child’s growth and development. He developed the attachment theory which he described as an “internal
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