The Family Classification And Definition Theology Religion Essay Example
The Family Classification And Definition Theology Religion Essay Example

The Family Classification And Definition Theology Religion Essay Example

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  • Pages: 17 (4599 words)
  • Published: September 21, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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Children worldwide encounter various challenges, encompassing essential necessities such as food and relief from suffering. Furthermore, they confront even more formidable hurdles stemming from war, poverty, natural disasters (like floods and earthquakes), along with epidemics like cholera outbreaks, HIV/AIDS pandemics, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and malnutrition.

Children encounter various hardships that lead them to cry and turn to adults for assistance. The family holds immense importance in all of these trials. It is commonly stated that "A strong family results in a thriving Church, which ultimately creates a prosperous nation." This highlights the role of the household in nurturing and fortifying children.

The main characters in this text are the father and mother, with a focus on the mother. Peters (35) states that femininity is primarily defined by nurturing, acceptance, and accommodation rather than accomplishments. Despite progress made by women, these qualities continue to shape


the definition of femininity. The home serves as a crucible where children are nurtured, accepted, accommodated, and prepared for their future roles in the community, Church, and country.
This paper is divided into different sections: exploring the biblical foundation of family; defining and categorizing various types of families; comparing healthy families to dysfunctional ones; examining the causes and characteristics of dysfunctional families; discussing the impact of dysfunctional families on children; addressing strategies for helping children overcome the effects of dysfunctional families; suggesting how the Church should respond, especially when parents undergo a technically executed divorce.

The Family - Classification And Definition

Categorization of the Family

A nuclear household, also known as a family, consists of a father, mother, and children. In this type of household, the birth of children is considered a divine blessing that adds

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to the husband-wife unit. The decision to have children is ultimately determined by God, who controls both the number and proportion. However, couples who can conceive easily may choose to regulate their family size through family planning. It is important for couples facing delays in having children to remember that their marriage remains strong even without additional offspring.

While waiting for a solution, individuals should explore potential medical trials and have faith in God. The extended household consists of the husband, wife, children, and relatives from both the husband and wife's side. The focal individuals in both scenarios are the husband and wife.

The households can be divided into two categories: healthy or normal households and dysfunctional households. A healthy or normal household is characterized by monogamy and exclusivity. According to Genesis 2:24, "for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (NIV). In simpler terms, a healthy household consists of only one wife and one husband.

God's original plan does not include situations such as two married women and one husband, two husbands and one married woman, two men living together as a couple, or two women living as a family.
The Roles of Families
Every family has the primary responsibility of raising their children. Each member of the family is responsible for contributing to this process. In Nigeria, the family is commonly referred to as "everybody," which is why Yorubas say "Enikan nii bimo, igba eeyan Ni I wo o". It is also recognized that if a family is dysfunctional, it will only raise a dysfunctional child.

The Yoruba people have proverbs like "Owu

iya gbon l'omo O ran" (like female parent like girl), "Omo ti a KO KO ni yoo gbe ile t'aa KO Ta" (An untrained kid would finally merchandise off his parents belongings), and "Abiiko akoogba, ode Ni won ti n KO o wale" (A kid that refused place preparation would finally be trained from exterior). While it may non be concluded that merely kids from dysfunctional households fall within the above groups, it is most likely that kids from dysfunctional households will fall within these groups. God's purpose for matrimony is to last for every bit long as both shall populate. It is in the context of the one adult male one adult female enduring relationship that boies and girls may be brought up in the fright of God. Similarly, place is expected to be the first educational establishment for kids. The Bible set accent on the place as the bedrock for transmittal of values from coevals to coevals.

Moses states in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 that the Lord our God is one and commands the people of Israel to love Him with their entire being. This includes their hearts, minds, and strength. Moses emphasizes that these commandments should be deeply ingrained in their hearts and passed down to future generations.

Discussing and prioritizing actions, whether sitting, walking, lying down, or getting up, is crucial. God desires a loving household where education can flourish. Husbands and wives should be instructors in line with God's commandments. Both partners must commit to seeking the common benefits of their children's education and all aspects of life.

In his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families," Covey emphasizes the importance of empathizing

with others and stepping out of one's own perspective to build strong relationships. Therefore, both partners need to make an effort to ensure the success of their marriage. Covey explains that personal happiness should not be the primary focus in marriage; instead, attention should be directed towards nurturing the relationship as a whole. While personal time holds significance, investing time and effort into the relationship is equally essential.

