What Is Family Tendency And How Does It Differ From Family Traits?

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An old saying, ‘Like father, like son,’ reflects the family tendency concept quite well. A family influences one’s personality and is the backbone of every individual. The family traits explain the thinking and behavioral patterns of a person too. Hence, having some knowledge about family tendencies can help you predict or analyze people’s idiosyncrasies. It even helps you anticipate the diseases one is experiencing. Keep reading the post to get an insight into this concept.

What Is Family Tendency?

The family tendency is the behavioral and responsive pattern of a particular family. It is the inclination of all members of one family towards certain things, beliefs, and actions. Usually, eating habits, lifestyle, routine activities, the outlook for space, material, and contemplation are the same or similar in one family (1). Also, family tendency influences a child’s developmental domain as individuals learn to behave as per the environment around them (2).

The family tendency can influence a person’s life and personality in many ways (2) (3) (4) (5):

  • The characteristic way of thinking, judging, attitude, and norms.
  • Even if one decides not to repeat their family tendency, they instinctively repeat the same cultural perspective and responses.
  • Every family has its distinctive characteristics and dynamics, influencing young members’ outlook for themselves and the world. Some influence is helpful and some detrimental for one’s behavior, relationships, and perspective.
  • Economic factors also impact the family tendency. For example, a family that barely meets the necessities can develop a tendency of starving or a preference for low-priced accommodation and are prone to malnutrition and diseases.
  • Family tendencies bound individuals from personal habits, anxious behaviors, professional and occupational inclinations to volunteering for events, owning pets, and health issues.

It’s said that “you are what you eat.” Similarly, you may become a person as your family tends to be. Though in some exceptional cases, individuals develop bad habits or criminal attitudes due to the effect of social or bad company (6).

Family Tendency Examples

Family tendencies can be positive or negative. Let’s consider some examples of family tendencies to understand the concept better.

1. Learning and education

The academic achievements of a child are greatly influenced by their family (7). Educated parents tend to choose better schooling for their children, helping them make better decisions. Also, if a family is good at Mathematics, it is likely for a child to be good too. Similarly, if a family is into singing, the chances of children being into music are bright. However, there are exceptions to every case.

2. Food preferences

Some families prefer oily and sweet foods, rich in fat and sugar content, leading to obesity in every family member. Such a tendency makes the family prone to habit-induced diseases. To overcome these family tendencies, an individual may have to work hard. Whereas some families are extremely health conscious and follow a strict set diet and meal plans, and that runs with every member.

3. Language

Children from a household where only one language is spoken may find learning other languages difficult. Similarly, when there is the use of bilingual languages in family, members tend to use words from both the languages, which become their family tendency.

4. Manners and etiquettes

There are some spoken and unspoken norms in families, which become a part of their culture. These norms are reinforced over time over how family members dress, speak, and act. Families have regulations for behaviors proposing actions allowed and forbidden for situations. These learned manners and etiquettes guide the individuals to behave in certain scenarios (3).

5. Traditions

Traditions are followed in families for generations. Families have particular ways of celebrations and customary practices. The pattern of execution becomes the characteristics of families and becomes a family tendency (3).

6. Lifestyle

Some health-conscious families may tend to get up early in the morning, do exercises or yoga, consume healthy food, and keep the house and the surroundings clean. Such families are habituated to the perks of healthy living. However, it might not be the same in other families.

7. Perspectives

Some families may tend to earn more and be in power. Whereas some families are content with whatever they have and do not strive to take up challenges or risks. These characteristics could be found in the young members naturally.

8. Nationalism and political tendency

The attitude towards citizenship and beliefs influence one’s political views, nationalism, and patriotism. Hence, it becomes a family tendency until a member has different opinions (8).

9. Broken family

Members of a broken family may have commitment and trust issues in their relationships. Children of such families may suffer from stress, depression, frustration, and inferiority complex (9).

10. Abusive nature

Some families tend to verbal or physical abuse females and children. Such tendencies have a deep impact on children in their growing age. They may radiate the absorbed negativity in the form of disrespectful behavior or may have low self-esteem, feelings of abandonment, anxiety, and anger (10).

11. Beliefs and taboo

The tendency of conservative nature and thoughts run in families. They may have taboos like restrictions on women’s clothing, educational decisions, and the careers of individuals. Strict rules and regulations with adamant behavior can turn a home into a sophisticated prison, where only a key person of the family makes decisions for all. Growing up in such an environment may tend to have orthodox beliefs, expecting the entire society to accept their belief (3).

Difference Between Family Tendency And Family Trait

The family tendency is about the habits and behavioral patterns of a family. On the other hand, family traits are usually genetic, hence inherited (11). For example, having blue eyes is a family trait, and sleeping late at night is a tendency.

Modern luxurious lifestyles with minimal physical exertion can be responsible for lifestyle diseases, but hereditary conditions such as blood pressure or thyroid are family traits (12). An illness or condition present in one family member, having no genetic predisposition, affects every family member due to the family tendency. The family tendency is learned and acquired, unlike the genetic family trait. For example, extreme anger or hardcore criminal mentality could be due to family tendency (13).

The family tendency is controllable, such as quitting unhealthy eating habits and reversing the obesity of all family members. Determination and whole-hearted support of all family members may change family tendencies that may be harmful or bad. However, the positive tendencies may be carried forward to future generations.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. The Factors That Influence Our Food Choices; Food Facts For Healthy Choices (2006)
2. The Role Of Family In Child Development; Children’s Bureau (2017)
3. The Effects Of Family Culture On Family Foundation; Council On Foundations
4. B Abbas Al Ubaidi; Cost of Growing up in a Dysfunctional Family; Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention (2017)
5. R D Conger, K J Conger, and M J Martin; Socioeconomic Status, Family Processes, and Individual Development; Journal of Marriage and Family (2010)
6. J Waldroop and T Butler; Managing Away Bad Habits; Harvard Business Review (2000)
7. A J Egalite; How Family Background Influences Student Achievement; Education Next
8. K Holbrook; How family and religion influence young adult political views; The Daily Universe (2020)
9. S S Jogdand and JD Naik; Study of family factors in association with behavior problems amongst children of 6-18 years age group; International Journal of Applied & Basic Medical Research (2014)
10. Family violence explained; Better Health Channel; Victoria State Government
11. What is inheritance?; Your Genome
12. Q Qibin et al.; Genetic Predisposition to High Blood Pressure Associates With Cardiovascular Complications Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes; American Diabetes Association (2012)
13. D Garcia-Arocena; The Genetics Of Violent Behavior; The Jackson Laboratory (2015)
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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship articles, where she deals with both the rosy and the grey side... more