Both books that I've read, Angela's Ashes and The Color of Water both demonstrated behavior than can be considered dysfunctional. A dysfunctional family is one that fails to meet some or all the basic needs of its members. Sometimes these needs, such as food, shelter or clothing are so basic that people take them for granted. More often, emotional needs, such as the need for love, support and security go unmet. Although a family can be dysfunctional in several ways there are some characteristics that occur more often than others. Drugs, alcoholism, death, abandonment, starvation and anxiety are some examples of dysfunctional characteristics that can be found in both Angela's Ashes and The Color of Water. Just because a family is dysfunctional does not mean it's members do not love each other. Dysfunction usually results from a large amount of problems in the lives of the parents. Parents usually do the best that they can with their children but the truth is that they"re human too and can't always manage the difficult task of parenting if they are overwhelmed by their own troubles. It could be that their parenting skills have been impaired by mental or physical illness or simply by ignorance. Also, many parents of dysfunctional families grew up in unhealthy or abusive families themselves and don't know how to break the mold. It may be hard for a person in a dysfunctional family to believe or understand it, but the truth is that poor parenting is rarely intentional. The result of dysfunction vary from the type of dysfunction the family endures. I've heard of people becoming abusive, alcoholics, drug abusers, or runaways. Some people are too weak to cope with the situations in their home, so they flee and start new lives which usually end up becoming dysfunctional again. Dysfunction rubs off on children. Because children are so vulnerable they look at their parents as role models. Children usually end up having no sense of their own reality; therefor no sense of self.