Definition of a Healthy or Normal Family: A healthy family is one that functions effectively and fulfills the intended purpose of marriage as ordained by God. Each member of the family recognizes their obligations to both God and other family members, actively working towards achieving the goals set by God for the family unit. Ephesians 5:22-29, 6:1-5 provides guidance on the responsibilities and roles of husbands, wives, and all other family members based on biblical teachings.

The message is: 'Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Fathers do not aggravate your kids, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear. Therefore, a functional Christian household is expected to operate within this context, dealing with social issues harmoniously and with love in order to fulfill God's purpose for the home. God is not the author of confusion; he had a plan for an orderly family, a family that will function in love and obedience to God and towards one another.

What defines a Dysfunctional Family?

A dysfunctional family is any marriage

that deviates from God's ideal of one adult male and one adult female living together in a long-lasting relationship. Such a household can be considered sinful and is likely to exhibit characteristics of dysfunction. A simple explanation for a dysfunctional family is any situation that hinders healthy family functioning. While death or illness may temporarily disrupt a normal family, it eventually regains stability. However, in a dysfunctional family, issues persist and become chronic. Dysfunction refers to impaired, unnatural, or unhealthy conditions, specifically in interpersonal relationships, resulting in people hurting each other and making consistently poor decisions. Examples of dysfunctional behaviors include engaging in sexual misconduct, developing addictions, making unethical choices, targeting vulnerable individuals as scapegoats, and spreading false rumors. In a dysfunctional family, individuals often feel isolated, fearful of one another, confused, and unable to trust each other (http// The household of Isaac and Rebecca serves as a classic biblical example of dysfunction.

The text discusses the division between parents over their children and how they take sides based on which child they love more. According to, Eli, who was the instructor of the Prophet Samuel, faced a similar situation with his sons Hophni and Phinehas (1 Sam. 2-4). These sons became priests and abused their authority by using it to gain material possessions and sexual favors. God criticized Eli for his lack of parental discipline, questioning why he honored his sons more than Him (2:29). As a consequence of Eli's tolerance, all three experienced death, serving as a warning for us.

In Exodus 34:7, it is mentioned that God punishes children for the sins of their fathers up to the third and fourth generations. This

verse emphasizes how parents often pass down their negative qualities to their children. The concept of generational wickedness can be observed in two instances within three generations of Abraham's family. Although Abraham is generally known for his faith (Rom. 4:1-3; Heb. 11:8-12), he also made errors as a result of lacking faith.

Abraham and Sarah, instead of waiting for God to fulfill His promise of a son through Sarah (Gen. 17:6,16), decided to try and have an heir through Hagar. Consequently, they ended up favoring their son Isaac and rejecting Ishmael (Gen. 21:8-14). This preference for one child over the other was then passed down to other descendants of Abraham through Isaac. Similarly, Isaac and Rebekah also showed favoritism towards their sons Esau and Jacob, respectively (Gen. [insert chapter number]).

According to David Stoop and James Masteller (1997, 1), dysfunctional families can be categorized in various ways such as polygamous marriages (a man marrying more than one wife) or polyandry (a woman marrying more than one husband). Other categories include divorced households, single-parent households, families with alcoholic parents, households affected by mental illnesses, child abuse, parental rigidity and control, and absent parents. Stoop and Masteller (1997, 1) define a dysfunctional family as a family where there is continuous conflict, misbehavior, and often neglect or abuse of children by single parents. This behavior leads other members of the family to adapt to such circumstances. However, the author describes a dysfunctional family as a deviation from God's original intent in marriage due to the absence of one partner or the inability of one partner to fulfill their role effectively.

Divorce Family: Permanent or Technical Divorce

Stoop and Masteller (1997, 1) dispel

the misconception that dysfunctional families are always on the verge of separation and divorce. They explain that while this may be true in some cases, often the marital bond is actually strong as both parents' mistakes complement each other.

In short, the family lacks another place to relocate to, but this does not mean their situation is stable. Any significant stressor like relocation, unemployment/underemployment, physical or mental illness, natural disaster, etc., can exacerbate current difficulties and have a more negative impact on the children.

