The "liquid" family

The family is a structured open system based on a hierarchy of roles e borders internal and external functional stability (between the core components and in society in general). In respect of these fundamental axioms, the adult / parent becomes the witness of the passage of those principles and those rules that allow children to orient themselves in the world and reach a sufficient individual balance, because it is within the family that everyone's maturing process towards acquiring an identity begins.

This primary social institution it should also be sufficiently adaptable to any evolutionary and environmental requests while maintaining its guiding function despite the changes and its evolution over time.

What is the role played by the family today in the growth of the new generations of daughters of the globalized world?


Loss of "boundaries" in the global world

Bauman Z., one of the best known interpreters of contemporary thought, recently deceased, uses the adjective "liquid" in his many sociological analyzes. Liquid is a fluid body that tends to deform by assuming the shape of the container that contains it; that container acts as containment, sets a limit, is the solid part in the universal acceptance of opposites.

Following the flow, the family also becomes "liquid" because in the post-modern era we witness the rapid "liquefaction" of the structures and social institutions that once rose to the role of leader, as a consequence of the changes that follow the economic and production in the global world. That globalization which, conceived in the best of intentions, erases all territorial boundaries and has as its ultimate purpose that of putting well-being and wealth within everyone's reach. In fact, the cancellation of the "boundaries", the absence of limits, has created disorder around man and man. Confused, lost, disoriented and consumed by excessive consumerism, which however identifies him as a citizen of the global world.


The limit

In short, the man without that container that contains it, seems to be lost. After all - a limit - would perhaps have prevented Oedipus from killing his father Laius and marrying his mother Jocasta (unconsciously) in the tragedy of Sophocles. That limit which the superego should guarantee in the Freudian elaboration of the Oedipus complex: the son, fearing a retaliation from his father (guarantor of safety and protection, feared and loved for his superiority), renounces, in his development, both desires libidinal towards the mother (become an object of love) than towards those aggressive towards the father. There is an identification of the child with the Father / Law and the Super-ego is established.

A rigid, and if we want punitive, instance that with its inhibitory function sets a limit: not everything is allowed.

Therefore, one wonders how can the family institution put a limit in a society that has no limits.


Confused individual, confused parent

Even in his parenting status, the postmodern individual perhaps comes to terms with disorientation characteristic of our time. Floating and looking for the best solutions, new cultural orientations they create a fusion between sexes and roles, placing aspects of a necessary constructive difference in the background. The myths of equality at the couple level are exalted and therefore greater symmetry in the division of tasks and responsibilities. THE'alienation to work, which involves both parents, reduces the quality of time for children. Should we be more affectionate? Or more or less disciplining? You become friends with your children or cultivate youthful tastes, minimizing the difference between generations and providing inconsistent and contradictory identification models. The superego (that instance which performs the function of the "law" that it forbids, but also a model with which to identify and behave and act) loses its braking action especially in such a permissive era. In short, the need for alternative educational models, mirror of the parents' difficulty in defining their own role. As if to say that if the individual is confused, the roles he will choose to play will be confused.

I post-modern times they are not allies of the individual or of the parent since it is fluid scenario does not guarantee certainties, on the contrary, it flows quickly in the middle of the ocean. You just have to choose: get carried away by the currents or learn to swim. Defining oneself as aware individuals and, if you wish, also as parents, learning to contain oneself in order to know how to contain, despite everything and despite the times.   


Fabiana Piccinini


* Notes on the author: Fabiana Piccinini is a psychologist and psychotherapist with a psychodynamic orientation. He practices psychotherapist activities aimed at children, adolescents and adults. He has decades of experience in schools of all levels in educational projects aimed at students with psycho-physical disabilities. She has been an ordinary member of Psy + onlus since 2013, she collaborates as a psychologist in the School Area and collaborated in the project aimed at the populations involved in the earthquake in central Italy, in the context of emergency psychology. He has gained experience in extraordinary reception projects aimed at political refugees in Italy.



parenthood, family, postmodernity

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