Monday, February 7, 2011

Honey, Are We Normal??

After several decades of living, I've decided that having an abnormal family is remarkably normal. While some lucky few had the typical "Leave it to Beaver" upbringing, most of us did not. Yet, most of us also turned out surprisingly healthy. We live and love well. Most moms I know are GREAT moms and are generally happy in their marriage. Yet, in conversations with friends, the idea of being normal still comes up. So, I thought I'd address that here.

If you've poked around the blog, you know that definitions are important to me. I believe that by defining our terms, we have a greater chance of being on the same page, or really understanding each other.

That said, when most of my friends ask if what they are going through is normal, I think they mean "do other people go through this, too?" Now, there are certain things I can't answer about being normal. My youngest is doing something funky and I'm not sure if it's "normal" (what most other kids do).

When it comes to communicating in a family, however, researchers have identified four perspectives of "normal":

• Asymptomatic Family Functioning (no major symptoms of psychopathology; no serial killers, schizophrenia, etc.)
• As average (typical or fit common patterns; we know this from researching families and reporting the findings)
• As optimal (positive or ideal; this is what I'll be talking about a lot here)
• Normal family processes (life stages and events that most families go through; this changes generationally; we'll talk about this a lot here, too)

So you see, there are several ways we can view normal. I hope it reassures you to know that most of us fit at least one of these perspectives! Obviously, there are lots of ways to be a normal family.

On that note, I hope you enjoy your normal family this week...whatever your version of normal is!


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