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Family Tendency: What It Is and Examples

By Elisha Baba


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Family tendency is when families develop general behavior patterns over time. These tendencies can be driven by genetics but also learned behavior. Eating habits, routine activities, lifestyle, and more can all contribute to a family’s tendencies.

Family Tendency: What It Is and Examples

Every family has its own distinctive characteristics and dynamics. While some family tendencies can be positive, others can be detrimental to one’s behavior, relationships, and more.

What is Family Tendency?

Family tendency can be thought of as a family having a “culture.” A family can be defined in a number of different ways. But it is most often a group of people in a family who share a bond, whether chosen, legal, or blood.

When a family has common inclinations such as beliefs, actions, or behaviors that happen naturally, it becomes a family tendency.

Every family has its characteristics and dynamics that are unique. A family tendency isn’t always something that is genetic. It can be based on environmental factors that create habits or behavior patterns that pass on to future generations.

If a belief or behavior occurs naturally, or without thought, between family members, this is considered a family tendency. This can happen without you realizing it.

How a Family Tendency Influences a Person’s Life and Personality

Child’s Development

  • Family tendency can influence a child’s development as individuals can be highly impacted by the environment they are growing up in or grew up in. It is something that can have a long-lasting impact. Whether it is direct or subtle, children are molded within this idea of a family culture. Family tendency can be responsible for influencing a person’s outlook and view of themselves or the world.

Education and Occupational Inclinations

  • Family tendencies can impact education and occupational inclinations, as well as impacting how one navigates friendships and intimate relationships. If a child comes from a family of doctors, that child can be more inclined to join the healthcare field. If you come from a family that has several people working in trades, a child might be inclined to choose to go to trade school rather than college.

Mental Health

  • If someone grows up in a family with harmful tendencies, the individual might need help or support from others to help develop positive tendencies as they take their own path forward and start their own life. If someone grew up in a harmful family tendency environment and goes on to reject all or parts of their family culture, it can be hard to break out of childhood influence.
  • Certain beliefs or habits, whether positive or negative can be ingrained in an individual. They can be hard to break free from.

Family Tendency Examples

A Family of Professionals

A Family of Professionals

If several family members work in education as teachers or professors, other family members, such as children, could have the tendency to work in that same field and become teachers themselves.

This isn’t genetic. In fact, while it’s not a learned trait either, other members might be more inclined to join this field because of other family members. This can extend to other professions as well, such as a family of lawyers, doctors, or another field.

Multiple Languages

If children grow up in a multilingual home, they are more likely to learn and speak additional languages. Not every family has a multilingual home. So, if a child grows up in a monolingual family, they are likely to only speak one language fluently.

These children might go on to learn a new language in school and might become fluent, or pursue learning a language in a different way, but it’s not considered a family tendency.


Obesity in some families can be considered a familial trend or a family tendency. Parents can pass down their habits to their children.

Some people can have a genetic predisposition to be obese. However, behavior and environment can also play a role outside of any genetic factors.

Although you can’t alter your genes, environments can be modified so that a healthy diet or physical exercise is a normal part of the household or family environment.



Many families can have different customs and practices that can be passed through generations. For example, certain holidays are celebrated depending on the family. In addition, a family can have their own tradition during the holiday.

While other families might do something similar, not all families celebrate the same thing.

Political Inclinations

Political and religious views can run through families.For example, if someone is a part of a liberal-leaning family, these liberal values can be passed onto children, while conservative families can pass down conservative values to their children.

However, you can find that a member or members might start adopting a different belief system at some point that differs from other family members.

Manners and Etiquettes

Whether certain norms are spoken or unspoken, these norms regarding how family members dress, speak, or act can be reinforced as someone grows up. For example, some people might always have dinner with their family at the dinner table every night, while other families might eat dinner while watching television.

Family History of Abuse

Family History of Abuse

Some families have a history consisting of different forms of abuse or addiction. If someone is part of a family where they witnessed addiction or abuse, that person can carry some of those habits into their adult life.

Difference Between Family Tendency And Family Trait

The difference between a family tendency and a family trait is the presence or lack of a genetic link. Family traits can be defined as characteristics that are passed down between family members genetically. But they are not the overall habits and behavioral patterns.

In contrast, a family tendency doesn’t have a genetic connection. For example, a family attending church every Sunday can be considered a family tendency, while having blonde hair is a trait.

While you can’t control your genetics, family tendencies can be controlled or changed to a large extent. If a child grows up going to church every Sunday, once the child turns 18 they might stop going to church or change their religious views entirely.

Individuals can create their own habits or behavior separate from how they grew up.

Why It’s Important to Know Your Family’s Inherited Traits

It is considered important to know your family’s inherited traits. They can help you determine your risk of inheriting certain genetic disorders.

Knowing your family health history can let you know if you are at a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases or health conditions. Outside of genetics, health is also dependent on environmental conditions, lifestyle choices, and more.

A Family Tendency is Not Guaranteed

Although family tendency is common, it’s not a guaranteed phenomenon in all family members. People can come from a multitude of different family structures and parenting can be done in a number of different ways. An individual’s development can be impacted by various different factors and not just what happens within the home.

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