The concept of "proficient divorce" pertains to the separation of dysfunctional families in social, financial, and intellectual aspects. This notion has been recently acknowledged by professionals such as teachers, counselors, clergy, and social workers according to David and James Mastella(1997, 12). They emphasize that individuals experiencing proficient divorce face difficulties realizing it and seeking assistance. This phenomenon is observed across different social classes, affecting both elites and the working class. Essentially, couples undergoing proficient divorce are described by the author as being married in a physical sense but emotionally disconnected, irrespective of their living arrangements.

The Dangers of Technical Divorce and Child Abuse

Ayankeye argues that proficient divorce has various contributing factors. One significant consequence is the creation of an emotional crisis, as marriage should ideally offer stability in this regard for both partners. However, when a divorce occurs due to an unstable relationship, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, fear, guilt, sadness, anger, resentment, frustration, depression and even thoughts of suicide (Ayakeye quoted by Collins).

Child abuse, conversely, refers to the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of children (Herrenkohl 2005). In the United States specifically categorized by organizations such as CDC and

DCF child abuse includes any action or omission committed by a parent or caregiver that results in actual harm or potential risk of harm to a child.

Child maltreatment can happen in different settings, including a child's home and the organizations, schools, or communities they interact with. There are four main types of child maltreatment: neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. The definition of child maltreatment may vary depending on the jurisdiction and its purpose for removing a child from their family or pursuing criminal charges. According to the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect cited by Herrenkohl (at hypertext transfer protocol: //, child maltreatment is defined as "any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."

Dysfunctional Families at state that dysfunctional families contribute to various troubling behaviors such as spouse beatings, child maltreatment, sexual abuse, murder drug-related offenses ,and alcohol-related accidents. These behaviors often occur within the confines of a family's home.

Examining the interactions within different households provides insight into their dynamics. Regardless of the specific structure or arrangement, our understanding of the wider world is shaped by growing up in a household through relationships with family members. Our identity and interactions with others are influenced by each member of our household.

Many families are dysfunctional and unable to fulfill their roles in accordance with God's mandate for the family, such as providing support and companionship to one another, raising children in a godly manner, and being a

positive example for the world to see. According to Royster's 2002 lecture note, there are several reasons why families become dysfunctional. First, personal interests often take priority over family commitments, which can lead to a breakdown in family unity. Additionally, poor communication within the family can exacerbate problems and even lead to divorce. Moreover, the joy of having children can turn into a burden for some couples due to selfishness and a lack of understanding of God's purpose.

This text addresses the common issue faced by working female parents where the married woman becomes preoccupied with her children and neglects her husband. An example given in Home life: Family Magazine (30-31) is Sally and Jim. While Jim was busy providing for the family and actively participating in church activities, Sally was a busy and productive mother of three. As a result, they rarely spent time together, leading Sally to consider their relationship as "hopeless and absolutely dead." If untreated, mental illness can lead to bullying or abuse within the family, particularly towards the children. "Marriage failure occurs when couples fail to prioritize spending quality time with each other, as their jobs, children, and church commitments dominate their togetherness" (Home life: Family Magazine, 30-31). Another cause of dysfunctional families is single parenting, which can result from divorce, teenage pregnancy, or children born outside of marriage.

In any of these instances, an individual parent has to raise the household. Poor/Dysfunctional upbringing of the parent/s themselves, such as low or no instruction and bad behavioral choices on the part of parents - alcohol addiction, drug abuse, etc.

Features of Dysfunctional Families

The characteristics of dysfunctional families as stated by (Bass, and

Davis 1988, 1-5) also include the following: Over- function: Parents that over function take on the responsibility of all tasks and will not allow their children to grow up and be themselves.

According to a Yoruba proverb, a spoiled kid is one who is given everything they need and from whom nothing is expected. The author suggests that children in this category may not reach their full potential because their abilities are likely to be underutilized. They may struggle to make important decisions on their own. On the other hand, under-functioning parents leave everything for their children to do, even when they are not yet capable of doing so. Children with under-functioning parents are not treated respectfully.

Dysfunctional households are often filled with anger, injury, misconstruing, and various forms of resentment. This occurs constantly. In some cases, children are forced to take on the responsibilities of raising their siblings. Even though they are still children themselves, they see themselves as adults. Denial is when one chooses to acknowledge abusive behavior and may even believe that the situation is normal or beneficial.

