The importance of family is growing, for most Germans is even the highest good at all, surveys say. But what makes a family? What it means for each individual and for society? What risks exposed family today? And how everyone can find their ideal family?

Whoever heard everything (not) to the family?

Meaning family Teaser

Photo: kzenon ©

For some, it is the pillar of strength for the next become the bane: the family. What we mean and who we to count is, however, difficult to bring to a common denominator: "A general definition of family is almost impossible, it all depends on from which angle you look at it," says the psychological psychotherapist and systemic family therapist Dr , Matthias Ochs of the University Hospital Heidelberg. Are these the people who have the same name as we do? The ancestors of the young, the partner, his relatives? The people we most like to have? Those with whom we spend the most time? Those who know us best, so maybe close friends?

Is blood thicker than water?

In fact since not even the supposedly unique consanguinity plain sailing, a survey showed in Urbia forum: So, has "star shine" found that her "children consanguinity does not really matter. They include people to their narrow environment, there really are. Just because a common genes, has he not long heard emotionally to the family. "" Karna.dalilah "reported that her" family is [...] composed primarily of social family members, however, replace missing biological family members "and that this much better functions as with the relationship. Also brings "initial" counterproductive "Blood is thicker than water" one, are adopted and foster children also full-fledged family members. She sees the family as "an emotional and social network". Feelings are also "lavie" decisive: "For me, a family is a group of people that feeling of togetherness binds a strong mutual together (!)."

Room to grow, cradle of the binding ability: What family does basically

Legitimately are many points of view. However, one should not underestimate the biological level, says Dr. Ochs: "This is psychologically an important component and should be given weight. Even if you do not live biological relationship, one is the original family system in a way, always connected, which should have been clarified for themselves "here plays into what" loewe-83 "understands birth family with parents and siblings." I see this as the root of life. . Who I am and where I come from "family is one of the most important areas of people Ochs says so:" The whole socialization takes place in the family generally. Everybody needs some form of family to be human. For the company, it performs the binding development, the requirement for soft skills. "For the protection of the family to learn not only to know yourself well, but also to get along with others and cope with the requirements of environmental ideally. Or as "jettekul" calls: Family "are the people that will hopefully give a ground and an even wings."

Refuge of security, protection from loneliness: What we expect from family all

The original main function of the family, to ensure economic security for a shared household, since long taken a back seat. "Family is extremely charged with aspirations and expectations," says Matthias Ochs. And they are, in contrast to the views of the group of people, the family constitutes, at most very similar: It's about values ​​such as support and protection, help and support, cohesion and loyalty, reliability and security. Family, so "fruehchenomi" Forum, "are people for whom I would get up in the middle of the night, get dressed and drive somewhere in order to get out of a mess or to be otherwise for them because they need me. And that's what I expect from my family too. "Acceptance and tolerance, trust and honesty and readiness for conflict are many equally to family life to spend time with each other as to have fun or to discuss problems. One should know the quirks of others and endure, everyone should be accepted as it is, and if you are attacked, the family spirit should be above all disagreements, loud further requirement points.

Separations, distances, roles change, Is all bad for the family?

Quite a lot for a single instance. That family is no wonder "often full of disappointments and injuries," such as "jindabyne" writes. And that changes around family cause almost panicky fears - not only the individual, but in the whole society: How could fulfill its many functions when more and more people get divorced family, there are fewer and fewer father-mother-child nuclear families when men and women continuously struggle as mother and father for new role models? How should it go to a state when its smallest cells appeared to explode everywhere?

Quite so dramatic that's not really appease experts. For one, do not represent all developments really serious innovations are. "It has always and everywhere so that families came together and parted. In ancient China, there were many divorces, "cautions Dr. Ochs this ghost. On the other hand, not every actual change per se bad: To challenge "that today some very large distances between individual family members are" like "jindabyne" leads, the micro sociologist called Prof. Hans Bertram from the Humboldt University of Berlin as a counterweight, that mobility is another day. Even if not all live in one place, it can be good call on hold and come together. And we have an advantage today, we are quite old, and enables multiple generations much more life time together than before.

The nuclear family: desirable ideal or outdated pipe dream?

The shrinking spread of - already very young - ideal of the nuclear family is not highly dramatic: In 2010, the Federal Statistical Office of the 8.1 million families with a total of 14.6 million (minor) children in Germany nevertheless still 72 percent marriage Communities. 19 percent were single parents, 9 percent partners with children. And even that the share has doubled to "alternative" forms of life in a few years, is not necessarily cause for concern, "family forms are always dependent on the socio-economic conditions," said Dr. Ochs. ". If one broadens the view for it, it makes sense to find forms that meet the current social context of mobility, flexibility and self-realization pressure" to something known only to note because it apparently provides security and stability, rather poses danger: "if traditional values ​​no longer function, it can make you sick if one remains in it," the psychologist warns. "Nevertheless, it is often considered that only the nuclear family is good and the other forms are a bit poor. However, empirical studies show that it is not true that only the nuclear family allows mental health. It's not the form itself, but rather how it is lived and the environment. "Thus, whether, for example, patchwork is perceived as an enrichment by Bonus members, such as the family therapist Jesper Juul shows as an opportunity or whether it is doomed to failure, which the journalist Melanie Mühl starts in "the Patchwork lie" depends precisely on how it manages those involved to make their life together.

How to find the "ideal" family itself?

Family is always unique and extremely complex. It can, thus keeping Ochs, be a childless couple who mutually adopt its safety and security, as well as the extended family with several generations under one roof, which account according to statistics, only 1 percent of German family households, but, for example, "star shine" for desirable because it could solve all the problems of "child care, isolation, fund-raising, budget". For a successful family formation and a happy family life it is necessary in any case to become very aware of what suits one says Matthias Ochs: "It's about self-knowledge, what you need and can endure if you, for example, large colorful variety want or tolerate only a small unit. And it is about the reflection of old patterns from the family of origin, a consciousness which values ​​are themselves important for one reason, to make their own decisions. "For this, you should take your time and pay attention to tolerance and compromise between the family cultures of the partners.

Who here is looking orientation, has the choice between offers all possible experts such as psychologists or educators, politicians and church and course of relatives and friends. "Are important concepts that require no rigid following of regulations, but with whom you can sit apart," advises Ochs. "Concepts and values, where you rub and place in this process itself can." Really end is never as "lavie" brought into the forum discussion: family is an open system, always changing, depending on the current life situations because everyone changes and evolves so that his ideas about family, and feelings and bonds subject to change course. Since it can not and must not be any stagnation, confirmed Matthias Ochs: "Family is ultimately a kind of social long-term experiment to the question, how can we intimate and close ties live so that it suits us. Families in which it works, practicing an authentic coexistence, that allows anyone to express his feelings, and deal with this issue repeatedly dealt. "

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Further reading for parents

  • Matthias Ochs, Rainer Orban: Family is another way: How single parents, children of divorce and blended families are happy. Carl-Auer. 2011. ISBN-13: 978-3896706553. 14.95 euros.
  • Micha Schulze, Christian Scheuß (ed.): Everything that is family. The new variety: patchwork, electoral and rainbow families. Black Head & Black Head. 2007. ISBN-13: 978-3896027443. 9.90 euros.

Further reading with children

  • Alexander Maxeiner, Anke Kuhl: All Family! The child of the new girlfriend of brother of Papa's former wife and other relatives. Velcro children's book publisher. 2010. ISBN-13: 978-3941411296. 13.90 euros.
  • Mary Hoffman: You belong to it. The Big Book of Families. Sauer countries. 2010. ISBN-13: 978-3794173112. 14.90 euros.