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How Do Roles And Responsibilities Influence Family Success And Happiness?

What You Will Find

How roles and responsibilities influence success and happiness. I know that all of us want happiness and success in our relationships and in our families. But what I've noticed over all of my years of teaching people how to strengthen their family relationships is that many people don't realize it starts with your roles and the responsibilities that you have in that family unit. 

We're going to talk about that today. Throughout this article, we're going to learn the difference between what is truly functional in a family and what types of dysfunctions we might be putting up with that we don't need to. Then we'll talk about how our roles in the family relate to our own feelings of personal identity. Following that, we'll explain how there is a difference between roles and responsibilities that most people might not recognize. And finally, we'll give you some helps for how to truly live your role and to find that greater success and happiness that we're all looking for. 

For over 20 years now, I have been helping families all over the world try to conquer complicated yet sort of basic situations in their homes like whining, attitude problems, and talking back. Or how to help the children do something when you actually tell them something needs to be done. And what most people struggle with is making that connection with the child so that the hearts are united with each other at the moment where that correction needs to occur. 

Many Parents Make Big Mistakes

Many parents make big mistakes when it comes to correcting these types of negative behaviors with their children. Sometimes parents get so frustrated they resort to things like hitting their children or getting short-tempered with their children, saying things that in the end they wish they wouldn't have said. For years after I wrote the book that I'm most known for which is called Parenting A House United, people would ask me parenting questions such as "How do I get my child to just do what I tell them they need to do?" And when I would reach a little bit further into their question, I realized that they had a foundational problem that they weren't addressing. And the problem was what their role was in the family was not completely understood by the entire family. And the role of the child was not understood by the entire family

This means the child themself did not even understand and what their role was as a child. Since so many people started asking these questions, I realized I had neglected something super important in that first book, Parenting A House United. So, I ended up writing a second book called ROES, The Secret To Family Business And Social Success. Which families could read together with each other so that they could find more unity and understanding of who each other really was in their families? I want to share with you some of the key points that I bring out in that book. 

The Power Of Roles

First off, what power do roles really have in our family relationships? So, why the president of the worldwide Organization for Women. And I know that there is a lot of talk about roles. Roles with women, roles with men, roles with governments. And that's an area that I get to lend my voice regularly. But one thing that I know is that people are missing the mark when it comes to roles. In fact, in recent times, the topic of roles almost is starting to seem taboo to people. 

This is really sad to me because, in this day and time where everyone is struggling to truly figure out what their identity and purpose are, they cannot afford to not identify what their role is in the relationships around them. When people don't identify their roles, dysfunction automatically resorts. So, think of this scenario: There's a parent who maybe is tired because they've had a big workday or something like that. And they just don't want to put in the time to correct that problem of that attitude that that child has again today. 


Well, if the parent doesn't step up to their role and correct that problem with the child then dysfunction results. If families are not living their roles properly, the result is dysfunction. In our society, we are in facing dysfunction. On TV, we see it all the time. How many sitcoms and television programs that relate to a family just exploit family relationships by showing dysfunction and laughing at it. We shouldn't take our family relationships so lightly. That doesn't mean we can't have fun with each other and laugh and joke. But if we are disregarding the roles in the family, in essence, we bring in dysfunction, embrace it and then each person becomes isolated and lonely within the walls of their own home. 

Likewise, if a child tries to tell their parent what they will do what they won't do and they start trying to pull rank emotionally on their parents, then the child is also behaving in a dysfunctional manner. Some people think that this type of behavior is normal. If we just look back a little way, maybe before World War II, we would see that the young people of that era were trying to dress like their parents, talk like their parents take on the responsibilities of their parents so that when it was their turn to have the role of parent that they were prepared and that they understood what that meant. It's only been in a recent time that we've accepted disobedience and lack of respect as some "normal" part of the way a child is supposed to behave to their parents. It doesn't have to be normal. 

Parents don't have to accept it. In fact, it's a disservice to the child and all of the family relationships if that type of behavior is tolerated within the family unit. This type of dysfunction is always going to bring sadness and it's going to put unnecessary burdens on all of our lives making it impossible to achieve the success and the happiness that families are supposed to bring. 

Roles vs Responsibilities

Let's talk about roles. Rules are not the same as responsibilities. That's an important differentiation to make. Whenever people start talking about roles in the public sphere and in the political sphere, they start declaring things like women with work and employment opportunities and stuff like that and who should make dinner. Anyone can make dinner. Anybody can get a job and make money to help provide for the family. Anybody can do those things. 

Anybody can take out the trash. It doesn't have to be the oldest son or the dad or whoever your family has chosen, it's their role to take out the trash. No, it's nobody's role to take out the trash. It might be a responsibility that a person has to add to the family but it's not a role. So, what is a role then? Roles are simply self-evident truths in our lives that we need to recognize and embrace. Responsibilities are different. 

