It is important to understand the difference between roles in the family (environment) and someone's place in the family.
All too often, people are ostracized from a family due to their inability or unwillingness to fulfil certain roles within it.
Sometimes that inability or unwillingness may be due to private circumstances that the person concerned may be ashamed of or embarassed to talk about. It is possible that the reason for their reluctance or failure to perform such roles (adequately) is unbeknownst to them. i.e they may not be conscious of the underlying reason for their motivation but for whatever reason, feel compelled not to play the part of the father; the model child etc.
What family members need to remember is that despite a person's apparent failings, despite their reluctance or inability to perform certain roles within the family, they are still a part of that family - they still have a place and a value. How quick we often are to condemn someone who doesn't step up to the mark; doesn't meet our expectation of what the mother should be or do, or doesn't act the way our friend's uncle acts etc.
In times gone past (often in wartimes) and still even now, young boys (pre-teen/early teens) have often been asked to assume the role of the man of the house. In many cases, the young "man" has made the transition (including the appropriate attitudinal change) within moments, and has later received praise for filling the role admirably or with distinction.
It would be conceivable that some boys of a certain age would be able to fulfil such a role better than others. Does that mean that the boys who were/are unwilling or otherwise unable to play that role were therefore unworthy of inclusion in the family or that they had no value to it?
No, of course not. It is an unreasonable demand on a child to expect them to assume the role of a grown adult when they have not had the years of experience that it normally takes for one to reach adulthood. How unreasonable is it also then to expect anyone to fill a role we naturally assume they can fulfil, without knowing their innermost thoughts; without having experienced what they have. We need to value them for who they are, not just for what we believe they should be doing. We can be far too quick to judge people based on our perception of them, when we ourselves naturally assume we would perform better if placed in their circumstance.
It is important to give people the benefit of the doubt. Understand or at least believe that they are doing the best they can with what they have, and give them the time and space to improve their efforts. It just might be they have a personal issue that you are totally unaware of. It is also quite possible they have not told you about their issue in their attempt to protect you. So go easy on people. If you see someone you know who is not stepping up to the mark, don't go beating them up about it. Chances are they already feel bad about it. Be supportive and let them know you value them for who they are, not for the roles that you expect them to play.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Nunn is an author who writes on a number of topics such as family relationships, lifestyle and health issues. He lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand and can be contacted at
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