Family Role Exchange: An Exercise To Promote Family Integration

With children at home it is not always easy to maintain peace and harmony. Combining daily tasks with work responsibilities is not easy, sometimes time is not on our side either and it forces us to ignore those moments to enjoy some time with the family.

Thus, little by little and without realizing it, we can end up immersed in family conflicts that not only affect family stability but also the well-being of all the people living at home. Fortunately, there are different ways to deal with these problems to maintain balance in the family, role play is one of them.

What are family roles and why is it important to establish them clearly?

Family roles are nothing more than the role played by each member within the family, that is, the functions performed by the son, mother, father or any other partner. In general, in a family there are socially pre-established roles such as the conjugal role, which includes certain exclusive functions of the parents such as: decision-making or sexuality. However, in addition to these roles, there are others that each family establishes based on its needs and the bond that exists between its different members.

It is worth noting that the definition of roles is an issue that is seldom taken into account in a family, but in reality it is very important. Determining clear and healthy roles, in which hierarchies, authority relationships and common space are well defined is essential for a harmonious and developmental coexistence for all. In contrast, not having well-defined roles can lead to superficial family relationships, broken ties, interpersonal conflicts, and obvious dysfunctionality.

What is family role swapping and why should you try it?

Role-sharing, also known as role-playing, is nothing more than a technique or exercise in which different family members adopt the roles that other family members perform for a time. The idea is that each member is able to put himself in the place of the others to understand the behavior of that other person from his own perspective. This way you will gain clarity about the responsibilities you have to face in your day-to-day life and will be able to develop a more empathetic attitude.

Although it seems like a simple game to many, it is actually a very enriching exercise since it helps to gain awareness about the roles that each member of the family performs, while helping to foster empathy with others. It also allows to expose and resolve possible conflicts, in the same way that it stimulates the development of a more open and fluid communication.

In the case of children, it is an excellent way to prepare for life since it is likely that when they grow up they will have to deal with many of the situations that their parents experience today. It is also a good way to help them develop a sense of responsibility from an early age and teach them to solve problems in a simpler and more practical way.

How to apply role play at home?

When we talk about family role play, we refer to the exchange of functions in the domestic sphere since work or student responsibilities cannot be modified. On this basis, there are different ways to apply role-play in the family, either by exchanging roles between all family members, just between parents, or between parents and children.

Once it is clarified who will participate in the role play, applying it is very simple. First you should make a list with the main functions that each member of the family performs and then distribute the tasks of each member among the rest. Ideally, each member should agree to the new tasks that correspond to them, but if not, a consensus can be reached so that they assume the tasks of another or that they also fulfill them, but for a shorter period of time. .

To make this exercise more fun and get the children involved as much as possible, you can also bet on different play activities such as a theatrical representation of conflicts. To do this, each member of the family must write on a card a family conflict situation that affects them directly, such as that their partner does not take care of the children, the little one at home does not pay enough attention to their school responsibilities or that feels misunderstood by others.

Then the cards should be rotated, so that each one has to interpret the conflict of the other members. The interpretation is completely free, but it must reflect what the other member is transmitting, so that the rest of the family is able to put themselves in their shoes. To make it much more enriching, after exposing the conflict, the “actor” must present his solution to that problem. For example, when complaining that one of the members of the couple does not take care of the children too much, it could be suggested that he spend more time with them or that he take them to school every day. Faced with the problem that the child does not apply enough to schoolwork, it can be suggested that he dedicate at least one hour a day to study.

Although definitive and lasting solutions to conflicts at home will not always come out, it is at least an exercise that allows members to express their emotions and points of view in a more open way. This exercise also allows the other members to listen, while opening the door to create deeper family bonds and establish more fluid communication at home, the first step to start creating the family we want to have and in which we feel. fully at ease.