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Chemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family

What Is a Dysfunctional FamilyWhat Families Need

In order for a family to be functional, family members' needs must be met. All families cannot meet all these needs all of the time. This does not mean that your family is dysfunctional. However, if your family cannot fulfill many of the needs, or cannot fulfill them a majority of the time, then you may need help.


Families need to provide each other with life's basic necessities. These include food, shelter, clothing, and health care.

Safety and Security

Family members should feel safe physically and emotionally in a family. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children from abuse—physical, sexual, and emotional.

Love and Belonging

Family members need to feel loved. They should know they are welcomed and valued.


Having self-esteem means that you realize that you are an important, capable, worthwhile person. A family that values, supports, and encourages each member meets its need for self-esteem.


Everyone has to grow and change throughout his or her lifetime. A family that nurtures its members with love, respect, and open communication helps its members to grow emotionally.

Skills for Independent Living

There is a lot to learn before someone can live independently. Family members need to learn how to solve problems and to make decisions wisely.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional FamilyChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family - What Is a Dysfunctional Family - Shaneen's Family, Ray's Family, What Families Need, What Is A Dysfunctional Family?