The role of family relationship cannot be overemphasized and research indicates that development of a child’s behavior, as well as their thought pattern is strongly predisposed by how well his or her family functions. Family Dynamics are the patterns of communication between family members, each family system and its dynamics are very unique, although, there are some common patterns.
Family dynamics often have strong influence on the way young people see themselves, others, and the world. It also has a way of influencing their relationships, behaviors and their wellbeing; both in and outside their immediate environment. Thus, it encompasses the various kinds of interaction that exists amongst members of a family.
A significant-positive relationship is needed amongst the family for good physical, as well as, mental health development. The position of the mental health of an individual is an area that is usually overlooked by the other members of the family, as the set of rules, norms and culture that governs the home which is put in place by a number of factors; parents, immediate environment, institutions and the society at large are responsible for shaping the individual and it is also responsible for the set of behaviors exhibited.
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The state of mind of one’s immediate environment can be responsible for the way an individual perceives and reacts to situations. This is because within the family system, patterns of interaction symmetries are described in terms of parenting practices or family system features, a family that interacts daily and is opened to discussion about the daily events of each individual member is likely to talk about the pros and cons of behaviors like cannabis use even if such discussion exists only between understanding siblings.
An individual who has been exposed to cannabis on the outside is able to bring such discussion to the other members of the family, if such discussion is welcomed and the perception towards the drug is addressed, the individual is likely to develop a negative perception from the house which would help the person effectively and efficiently address the issue outside the home.
From the list of family related features provided by Hawkins, Catalano, and Miller it was seen that features like family conflicts, poor bonding, (lack of mutual attachment and nurturing) inconsistent and effective parenting skills as well as negative communication patterns can contribute to young peoples’ cannabis use.
Some family system features (e.g. value of interactions, the people, the norms and culture, general belief system) serve as important factors that helps in understanding both the initiation and regular use of substances by adolescents. Family involvement and several characteristics of parenting have been suggested to be a protective factor for young adults’ thoughts and understanding of substance use.
It has been well recognized that several factors influence an individual‘s behavior and decision to use harmful substances. The type of relationship shared with family members is a determining factors of a young person’s behavior outside the home. A young user’s interaction within family and family members’ reactions are essential to understand the mechanisms behind why some youth have fallen prey to drug use. The availability of a close relations that are accessible goes a long way in helping young people persist even in hard situations.
Family members’ reactions could also affect the decision of youth cannabis use. Youngsters could become more hostile if they are not positively supported by the family when passing through difficult times could find themselves using drugs as a means of escape.
Relationship with siblings can serve as a major influence for positive perception of cannabis use, in situations where there are favorable and encouraging discussions towards the substance.
Unconventional family values are factors responsible for the development of problem behaviors among adolescents. Unconventional values are not only related to their own behaviors and associated risks but these values are also transferred to their children.
Through political orientation, religious beliefs, and lifestyle choices, family relation can indirectly transmit their values to their other members of the family. Hence, positive or negative perception to cannabis use is developed as a result of the knowledge and attitude a person has towards the substance.
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