10 Tips for Healing Broken Families
By Steve Arterburn
Courtesy of New Life Ministries
1. Most dysfunctional family situations thrive in an atmosphere
of distrust, deceit and repressed emotions. You must establish
clear boundaries for honest communication with family members.
2. You have a limited obligation to "fix" another family
member's dysfunctional behavior. Often, well-meaning attempts
to compensate for a family member's behavior will enable and encourage
3. Very often, dysfunctional behavior results from patterns learned
from parents and grandparents. Examine your family history to
see if you are mirroring the negative behavior patterns of your
4. Establishing consistent consequences for bad behavior does
not indicate a lack of love or care, even though that is often
the accusation from the person receiving the consequence. Setting
clear parameters for acceptable behavior is essential for family
5. Love is a two-way street, and men and women do have different
emotional needs. Define what is important to you in your family
relationships and ask other family members to be honest about
what they perceive as their needs.
6. It is possible and common for people to reach adult age physically
and remain on a child or adolescent level emotionally and spiritually.
You can't expect adult behavior from someone who has never learned
it. If you identify this emotional or spiritual condition in yourself
or a family member, honestly and lovingly confront the issue with
an eye toward completing God's maturation process.
7. Many who have been crushed by strict authority figures in
their childhood are not able to identify with the experience of
adulthood. They often have a genuine hatred for any type of authority
in their lives. Attempting to "parent" this type of
person only adds dysfunction to the relationship. It is better
to view everyone as equal, including yourself. You have rights
8. Placing yourself in the atmosphere of a healthy, well-balanced
church will allow you to develop emotionally and spiritually.
Most Christian churches place a high priority on helping families
grow toward a positive, God-centered home life. Look for a church
that builds families.
9. Family problems date back to Cain and Abel. Your situation
is not unique. But rest assured that it is God's desire to restore
you emotionally and spiritually ... For I know the plans I have
for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity
to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and
come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ~Jer. 29:11-12
10. God has placed members within the Body of Christ as instruments
of healing and recovery to those in need among the body of believers.
Seek out a caring, Christian professional who can bring objectivity
and insight, one who can aid in the healing process and bring
spiritual transformation to your family.
Used by permission of New Life Ministries. New Life Ministries has
a variety of resources on men, women and relationships. Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE
or visit www.newlife.com.
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