Family dynamics are the patterns of relationships, or interactions, between family members. Each family system and its dynamics are different, although there are some common patterns. All families have some helpful and some unhelpful dynamics that influence our well-being, socially and psychologically.

Since in a family, different individuals depend on each other for emotional, physical and economic support, they are one of the prime sources of relationship security or stress. Secure and supportive family relationships are defined by love, advice and care, whereas stressful family relationships are troubled with arguments, excessive demands, toxic communication and constant critical feedback. Each family consists of a unique set of dynamics, which impacts our psychological development, beliefs, and ways of behaving as well as determining our interaction pattern with others. Essentially, family dynamics can be divided into two categories- healthy and toxic family dynamics. Here are the features that define both these family dynamics.

1. Healthy Family Dynamics
A functional family makes sure to nurture healthy dynamics along with a safe family environment. Beyond safety, there is love and respect for one another in a healthy family and to shape up a positive environment, several times, parents or members of the family set boundaries or restrictions. While this sounds easy, the job of carving a perfect family needs regular practice and commitment. Such families are defined by-
• Transparent communication with each other devoid of any judgement.
• No physical or verbal abuse.
• Taking care of damaged relationships.
• Love and care for a vulnerable family member.
• Enjoying different activities together.
• Sharing responsibilities properly, considering age & flexibility.
2. Toxic Family Dynamics
Not every person is born into a healthy family system. Since some are also a part of toxic families, instead of love and respect, they face toxic relationships that are all about discrimination, abuse or even manipulation. Thus, a toxic family dynamic can affect members by pulling them towards depression or mental illness. According to a study, family dynamics play a significant role in health outcomes, and therefore, unhealthy dynamics in the family can push children towards experiencing trauma and stress as they grow up. This type of exposure, famously known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), is linked to an increased risk of developing physical and mental health problems. Unhealthy family patterns also foster the increased risk of substance use and addiction among adolescents. Signs of a toxic family include:
• Zero emotional support.
• Practicing unhealthy control within toxic parents for selfish motives, such as emotional blackmailing, or over-controlling.
• The role of children and parents gets reversed, where the child has to take up daily duties while the parents suffer from drug or substance abuse.
• An environment of dominance and violence.
• No room for privacy and empathy.