Those are assignments that are given to a person. Maybe even we give that assignment to ourselves. But doing a responsibility is nothing more than fulfilling an assignment which suggests that somebody whether it's us or somebody higher than us has the ability to give us some sort of instruction or direction that we need to follow through with. But that has nothing to do with our personal identity. And a role does. So, what is self-evident about me? Let's see. I was born a girl. What does it mean to be a really great girl? What does it mean to fulfill that part of my existence? And it doesn't mean cooking food and sewing. 

Even though I like those things. What it does mean though is that I need to bring a feminine influence to the world. That doesn't mean that I can't play volleyball and be on the basketball team and all those kinds of things, which I did. I was the captain of some of those teams when I was in high school. I was very much what many people would consider being a tomboy. But as a woman, I also recognize with my husband that whatever I say is acceptable or not acceptable in my home and with my children, he will follow that that is the truth that he needs to govern himself by. 

The more and more I let my standards loose the looser he will become in his standards also. I have that influence upon him and all of my children just being a woman. In fact, in the workplace, every woman gets to determine what is acceptable and not acceptable in their workplace. They allow the men to know what they will and won't put up with. And whether we want to say it should be that way or it shouldn't be that way, it is that way. That is one of the powers that a woman has in society. So, what else about me? I am a mother, that's self-evident. I'm a wife, that's self-evident. 

So, what does it mean to be the best wife I can be? What does it mean to be a mother? And it's not all those things that people say on Mother's Day like, "I'm a chauffeur and I'm a hairdresser and I am a taxi service." No, those are just responsibilities the people are appreciating so they make a list of them that maybe mothers happen to do. But no. As a mother, I'm much more than that. I am the heart and hearthstone of my family. I hold their hearts on little strings. And I can lead them toward what is good right and true starting at the youngest ages. I am a teacher, I am a nurturer and I am one of the most powerful people in society. In fact, I think I am probably, not just me but mothers everywhere the most powerful people in society. 

There Is This Saying

There is that old saying "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." It's true because we teach the next generation. And if we don't teach them the people that we do employ to teach them, we are still giving our stamp of approval to that teaching. So, we have to be careful. 

So, what about father? He's got his own specific role too, doesn't he? Many people if I were to ask a 15-year-old boy which I have done before. What is the role of your father? He would say, "Well, to provide for us, to protect us, to have fun with us, to preside in our home." And so then you have to go into but what are those things actually mean? What does it mean to protect a young person? That means you have to do the teaching ahead of time so that they don't get in trouble in the first place, doesn't it? 

There are lots of different ways that you can protect a person. Physically, spiritually, morally, socially. There's a lot of different ways that our fathers train their children. Fathers have such a social influence on their children they may not even realize. In fact, most fathers don't know that by the time a child hits 12-years old, that child is looking to the father now for what they need to do to live a good life. Mom's had their heart all that time. She still does but the father now has this influence socially that drives the child on and actually drives the child to launch from the home. That fatherly influence truly is empowering if done properly. 

If the father is afraid of his responsibilities, in that role and he doesn't do his teaching that is part of that role of the teacher then the child was significantly missing out. Now, we could ask ourselves other problems or other questions, too. What is the role of a 15-year-old son? What is the role of an 11- year-old daughter? They have roles. What's the role of the oldest child? What's the role of the youngest child? We could go into great detail about all these roles. You know what? Your 15-year-old son may not have ever questioned "What is my role?" What is this all about for me? It's a conversation we all need to have so that we know who we are. 

Do you know that for all children one of their primary roles is a learner? Which means if we don't live up to our role as teacher and allow them to be learner by correcting and teaching them then we are creating dysfunction in our own homes. Understanding roles brings freedom and happiness So, how can we help our families better understand our roles when it kind of seems like society is disregarding family roles and not caring about family roles. In fact, they're trying to confuse family roles with arbitrary lists of responsibilities. But we cannot be fooled by that. 

What Do We Need To Do?

We need to have a deliberate conversation with our children about who we are as a family unit. Where we're going? And what we're supposed to become at the end of this journey that we have together? We need to tell our children that their roles are basic instructions for their life at that particular time until they transition to the next role or phase of their life that they might have. Third, we need to give them skills and keys that they can use to communicate properly so that they don't fall into old habits of destroying the roles that they're trying to live properly. And it's not just them that needs those skills. All of us need those skills in the family. 

Parents especially. If we are communicating in ways that are emotionally charged out of control or manipulative, to get our way or to try to get rid of a problem then we are actually bringing in a confusion of roles. People start going into a self-protection mode instead of a liberation and bonding and unity mode. Our children can bond with us and have a better understanding of their roles in their identity even through a simple correction. Whenever I talk to people all over the world, I always tell them their children can and should feel closer to you during and after a correction than they even did before. That is possible. We've differentiated between roles and responsibilities. And we've talked briefly now about the steps we need to take to get those roles in the right place for our family so that we can have success in happiness. 

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