The text discusses the concept of denial and its connection to the so-called honor killings. It references an opinion article from a newspaper on December 2, 2012, which highlights the disturbing nature of such killings. It recounts a specific case in which a father, mother, and son were sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering their three teenage daughters because their lifestyle was seen as a disrespect to their values. The article mentions evidence from wiretaps that revealed the father, Mohammad Shafia, expressing satisfaction at the girls' deaths and making derogatory comments about them.

This passage explains the

reason why some people refuse to acknowledge and address unacceptable behavior, possibly because they see it as normal or even positive. The concept of conflict is described as two entities trying to occupy the same space simultaneously, resulting in either excessive fighting or a lack of peaceful coexistence within a family. In such a situation, family members may resort to physical violence, which can lead to severe injuries or even death. The impact of dysfunctional families on children is extensively discussed by Bass and Davis (1988, 1-5). Some effects include children losing their own childhood and neglecting their own needs and emotions. Growing up in dysfunctional homes can cause children to feel inadequate and guilty for not fulfilling adult responsibilities towards their parents. Additionally, children may develop mental health issues as a result of generational setbacks in their family, and they may turn to substances like smoking, alcohol, and drugs if their parents or friends engage in such behaviors.

  • Children growing up in dysfunctional households may experience conflicting emotions towards certain family members, resulting in a love-hate dynamic. These children often struggle with establishing healthy relationships among their peers, typically due to shyness or a personality disorder. As a consequence, they may end up spending excessive amounts of time alone engaging in activities such as watching television, playing video games, surfing the internet, listening to music, and other activities that lack face-to-face social interaction.
  • According to Bagley, Christopher (1991, abstract), research indicates that child sexual abuse is prevalent among both males and females in Canada, especially within dysfunctional families. This form of abuse frequently negatively impacts self-esteem and contributes to increased depression, suicidal thoughts and
  • behaviors, and overall poor mental health.

    Finds by the Child Welfare Information Gateway indicate that recent brain research has established a basis for many of the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional difficulties observed in children who have experienced abuse or neglect during their early years. This maltreatment can have long-lasting effects on brain development, persisting into adolescence and adulthood. The study also highlights how experiences in infancy and early childhood shape children's intelligence, emotions, and personalities. When these experiences are predominantly negative, children may develop enduring emotional, behavioral, and learning issues, particularly without targeted interventions.

    Church Response To The Effects Of Dysfunctional Families: With Reference To Children Affected By Technical Divorce Or Kid Maltreatment

    Separation by whatever ground (s) is never a toothsome experience in the household. Separation by child maltreatment or technical divorce could be very traumatic for kids. Separation in any form leads to single parenting which does not fall within a normal family. According to the SU Harare study of 1985, 10, "Church is a family of families which are committed to God, to each other, and together to Christ's mission for the world." Therefore, the Church is in the best position to respond to or provide answer to the way out for kids in this category. Reference to SU Harare study, 11, "the Christian family is a reflection of the Christian community...

    This community is characterized by shared relationships based on the covenant between Christ and the church. When we mention the church, we are referring to the households, that is, the members. This does not contradict the function of the local church in any way. According to James 1:27, "Pure and genuine religion in

    the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

    Direction of Aid

    There are three perspectives to consider when looking at how the church responds to children from dysfunctional households: those directly affected, individuals and organizations that provide support for these children, and the local church.

    To effectively assist the affected children in the first class, they need to be willing to use the positive experiences they gained from growing up in dysfunctional households. The second class should be prepared to identify and collaborate with the local church in providing assistance to these children. Additionally, the church should be willing to go above and beyond to reach out to these children as they are part of their family. Bass and Davis (1988) suggested the following strategies for overcoming the impact of dysfunctional households.

    While it may be beneficial for children, they require support from concerned individuals as well as the local church to create a nurturing environment that stimulates positive development in terms of survival skills. It is acknowledged that regardless of the origins of dysfunction, individuals have managed to overcome and survive. It is likely that valuable skills have been acquired to navigate challenging circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to pause and assess one's situation.

    It may be the case that much of the knowledge and skills acquired in one's upbringing holds great value. The endurance behaviors developed in challenging households are often valuable assets. For example, individuals who come from dysfunctional families often possess a heightened sense of empathy for others. Additionally, they tend to be highly achievement-oriented and excel in certain aspects of

    their lives. Furthermore, individuals are frequently resilient to stress and adaptable to change. When considering personal growth, it is crucial not to overlook these positive qualities. (Bass and Davis 1988, 4) Children who experience abuse from their parents or others, as well as families going through a technical divorce, may be overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty.

