Family Systems Theory and Kinship


Social ties, especially family ties, are so evident in the lives of human beings that they are inevitable. They are evident in their lives, and their impact is felt. Therefore, these ties are brought out in different TV shows since they are a representation of the real lives of people. Most of the changes that occur in families affect all the members. Therefore, the members will still have general characteristics that are similar. These ties are, therefore, vital in the life of every human being.

Family Systems Theory

This is a philosophy which seeks to find out the causes of behavior of an individual as well as behavior in the interactions between members of the group. The rationale that is used is that all the members of a family have a relation. Also, families have characteristics of their own, which can only be seen from the interrelations between the members. The family systems theory is based on some assumptions.

The first assumption is that each family has infinite variations between the individuals. Therefore, each family group has a culture as well as ideological styles. These originate from the individual characteristics as well as from the interrelations within the family unit. The second assumption is that families are systems of interaction with different components. These members of the family group have different levels of resistance to change. Some of them can accept change fast, while some take a considerably long time to accept it. The third assumption is that if each member of the family is to grow and develop, the family has an enormous role to play (Justesen, 2012). It has to fulfill a variety of functions in order to aid in the development of each and every member. The last assumption is that changes occur every other time in the family unit. These changes could be developmental or non-developmental. They cause varying levels of stress between the members due to their different resistance to change.

Therefore, the family systems theory primarily state that a family cannot just be viewed as a collection of individuals. It is the whole family characteristics, which are larger than the sum of it parts. Most scholars use the heating system to explain this theory. This is because it shows the different ways in which the family members are interdependent on each other. Their interaction contributes a lot to the result (White, 2007).


This term can be used to exhibit different meanings depending on the context in question. However, this term is used to represent the social relationships, especially at the family level, which are vital to the life of a human being. In some fields, it can be viewed as the biological relationships between members of the same species. However, it is mostly used with reference to human beings. If to take a wider view, kinship may refer to the similarities that exist in the members of a certain group. These are the similarities that form the general characteristic of the group. The patterns in kinship can be based on the descent as well as the relation by marriage. Therefore, kinship ties are not only caused by descent but also by marriage (Jackson, 2004). The members might not share the same blood.

Some scholars define kinships as the general principle that is used to categorize human beings. It is used to divide human beings into social groups and determine the differences in roles of different family members. Therefore, kinships can be referred to as the social webs that are vital in the life of a human being. They are the social groups in which human beings find themselves from the time they are born as well as with time. This is because intermarriages increase the members of these social and family webs.

Analysis of the TV Show “Growing Pains”

This is an American television series which is about a prosperous family that resides in the Huntington, New York. The family consists of a mother who goes to work, a father who stays at home, and three children. The father’s name is Jason, while the mother’s is Maggie. Jason is a psychiatrist, while Maggie is a reporter. When Maggie went back to work as a reporter, Jason was left to look after the kids back at home. Their three children are Mike, who is a trouble maker, Carol, and Ben. Chrissy was also born in 1988 as a forth child.

The family systems theory is widely applied in this TV show. These family members are seen to have different characteristics. However, they are able to relate to each other as well as coexist. For example, Mike is seen to be a trouble maker. He is different from all the other family members. However, he is still able to fit into the family despite his differences. This shows that families have a general characteristic which is larger than the individual characteristics. Carol, who seems to be reasonable, is constantly seen to be trying to keep Mike back on track. This is seen when Maggie announces her pregnancy, and all the members except Mike leave. Carol comes back and pulls him to join the other family members.

The children of Jason and Maggie are also seen to have different abilities (Randle, 2007). However, this does not break the family ties. They are able to keep up with each other displaying a rich and healthy culture of the family. At some instances, Mike is seen to whisper things to Ben which the audience cannot hear. They help to keep each other on track. This is an ideal display of kinship ties and the general characteristics that they possess. They make each member look like one who comes from the family group. They overlook the individual characteristics of the members and create a general family culture, which is evident to the audience. The family members are even able to undertake common duties as well as perform tasks collectively.


Therefore, it is evident that family ties are extremely vital in the lives of human beings. The characteristics of individuals are mainly affected by their families. It also gives the individuals a sense of belonging. They are able to relate well with members of their family unit. This is because they share the same general characteristics.