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, and the family traits explain a person’s thinking and behavioral patterns. Hence, having some knowledge about family tendencies can help you predict or analyze people’s idiosyncrasies, and 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 on space, materials, 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 according to their environment (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 on themselves and the world. Some influence is helpful, and some are detrimental to 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. Some families are extremely health conscious and follow a strict diet and meal plan, which 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 the family, members tend to use words from both languages, which becomes their family tendency.

4. Manners and etiquettes

Some spoken and unspoken norms in families become a part of their culture. These norms are reinforced 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 specific scenarios (3).

5. Traditions

Traditions are followed in families for generations. Families have particular ways of celebrations and customary practices. The execution pattern becomes the characteristic 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. 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

Attitudes 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 verbally or physically abuse females and children. Such tendencies have a profound 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 society to accept their beliefs (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 tendencies. 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 tendencies (13).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it important to know my family’s inherited traits?

Knowing about your family’s most commonly inherited genes and genetic history help determine your risk of inheriting genetic disorders (such as heart problems and diabetes) and possible conditions in your family. Nevertheless, acquiring these genes and diseases depends on several factors, including lifestyle choices and the environment (14).

2. Is a family tendency a sure thing?

Although common in most individuals, a family tendency is not a guaranteed phenomenon in all family members. Furthermore, some individuals may develop varied features and habits depending on various factors.

The family tendency is responsible for influencing a person’s outlook and way of thinking about themselves and the rest of the world. Food habits, lifestyle patterns, and beliefs are certain examples influenced by family tendencies. You should note that family tendencies cannot be interchanged with family traits. Harmful family tendencies can be changed with the help of the support and determination of the whole family, and you should carry forward the good tendencies for a better quality of life.

Key Pointers

  • A family tendency is the way people of a particular family behave and respond or may have a similar inclination to some food, activities, routines, etc.
  • Family tendencies are different from familiar traits as the latter have a genetic predisposition.
  • These tendencies can be positive or negative and can be learned or acquired.


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)
14. D Garcia-Arocena; Why is it important to know my family health history?; MedlinePlus
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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, 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 from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship... more

Bharat Sharma

Bharat Sharma is a qualified Integrative Psychotherapist in Alberta, Canada, currently working as the director at Edmonton Counseling Services. A Master Practitioner in Clinical Counseling, Canadian Certified Clinical Supervisor, and Qualified Substance Abuse Professional, Sharma believes that the mind, body, and soul are intrinsically connected. Therefore, he practices integrative therapy that involves the entire human experience, Mind, Body, and Soul. ... more