Common Roles that Children Play in Families

Here are some common roles that children play in families:

  • The Scapegoat
  1. Often the first-born child.
  2. All of the energy within the family is focused on this child and their “problem.”
  3. Often the “identified patient.”


  • The Hero – Makes the family look good to outsiders.


  • The Comic – Can offer comic relief in the family when tensions build too high.


  • The Lost Child:
  1. Sometimes known as the “Perfect Child.”
  2. Gets lost in all the family chaos.
  3. Seldom make any waves in the family.
  4. Often overlooked by the parents.


  • The Acting Out Child
  1. Angry child who learns to act out in aggressive ways, both in and outside the family.
  2. Often diagnosed with a “conduct disorder”.

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