Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Family Rules

  • Samuel ShannonEmail author
  • Jana Sutton
  • Bethany Simmons
  • Eugene Holowacz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_268

Name of Concept

Family Rules


Rules permeate all interactions and are an inevitable part of human relations. They provide structure and prompt individuals and systems to operate in predictable patterns. For example, the writers were provided guidelines while creating this entry. While these guidelines allowed for clarity, they also compelled the authors to adapt the entry so that it may fit into what was expected. In a similar fashion, families and individuals organize themselves around familial rules. Therefore, to truly understand a familial interaction is to understand the rules that are present.

All living organisms tend to organize in understandable ways, follow redundant patterns, and follow rules (Haley 1987). To better understand how a family operates, family patterns can be abstracted to create a roadmap for identifying family functioning (Jackson 1965a). All families have rules and rules about rules. Thus, families tend toward organization. Some rules are...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Shannon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jana Sutton
    • 1
  • Bethany Simmons
    • 2
  • Eugene Holowacz
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Louisiana MonroeMonroeUSA
  2. 2.California Lutheran UniversityThousand OaksUSA
  3. 3.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  • Bahareh Sahebi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA