The black sheep of the family

Be the black sheep of the family it implies being different within a homogenous family group. The differences of the considered black sheep of the family, usually are not well seen or shared by the rest of relatives, it is more, it is considered that this person is rebellious, that does not adapt and does not follow the family customs. Being the black sheep of the family means being a member of the family very different from the rest of the family and is often criticized.

Within a flock, the black sheep is that different sheep that stands out in a homogeneous group of white sheep. It is that different member, who stands out within a homogenous family group.


When a person is the black sheep of the family he does not agree with what is established within the family system. And this usually causes many conflicts and criticisms. Being different can be very complicated and will not always be well understood.

Why are there black sheep inside families?

A family is a group of different people who function as a system. Each member of the family is a part of the system, which will govern its functioning, interactions and purposes through a set of unwritten rules, but known and accepted by all its members. For the system to work and have a certain balance, these rules are necessary to provide cohesion and a common functioning.


And sometimes, some of the members do not accept these rules, question them and follow other behavior and interaction guidelines. When this occurs, there is an imbalance in the family system and that is why the other members of the system will see these attitudes as a threat, tending to question and criticize this member.

What is the role of the black sheep in the family?

However, the role of black sheep of families It is very important and necessary for the proper functioning of the family system.

Family systems, like other social groups, are dynamic systems that evolve and change, new members appear, members evolve, relationships change, etc. And therefore they must renew their operating rules, and that is the crucial role of the black sheep because it questions family values ​​and norms and creates an imbalance that must be restored through the homeostatic system of the family nucleus. Little by little the younger members of the family will introduce changes to restore balance to the system and it will evolve.


What does it mean to be the black sheep?

The role of the black sheep is a necessary role that helps the family system to evolve, however it is a complicated role that carries many risks.

1. Being the black sheep leads to incomprehension and rejection.
2. Black sheep tend to be separated and devalued.
3. The black sheep is often blamed for the imbalance and all the problems of the system.
4. All this can lead to low self-esteem. On many occasions, the black sheep think that if they do not fit it is because something is wrong with them. This is a mistake since the difference and diversity is good and necessary for the groups.

How to manage to be the black sheep of the family?

It is very important to know how to manage the role of black sheep, to guarantee the welfare of the person who exercises this role and to promote the positive evolution of the family system. Some tips for the black sheep, as for the other members of the family are the following:

1. Do not feel bad about having different convictions to the family nucleus, but you have to understand that you can not impose them. The first step is to respect the convictions of other family members and use the dialogue to expose yours, it can be complicated, but if you want respect and be listened to, it is very important to start with respect and use a conciliatory attitude.
2. The idea is to be oneself, tolerating others.
3. Do not try to force a change in your family and for that, avoid judging, correcting or condemning. Practice empathy and active listening and try to understand their points of view.
4. You can grow if you listen and accept the different opinions and convictions.

Celia Rodríguez Ruiz. Clinical health psychologist. Specialist in pedagogy and child and youth psychology. Director of Educa and Learn. Author of the collection Stimulate Reading and Writing Processes.

Video: Why You're the Black Sheep of Your Family + How To Overcome It


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