    They often struggle to believe their feelings and reactions. They require external support to provide an objective perspective and necessary validation to help them learn to trust their own reactions. Assistance or support can come in various forms: individual counseling and religious counseling. This is a highly recommended option for children who are affected by abuse from others or, even worse, from their parents.

    Every day, take a moment to acknowledge and reflect on the emotions you are currently or have recently experienced. Consider what caused these emotions and how you can validate or respond to them. It may be beneficial to keep a daily diary specifically for your feelings, but remember to be selective in who you share these emotions with. You may not feel the need to share all your feelings with everyone. Forgiving your parents for any neglect or abuse you endured is an important step in healing. Place the responsibility for your childhood experiences where it belongs, acknowledging that your parents played a role.

    , Talking to responsible adults or turning to God instead can help alleviate feelings of guilt and shame. Children who experience maltreatment or neglect by their parents often suffer from fear and uncertainty. To overcome this, it is recommended to start by taking small steps in opening up to others and gradually progress to

    taking bigger risks.

    Learning how to swear and determining the appropriate amount of swearing can be incredibly beneficial. It is important for individuals to understand that they should not constantly seek approval and acceptance from others, as those individuals may not be capable of meeting their needs. Instead, children should be guided in taking good care of themselves, rather than overexerting themselves. It is recommended to identify activities that bring genuine enjoyment, and then grant oneself permission to engage in at least one of these activities each day. The goal should be to strike a balance between fulfilling obligations and pursuing personal desires.

    Balance is a key concept for individuals who have been raised in dysfunctional households. Do you engage in regular exercise?

    Local Church

    In light of these facts, the church has a significant role to fulfill following the biblical model. For example, the Church took care of the needy and the orphans (Acts 6:1ff). James speaks of true faith as caring for the widows and the fatherless. Additionally, James 2:14-26 discusses Christians going out of their way to reach out to those who are struggling.

    Based on various records in the Bible, the church has several ways to address the impact of dysfunctional families on children. One way is by providing financial and emotional support to children outside of their homes. The church can organize regular visits to the homes, which can be facilitated by a support group. During these visits, children are encouraged to practice "behavior survivor therapy," where they utilize the positive skills they have developed despite growing up in dysfunctional households.

    According to Dan Prater in his article "Child Abuse: What should the Church do about

    it?", the church should regularly create household enrichment plans that focus on combating child abuse. Prater suggests that the church should not wait too long to intervene when there is evidence of physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse by a parent. Instead, the church should promptly remove the child from the home and place them in protective custody. Prater recommends that these children be placed with capable and loving families to help them recover from their trauma. Churches must also be aware of their legal obligation to report child abuse.

    Child abuse laws differ by province and can be prevented through proactive parenting education and support. One way to strengthen parenting skills is by participating in a marriage/parenting mentoring program. Additionally, church members can get involved in the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

    Judges appoint CASA volunteers to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes due to parental maltreatment and neglect. These individuals must also collaborate with the local Church to provide assistance for children affected by child abuse, parental divorce, or coming from a dysfunctional background. This assistance can take the form of age-appropriate educational materials and activities aimed at fostering their confidence and instilling in them the belief that they can achieve their aspirations in life.


    From the aforementioned discussion, it is evident that preventing dysfunctionality within families is crucial. Today, there are numerous dysfunctional families within our churches and the country as a whole. It is an understatement to say that we have many children who are subjected to various forms of abuse and maltreatment.

    To rectify or convey minimum dysfunctional

    households, we all have functions to play. This includes individuals, households, and the Church. In order for the household to fulfill its role as an evangelizing agent, both father and mother must be strong and equipped to raise their children according to the teachings of the Lord. Through this upbringing, the children will discover their purpose in God, become witnesses, and spread the Gospel to every corner of the world. The Church has a crucial role in establishing strong family bonds, particularly for the well-being of the children.

    He must be prepared to promote the unity of households and reduce the prevalence of dysfunctional environments. Building strong families is synonymous with raising strong children, who in turn contribute to the strength of the church. Therefore, constructing a robust church directly involves cultivating strong families.

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