7 KNOWN CAUSES OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL HOMEWe all have pasts, no doubt. And for most of us, they are not the best things we wish to speak about. The memories of our past keep haunting us for ages. There are some we’ve let go of but others seem to have taken a hold on our minds. For a girl called Priscilla, her past is one that she clung to so badly till her marriage, to the extent that it took a toll on her. Here is her story:

Priscilla was born into an extended family in the late 90’s. From her infancy, she grew up to see her mother provide just about everything she needed. From her diapers to her milk and even to the very socks that graced her feet, it was all her mama. Growing up, there were times she would ask her mama as tears rolled down her cheeks, “Where is daddy?” Her mom as always would cover up for Daddy and say he was at work. Little did she know that Daddy was an addict; an alcoholic who was responsible for the many bruises on Mama’s cheeks and the tears that never ceased to flow down her beautiful face.

Eventually, though, she found out the truth but it never seemed to change Daddy. He still never cared. Truly, mama tried her best to be there for her always, despite her busy schedule but was never able to. Although surrounded by a myriad of people, Priscilla spent her childhood days alone and withdrawn, never for once enjoying the slightest experience of what is called home.

If I may have guessed correctly, the major picture that popped into your mind as you read about Priscilla is one of a home that is nothing like the ideal home. Priscilla came from what is called a dysfunctional home. The word, “dysfunctional’ means “functioning in an incorrect or abnormal manner; with harmful, strange and aberrant behavior.” When this is likened to a home, we see that a dysfunctional home is one that does not function in the intended or ideal way.

It is one where harmful, strange, and aberrant behavior can be observed. In this home, the parents live on par with each other. There is no love, no effort to keep the family bond together, and most often than not, the children bear the brunt of the whole thing. Many of us know that charity begins at home, but love is seldom seen in a dysfunctional home. Rather, conflict, mayhem, sorrow and regret are the order of the day.

A dysfunctional home poses a threat not just to society, the church, or the nation but mostly to its members. As children of the Most High God, we can all agree that even though we are imperfect people with flaws, God’s idea of an ideal, godly home where He is glorified is not a dysfunctional one. The Word of God clearly states what kind of home brings praise to God (Col. 3:17-21). Yes, there were a couple of dysfunctional families in the Bible but those were written to serve as examples for us. They were written so we can learn from them and be corrected; so we can be warned and hence avoid facing the same consequences they faced (1 Cor. 10:11).

With that said, the first part of this article is aimed at highlighting the causes of a dysfunctional home. What exactly leads to a dysfunctional home? Then, it explores the signs and characteristics of a dysfunctional home. Though not all dysfunctional homes may have all the characteristics outlined here, I can bet you that they’ll have a couple. Read on and if any resonate with your home, do reach out. There’s help for you in Christ Jesus.

Now, these causes are:


For many homes and not just restricted to the suburbs, one or both of the parents are suffering from addiction to some substance. It could be drugs, alcohol, gambling, or something as innocent as shopping. In this case, these parents are not always at home. Even when they are, it’s almost better if they are not. Their presence sets the home on fire. They ignore their responsibilities as though they had none, leaving it all to the codependent partner or the most grown-up child to suffer the whole brunt of it. The codependent partner or most grown-up child is left to clean up the mess and cover-up. This makes for a dysfunctional home.


Some persons have been diagnosed with certain illnesses that have had lasting negative impacts on their minds. Since their minds are not entirely sound, you can expect that parents such as these will lead to dysfunctional homes.


Money is one of the major issues that can cause tension in homes. Once a partner does not contribute meaningfully to the well-being of the home, especially if he is the head (the male), it can cause friction and dysfunction in the home. Little conflicts may arise due to the loss of a job, prolonged inability to find one, poor financial management, or simply, complacency and negligence on the part of a partner to pursue a productive life.


You can’t expect all things to go on well as usual in your home when suddenly, on a certain day, a woman knocks on the door and says she has your dad’s baby. That is one cause of a dysfunctional home. I’m sure you can remember all the chaos that one single act of adultery by David wrought in his home, or that caused by Abraham accepting Hagar as a wife (2 Sam. 12:7-12, 16:21-22, Gen. 16:1-5).


Some parents are trapped in a web of greed for money. They believe they must make more money all the time. Most times, it is true that they do have good, plausible reasons to do so, maybe even in favour of their kids. But then, in the long run, too much work always has its adverse effects on the family. Some parents may not be overwhelmed by the greed for more money. Rather, it may be that they are truly and wholeheartedly working for God (which is not bad in itself), but at the expense of their homes. The home of the Prophet Samuel serves as an example (1 Sam. 8:1-3). Apart from the prolonged absence of the parent, there’s also the stress and irritability on the part of the workaholic that can turn off the other members of the home.


In a home, there are laid out responsibilities for each individual or member of the home by God and even society (Gen. 3:17-20, 1 Tim. 5:8, Titus 2:3-5, 1 Thess. 2:7, Eph. 6:1-3, Col. 3:20). There are certain roles each member is expected to play for the proper functioning of the home. In a case where a father does not provide for the basic needs of his home and is in no way disturbed about it or even sorry for it, there’s bound to be some dysfunction in the home. Or when a mother spends most of her time in her ladies’ group; not really for beneficial matters, but to listen to the latest gossip and the newest fashion trends and all at the expense of her home, some problems may arise. A child who is unruly, disobedient, and a troublemaker will also be a source of dysfunction in a home.


To be honest, not all parents are emotionally ready to be parents. Some are not even ready to be spouses. Some grew up in authoritarian dysfunctional homes and have not grown beyond these mentalities. Some are simply baby adults without the slightest sense of what responsibility entails. With this level of immaturity, you should expect them to do no better than their level of growth.

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